Journal Article

Probing the age and structure of the nearby very young open clusters NGC 2244 and 2239

C. Bonatto and E. Bica

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 394, issue 4, pages 2127-2140
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14474.x
Probing the age and structure of the nearby very young open clusters NGC 2244 and 2239

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The very young open cluster (OC) NGC 2244 in the Rosette Nebula was studied with field-star-decontaminated Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) photometry, which shows the main-sequence (MS) stars and an abundant pre-MS (PMS) population. Fundamental and structural parameters were derived with colour–magnitude diagrams (CMDs), stellar radial density profiles (RDPs) and mass functions (MFs). Most previous studies centred NGC 2244 close to the bright K0V star 12 Monocerotis, which is not a cluster member. Instead, the near-infrared RDP indicates a pronounced core near the O5 star HD 46150. We derive an age within 1–6 Myr, an absorption AV= 1.7 ± 0.2, a distance from the Sun d= 1.6 ± 0.2 kpc (≈1.5 kpc outside the solar circle), an MF slope χ= 0.91 ± 0.13 and a total (MS+PMS) stellar mass of ∼625 M. Its RDP is characterized by the core and cluster radii Rc≈ 5.6 arcmin (≈2.6 pc) and RRDP≈ 10 arcmin (≈4.7 pc), respectively. Departure from dynamical equilibrium is suggested by the abnormally large core radius and the marked central stellar excess. We also investigate the elusive neighbouring OC NGC 2239, which is low mass (mMS+PMS≈ 301 M), young (5 ± 4 Myr) rather absorbed (AV= 3.4 ± 0.2), and located in the background of NGC 2244 at d= 3.9 ± 0.4 kpc. Its RDP follows a King-like function of Rc≈ 0.5 arcmin ≈ 0.5 pc and RRDP≈ 5.0 arcmin ≈ 5.6 pc. The MF slope, χ= 1.24 ± 0.06, is essentially Salpeter's initial mass function. NGC 2244 is probably doomed to dissolution in a few 107 yr. Wide-field extractions and field-star decontamination increase the stellar statistics and enhance both CMDs and RDPs, which is essential for faint and bright star clusters.

Keywords: open clusters and associations: general; open clusters and associations: individual: NGC 2244; open clusters and associations: individual: NGC 2239

Journal Article.  9698 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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