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Published February 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Taurus Spitzer Survey: New Candidate Taurus Members Selected Using Sensitive Mid-Infrared Photometry


We report on the properties of pre-main-sequence objects in the Taurus molecular clouds as observed in seven mid- and far-infrared bands with the Spitzer Space Telescope. There are 215 previously identified members of the Taurus star-forming region in our ~44 deg^2 map; these members exhibit a range of Spitzer colors that we take to define young stars still surrounded by circumstellar dust (noting that ~20% of the bona fide Taurus members exhibit no detectable dust excesses). We looked for new objects in the survey field with similar Spitzer properties, aided by extensive optical, X-ray, and ultraviolet imaging, and found 148 new candidate members of Taurus. We have obtained follow-up spectroscopy for about half the candidate sample, thus far confirming 34 new members, three probable new members, and 10 possible new members, an increase of 15%–20% in Taurus members. Of the objects for which we have spectroscopy, seven are now confirmed extragalactic objects, and one is a background Be star. The remaining 93 candidate objects await additional analysis and/or data to be confirmed or rejected as Taurus members. Most of the new members are Class II M stars and are located along the same cloud filaments as the previously identified Taurus members. Among non-members with Spitzer colors similar to young, dusty stars are evolved Be stars, planetary nebulae, carbon stars, galaxies, and active galactic nuclei.

Additional Information

© 2010. The American Astronomical Society. Received 29 July 2009, accepted for publication 10 December 2009, Published 21 January 2010. We thank the Palomar Observatory, Sloan Telescope, CFHT, XMM-Newton, and of course Spitzer staff for their assistance using the telescopes. We thank the anonymous referee for thoughtful and thorough comments. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech. This research has made use of NASA's Astrophysics Data System (ADS) Abstract Service, and of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France. This research has made use of data products from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS), which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. These data are served by the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This research has made use of the Digitized Sky Surveys, which were produced at the Space Telescope Science Institute under U.S. Government grant NAG W-2166. The images of these surveys are based on photographic data obtained using the Oschin Schmidt Telescope on Palomar Mountain and the UK Schmidt Telescope. The plates were processed into the present compressed digital form with the permission of these institutions. This research has made use of observations obtained with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA member states and the USA (NASA). The research described in this paper was partially carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. M. Audard and C. Baldovin-Saavedra acknowledge support from a Swiss National Science Foundation grant (PP002-110504).

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