An infrared census of star formation in the Horsehead nebula.
BOWLER B.P., WALLER W.H., MEGEATH S.T., PATTEN B.M. and TAMURA M.
Abstract (from CDS):
At ∼ 400 pc, the Horsehead Nebula (B33) is the closest radiatively sculpted pillar to the Sun, but the state and extent of star formation in this structure is not well understood. We present deep near-infrared (IRSF/SIRIUS JHKS) and mid-infrared (Spitzer/IRAC) observations of the Horsehead Nebula to characterize the star-forming properties of this region and to assess the likelihood of triggered star formation. Infrared color-color and color-magnitude diagrams are used to identify young stars based on infrared excess emission and positions to the right of the zero-age main sequence, respectively. Of the 45 sources detected at both near- and mid-infrared wavelengths, three bona fide and five candidate young stars are identified in this 7'x7' region. Two bona fide young stars have flat infrared spectral energy distributions and are located at the western irradiated tip of the pillar. The spatial coincidence of the protostars at the leading edge of this elephant trunk is consistent with the radiation-driven implosion model of triggered star formation. There is no evidence, however, for sequential star formation within the immediate ∼ 1'.5 (0.17 pc) region from the cloud/H II region interface.