A FLAMINGOS deep near-infrared imaging survey of the Rosette complex. I. Identification and distribution of the embedded population.
ROMAN-ZUNIGA C.G., ELSTON R., FERREIRA B. and LADA E.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present the results of a deep near-infrared imaging survey of the Rosette complex made with FLAMINGOS at the 2.1 m telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. We studied the distribution of young embedded sources using a variation of the nearest neighbor method applied to a carefully selected sample of near-infrared excess (NIRX) stars that trace the latest episode of star formation in the complex. Our analysis confirmed the existence of seven clusters previously detected in the molecular cloud, and identified four more clusters across the complex. We determined that 60% of the young stars in the complex and 86% of the stars within the molecular cloud are contained in clusters, implying that the majority of stars in the Rosette formed in embedded clusters. Also, half of the young embedded population is contained in four clusters that coincide with the central core of the cloud, where the main interaction with the H II region is taking place. We compare the sizes, infrared excess fractions, and average extinction toward individual clusters to investigate their early evolution and expansion. In particular, the size and degree of central condensation within the clusters appear to be related to the degree of infrared excess and mean extinction in a way that suggests that the clusters form as compact entities and then quickly expand after formation. We found that the average infrared excess fraction of clusters increases as a function of distance from NGC 2244, implying a temporal sequence of star formation across the complex. This sequence appears to be primordial, possibly resulting from the formation and evolution of the molecular cloud and not from the interaction with the H II region. Instead, the main influence of the H II region could be to enhance or inhibit the underlying pattern of star formation in the cloud.
Galaxies: Star Clusters - ISM: H II Regions - Infrared: Stars - ISM: Clouds - Stars: Formation