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The spatial distribution of star formation in the solar neighbourhood: do all stars form in dense clusters?

Bressert, E. and Bastian, N. and Gutermuth, R. and Megeath, S. T. and Allen, L. and Evans, Neal J., II and Rebull, L. M. and Hatchell, J. and Johnstone, D. and Bourke, T. L. and Cieza, L. A. and Harvey, P. M. and Merín, B. and Ray, T. P. and Tothill, N. F. H. (2010) The spatial distribution of star formation in the solar neighbourhood: do all stars form in dense clusters? Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 409 (1). L54-L58. ISSN 0035-8711.

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We present a global study of low-mass, young stellar object (YSO) surface densities (Σ) in nearby (<500 pc) star-forming regions based on a comprehensive collection of Spitzer Space Telescope surveys. We show that the distribution of YSO surface densities in the solar neighbourhood is a smooth distribution, being adequately described by a lognormal function from a few to 10^3 YSOs pc^(−2), with a peak at ~22 stars pc^(−2) and a dispersion of σ_(log10Σ) ~0.85. We do not find evidence for multiple discrete modes of star formation (e.g. clustered and distributed). Comparing the observed surface density distribution to previously reported surface density threshold definitions of clusters, we find that the fraction of stars in clusters is crucially dependent on the adopted definitions, ranging from 40 to 90 per cent. However, we find that only a low fraction (<26 per cent) of stars are formed in dense environments where their formation/evolution (along with their circumstellar discs and/or planets) may be affected by the close proximity of their low-mass neighbours.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Gutermuth, R.0000-0002-6447-899X
Megeath, S. T.0000-0001-7629-3573
Evans, Neal J., II0000-0001-5175-1777
Rebull, L. M.0000-0001-6381-515X
Hatchell, J.0000-0002-4870-2760
Johnstone, D.0000-0002-6773-459X
Cieza, L. A.0000-0002-2828-1153
Additional Information:© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS. Accepted 2010 September 4. Received 2010 August 13; in original form 2010 June 18. Article first published online: 28 Sep 2010. We would like to thank Mark Gieles, Michael Meyer, August Muench, Dawn Peterson, Thomas Robitaille and Scott Schnee for their thoughtful feedback on the research. EB gratefully thanks the Royal Astronomical Society for their generous travel support. NB is supported by an STFC advanced fellowship. TPR would like to thank Science Foundation Ireland for support under grant 07/RFP/PHYF790. Support for this work, part of the Spitzer Legacy Science Program, was provided by NASA through contract 1224608 and 1288664 issued by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under NASA contract 1407. NJE acknowledges support by NSF Grant AST-0607793.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Science Foundation, Ireland07/RFP/PHYF790
Subject Keywords: stars: formation; stars: protostars; open clusters and associations: general; infrared: stars
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110511-074758793
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Official Citation:The spatial distribution of star formation in the solar neighbourhood: do all stars form in dense clusters? (pages L54–L58) E. Bressert, N. Bastian, R. Gutermuth, S. T. Megeath, L. Allen, Neal J. Evans II, L. M. Rebull, J. Hatchell, D. Johnstone, T. L. Bourke, L. A. Cieza, P. M. Harvey, B. Merin, T. P. Ray and N. F. H. Tothill Article first published online: 28 SEP 2010 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-3933.2010.00946.x
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:23625
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:11 May 2011 15:26
Last Modified:01 Nov 2019 05:01

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