Journal Article

The structures of embedded clusters in the Perseus, Serpens and Ophiuchus molecular clouds

S. Schmeja, M. S. N. Kumar and B. Ferreira

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 389, issue 3, pages 1209-1217
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The structures of embedded clusters in the Perseus, Serpens and Ophiuchus molecular clouds

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The young stellar population data of the Perseus, Ophiuchus and Serpens molecular clouds are obtained from the Spitzer Cores to Discs (c2d) legacy survey in order to investigate the spatial structure of embedded clusters using the nearest-neighbour (NN) and minimum-spanning tree method. We identify the embedded clusters in these clouds as density enhancements and analyse the clustering parameter with respect to source luminosity and evolutionary stage. This analysis shows that the older Class 2/3 objects are more centrally condensed than the younger Class 0/1 protostars, indicating that clusters evolve from an initial hierarchical configuration to a centrally condensed one. Only IC 348 and the Serpens core, the older clusters in the sample, show signs of mass segregation (indicated by the dependence of on the source magnitude), pointing to a significant effect of dynamical interactions after a few Myr. The structure of a cluster may also be linked to the turbulent energy in the natal cloud as the most centrally condensed cluster is found in the cloud with the lowest Mach number and vice versa. In general, these results agree well with theoretical scenarios of star cluster formation by gravoturbulent fragmentation.

Keywords: methods: statistical; stars: formation; ISM: clouds; ISM: kinematics and dynamics; open clusters and associations: general; infrared: stars

Journal Article.  6809 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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