Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 447, 728-746 (2015/February-2)
The formation of NGC 3603 young starburst cluster: `prompt' hierarchical assembly or monolithic starburst?
BANERJEE S. and KROUPA P.
Abstract (from CDS):
The formation of very young massive clusters or `starburst' clusters is currently one of the most widely debated topic in astronomy. The classical notion dictates that a star cluster is formed in situ in a dense molecular gas clump. The stellar radiative and mechanical feedback to the residual gas energizes the latter until it escapes the system. The newly born gas-free young cluster eventually readjusts with the corresponding mass-loss. Based on the observed substructured morphologies of many young stellar associations, it is alternatively suggested that even the smooth-profiled massive clusters are also assembled from migrating less massive subclusters. A very young (age ~ 1 Myr), massive (>104M☉) star cluster like the Galactic NGC 3603 young cluster (HD 97950) is an appropriate testbed for distinguishing between the above `monolithic' and `hierarchical' formation scenarios. A recent study by Banerjee & Kroupa demonstrates that the monolithic scenario remarkably reproduces the HD 97950 cluster. In particular, its shape, internal motion and the mass distribution of stars are found to follow naturally and consistently from a single model calculation undergoing ~70 per cent by mass gas dispersal. In this work, we explore the possibility of the formation of the above cluster via hierarchical assembly of subclusters. These subclusters are initially distributed over a wide range of spatial volumes and have various modes of subclustering in both absence and presence of a background gas potential. Unlike the above monolithic initial system that reproduces HD 97950 very well, the same is found to be prohibitive with hierarchical assembly alone (with/without a gas potential). Only those systems which assemble promptly into a single cluster (in ≲ 1 Myr) from a close separation (all within ≲ 2 pc) could match the observed density profile of HD 97950 after a similar gas removal. These results therefore suggest that the NGC 3603 young cluster has formed essentially monolithically, i.e. either in situ or via a prompt assembly, followed by a substantial residual gas expulsion. Both scenarios are consistent with the inferred young age and the small age spread of this cluster. Future observations of molecular cloud filaments with ALMA and proper motion measurements of young clusters with Gaia will provide more direct tests of such birth environments.
methods: numerical - stars: kinematics and dynamics - galaxies: starburst - galaxies: star clusters: general - galaxies: star clusters: individual: NGC 3603 young cluster - galaxies: star formation