Pre-main-sequence turn-on as a chronometer for young clusters: NGC 346 as a benchmark.
CIGNONI M., TOSI M., SABBI E., NOTA A., DEGL'INNOCENTI S., PRADA MORONI P.G. and GALLAGHER J.S.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a novel approach to deriving the age of very young star clusters, by using the Turn-On (TOn). The TOn is the point in the color-magnitude diagram (CMD) where the pre-main sequence (PMS) joins the main sequence (MS). In the MS luminosity function (LF) of the cluster, the TOn is identified as a peak followed by a dip. We propose that by combining the CMD analysis with the monitoring of the spatial distribution of MS stars it is possible to reliably identify the TOn in extragalactic star-forming regions. Compared to alternative methods, this technique is complementary to the turnoff dating and avoids the systematic biases affecting the PMS phase. We describe the method and its uncertainties and apply it to the star-forming region NGC 346, which has been extensively imaged with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). This study extends the LF approach in crowded extragalactic regions and opens the way for future studies with HST/WFC3, the James Webb Space Telescope and from the ground with adaptive optics.
galaxies: evolution - galaxies: star clusters: general - Magellanic Clouds - open clusters and associations: individual: NGC 346 - stars: formation - stars: pre-main sequence