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Title: Core-halo age gradients and star formation in the Orion Nebula and NGS 2024 young stellar clusters

We analyze age distributions of two nearby rich stellar clusters, the NGC 2024 (Flame Nebula) and Orion Nebula cluster (ONC) in the Orion molecular cloud complex. Our analysis is based on samples from the MYStIX survey and a new estimator of pre-main sequence (PMS) stellar ages, Age{sub JX} , derived from X-ray and near-infrared photometric data. To overcome the problem of uncertain individual ages and large spreads of age distributions for entire clusters, we compute median ages and their confidence intervals of stellar samples within annular subregions of the clusters. We find core-halo age gradients in both the NGC 2024 cluster and ONC: PMS stars in cluster cores appear younger and thus were formed later than PMS stars in cluster peripheries. These findings are further supported by the spatial gradients in the disk fraction and K-band excess frequency. Our age analysis is based on Age{sub JX} estimates for PMS stars and is independent of any consideration of OB stars. The result has important implications for the formation of young stellar clusters. One basic implication is that clusters form slowly and the apparent age spreads in young stellar clusters, which are often controversial, are (at least in part) real. The resultmore » further implies that simple models where clusters form inside-out are incorrect and more complex models are needed. We provide several star formation scenarios that alone or in combination may lead to the observed core-halo age gradients.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 525 Davey Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22356782
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 787; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; DISTRIBUTION; NEBULAE; STAR CLUSTERS; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS; X RADIATION