Mass and luminosity evolution of young stellar objects.
Abstract (from CDS):
A model of protostar mass and luminosity evolution in clusters gives new estimates of cluster age, protostar birthrate, accretion rate, and mean accretion time. The model assumes constant protostar birthrate, core-clump accretion, and equally likely accretion stopping. Its parameters are set to reproduce the initial mass function and to match protostar luminosity distributions in nearby star-forming regions. It obtains cluster ages and birthrates from the observed numbers of protostars and pre-main sequence (PMS) stars, and from the modal value of the protostar luminosity. In 31 embedded clusters and complexes, the global cluster age is 1-3 Myr, matching available estimates based on optical spectroscopy (OS) and evolutionary tracks. This method of age estimation is simpler than OS and is more useful for young embedded clusters where optical spectroscopy is not possible. In the youngest clusters, the protostar fraction decreases outward from the densest gas, indicating that the local star-forming age increases outward from a few 0.1 Myr in small protostar-dominated zones to a few Myr in large PMS-dominated zones.