The Spatial Structure of Young Stellar Clusters. I. Subclusters
American Astronomical Society
The clusters of young stars in massive star-forming regions show a wide range of sizes, morphologies, and numbers of stars. Their highly subclustered structures are revealed by the MYStIX project's sample of 31,754 young stars in nearby sites of star formation (regions at distances <3.6 kpc that contain at least one O-type star.) In 17 of the regions surveyed by MYStIX, we identify subclusters of young stars using finite mixture models -- collections of isothermal ellipsoids that model individual subclusters. Maximum likelihood estimation is used to estimate the model parameters, and the Akaike Information Criterion is used to determine the number of subclusters. This procedure often successfully finds famous subclusters, such as the BN/KL complex behind the Orion Nebula Cluster and the KW-object complex in M17. A catalog of 142 subclusters is presented, with 1 to 20 subclusters per region. The subcluster core radius distribution for this sample is peaked at 0.17 pc with a standard deviation of 0.43 dex, and subcluster core radius is negatively correlated with gas/dust absorption of the stars -- a possible age effect. Based on the morphological arrangements of subclusters, we identify four classes of spatial structure: long chains of subclusters, clumpy structures, isolated clusters with a core-halo structure, and isolated clusters well fit by a single isothermal ellipsoid.
We thank the anonymous referee for taking the time and effort to provide useful feedback for this paper. The MYStIX project is supported at Penn State by NASA grant NNX09AC74G, NSF grant AST-0908038, and the Chandra ACIS Team contract SV4-74018 (PI: G. Garmire and L. Townsley), issued by the Chandra X-ray Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for and on behalf of NASA under contract NAS8-03060. M.A.K. also received support from NSF SI2-SSE grant AST-1047586 (PI: G. J. Babu).
Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal; 67 pages, 9 figures, and 4 tables. Supplemental materials from the online-version of this article, including machine-readable tables and source code in R are available at the public MYStIX website (http://astro.psu.edu/mystix/)
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from American Astronomical Society via http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/787/2/107
Astrophysical Journal, 2014, Volume 787, Number 2