Astron. J., 128, 765-786 (2004/August-0)
The secrets of the nearest starburst cluster. I. Very large Telescope/ISAAC photometry of NGC 3603.
STOLTE A., BRANDNER W., BRANDL B., ZINNECKER H. and GREBEL E.K.
Abstract (from CDS):
VLT/ISAAC JHKL photometry with subarcsecond resolution of the dense, massive starburst cluster NGC 3603 YC forming the core of the NGC 3603 giant molecular cloud is analyzed to reveal characteristics of the stellar population in unprecedented detail. The color-magnitude plane features a strong pre-main-sequence/main-sequence (PMS/MS) transition region, including the PMS/MS transition point, and reveals a secondary sequence for the first time in a nearby young starburst cluster. Arguments for a possible binary nature of this sequence are given. The resolved PMS/MS transition region allows isochrone fitting below the hydrogen-burning turn-on in NGC 3603 YC, yielding an independent estimate of global cluster parameters. A distance modulus of 13.9 mag, equivalent to d=6.0±0.3 kpc, is derived, as well as a line-of-sight extinction of AV=4.5±0.6 toward PMS stars in the cluster center. The interpretation of a binary candidate sequence suggests a single age of 1 Myr for NGC 3603 YC, providing evidence for a single burst of star formation without the need to employ an age spread in the PMS population, as argued for in earlier studies. Disk fractions are derived from L-band excesses, indicating a radial increase in the disk frequency from 20% to 40% from the core to the cluster outskirts. The low disk fraction in the cluster core, as compared to the 42% L-band excess fraction found for massive stars in the Trapezium cluster of a comparably young age, indicates strong photoevaporation in the cluster center. The estimated binary fraction of 30%, as well as the low disk fraction, suggest strong impacts on low-mass star formation due to stellar interactions in the dense starburst. The significant differences between NGC 3603 YC and less dense and massive young star clusters in the Milky Way reveal the importance of using local starbursts as templates for massive extragalactic star formation.
Stars: Binaries: General - Stars: Circumstellar Matter - ISM: H II Regions - Galaxy: Open Clusters and Associations: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 3603 - open clusters and associations: individual (HD 97950) - Stars: Pre-Main-Sequence
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