arXiv: Astrophysics
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2MASS Observations of the Perseus, Orion A, Orion B, and Monoceros R2 Molecular Clouds

Publication Date Sep 7, 2000

Abstract

We use the 2MASS Second Incremental Release Point Source Catalog to investigate the spatial distribution of young stars in the Perseus, Orion A, Orion B, and MonR2 molecular clouds. After subtracting a semi-empirical model of the field star contamination from the observed star counts, stellar surface density maps are used to identify compact clusters and any stellar population found more uniformly distributed over the molecular cloud. Each cloud contains between 2 to 7 clusters, with at least half of the cluster population found in a single, rich cluster. In addition, a distributed stellar population is inferred in the Orion A and MonR2 molecular clouds within the uncertainties of the field star subtraction with a surface density between 0.013 - 0.083 arcmin**-2. The fraction of the total stellar population contained in clusters for the nominal extinction model ranges from ~50-100% if the distributed population is relatively young ( 10 Myr, or molecular clouds are younger than typically thought if one assumes that the star formation rate has been approximately constant in time.

Concepts

Spatial Distribution Of Young Stars Stellar Surface Density Maps Observed Star Counts Molecular Clouds Stellar Population Star Formation Rate Rich Cluster Stellar Density Maps Perseus Molecular Clouds Surface Density

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretatio...

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