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Rotation in the Orion Nebula Cluster  [PDF]
W. Herbst,K. L. Rhode,L. A. Hillenbrand,G. Curran
Physics , 1999, DOI: 10.1086/301175
Abstract: Eighteen fields in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) have been monitored for one or more observing seasons from 1990-99 with a 0.6-m telescope at Wesleyan University. Photometric data were obtained in Cousins I on 25-40 nights per season. Results from the first 3 years of monitoring were analyzed by Choi & Herbst (1996; CH). Here we provide an update based on 6 more years of observation and the extensive optical and IR study of the ONC by Hillenbrand (1997) and Hillenbrand et al. (1998). Rotation periods are now available for 134 ONC members. Of these, 67 were detected at multiple epochs with identical periods by us and 15 more were confirmed by Stassun et al. (1999) in their study of Ori OBIc/d. The bimodal period distribution for the ONC is confirmed, but we also find a clear dependence of rotation period on mass. This can be understood as an effect of deuterium burning, which temporarily slows the contraction and thus spin-up of stars with M <0.25 solar masses and ages of ~1 My. Stars with M <0.25 solar masses have not had time to bridge the gap in the period distribution at ~4 days. Excess H-K and I-K emission, as well as CaII infrared triplet equivalent widths (Hillenbrand et al. 1998), show weak but significant correlations with rotation period among stars with M >0.25 solar masses. Our results provide new observational support for the importance of disks in the early rotational evolution of low mass stars. [abridged]
Wide binaries in the Orion Nebula Cluster  [PDF]
Aylwyn Scally,Cathie Clarke,Mark J. McCaughrean
Physics , 1999, DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.1999.02513.x
Abstract: Using proper motion data for 894 stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) compiled by Jones & Walker in 1988, we search for binaries with apparent separations in the range 1000-5000 AU, and find an upper limit of three. Using a Monte Carlo method, we test the consistency of this result with two hypotheses: i) that the cluster contains a binary population identical to that found in the solar neighbourhood, and ii) that the cluster contains no binaries at all in this separation range. We obtain results strongly favouring the latter hypothesis. Star formation in the Galaxy is seen to occur in a variety of different environments, but it has been proposed that most stars may be formed in dense regions similar to the ONC, rather than in less dense groupings like that found in Taurus-Auriga. Since roughly 15 per cent of galactic field stars are known to be in binaries with separations greater than 1000 AU, the apparent absence of such binaries in the ONC places an upper limit on the contribution that dense clusters can make to galactic star formation.
The (sub-)millimeter SED of protoplanetary disks in the outskirts of the Orion Nebula Cluster  [PDF]
L. Ricci,R. K. Mann,L. Testi,J. P. Williams,A. Isella,M. Robberto,A. Natta,K. J. Brooks
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201015789
Abstract: We present the sub-mm/mm SED for a sample of eight young circumstellar disks in the outer regions of the Orion Nebula Cluster. New observations were carried out at 2.9 mm with the CARMA array and for one disk, 216-0939, at 3.3 and 6.8 mm with ATCA. By combining these new millimeter data with literature measurements at sub-millimeter wavelengths we investigate grain growth and measure the dust mass in protoplanetary disks in the Orion Nebula Cluster. These data provide evidence for dust grain growth to at least millimeter-sizes for the first time in a high-mass star forming region. The obtained range in sub-mm/mm spectral index, namely 1.5-3.2, indicates that for disks in the outskirts of the Orion Nebula Cluster (projected distance from the cluster center between about 0.4 pc and 1.5 pc) grain growth to mm sizes occurs in the same manner as disks in regions where only low-mass stars form. Finally, in our sample three disks are more massive than about $0.05\,M_\odot$, confirming that massive disks are present in the outer regions of the Orion Nebula.
An Enhanced Spectroscopic Census of the Orion Nebula Cluster  [PDF]
Lynne A. Hillenbrand,Aaron S. Hoffer,Gregory J. Herczeg
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/146/4/85
Abstract: We report new spectral types or spectral classification constraints for over 600 stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) based on medium resolution R~ 1500-2000 red optical spectra acquired using the Palomar 200" and Kitt Peak 3.5m telescopes. Spectral types were initially estimated for F, G, and early K stars from atomic line indices while for late K and M stars, constituting the majority of our sample, indices involving TiO and VO bands were used. To ensure proper classification, particularly for reddened, veiled, or nebula-contaminated stars, all spectra were then visually examined for type verification or refinement. We provide an updated spectral type table that supersedes Hillenbrand (1997), increasing the percentage of optically visible ONC stars with spectral type information from 68% to 90%. However, for many objects, repeated observations have failed to yield spectral types primarily due to the challenges of adequate sky subtraction against a bright and spatially variable nebular background. The scatter between our new and our previously determined spectral types is approximately 2 spectral sub-classes. We also compare our grating spectroscopy results with classification based on narrow-band TiO filter photometry from Da Rio et al. (2012, finding similar scatter. While the challenges of working in the ONC may explain much of the spread, we highlight several stars showing significant and unexplained bona fide spectral variations in observations taken several years apart; these and similar cases could be due to a combination of accretion and extinction changes. Finally, nearly 20% of ONC stars exhibit obvious Ca II triplet emission indicative of strong accretion.
Destruction of protoplanetary disks in the Orion Nebula Cluster  [PDF]
Aylwyn Scally,Cathie Clarke
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2001.04274.x
Abstract: We use numerical N-body simulations of the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) to investigate the destruction of protoplanetary disks by close stellar encounters and UV radiation from massive stars. The simulations model a cluster of 4000 stars, and we consider separately cases in which the disks have fixed radii of 100 AU and 10 AU. In the former case, depending on a star's position and orbit in the cluster over 10^7 years, UV photoevaporation removes at least 0.01 Msol from its disk, and can remove up to 1 Msol. We find no dynamical models of the ONC consistent with the suggestion of Storzer and Hollenbach that the observed distribution and abundance of proplyds could be explained by a population of stars on radial orbits which spend relatively little time near Theta 1C Ori (the most massive star in the ONC). Instead the observations require either massive disks (e.g. a typical initial disk mass of 0.4 Msol) or a very recent birth for Theta 1C Ori. When we consider the photoevaporation of the inner 10 AU of disks in the ONC, we find that planet formation would be hardly affected. Outside that region, planets would be prevented from forming in about half the systems, unless either the initial disk masses were very high or they formed in less than ~ 2 Myr and Theta 1C Ori has only very recently appeared. We also present statistics on the distribution of minimum stellar encounter separations. This peaks at 1000 AU, with less than 10% of stars having had an encounter closer than 100 AU after 10^7 years. We conclude that stellar encounters are unlikely to play a significant role in destroying protoplanetary disks. In the absence of any disruption mechanism other than those considered here, we would thus predict planetary systems like our own to be common amongst stars forming in ONC-like environments.
No wide spread of stellar ages in the Orion Nebula Cluster  [PDF]
R. D. Jeffries,S. P. Littlefair,Tim Naylor,N. J. Mayne
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19613.x
Abstract: The wide luminosity dispersion seen for stars at a given effective temperature in the H-R diagrams of young clusters and star forming regions is often interpreted as due to significant (~10 Myr) spreads in stellar contraction age. In the scenario where most stars are born with circumstellar discs, and that disc signatures decay monotonically (on average) over timescales of only a few Myr, then any such age spread should lead to clear differences in the age distributions of stars with and without discs. We have investigated large samples of stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) using three methods to diagnose disc presence from infrared measurements. We find no significant difference in the mean ages or age distributions of stars with and without discs, consistent with expectations for a coeval population. Using a simple quantitative model we show that any real age spread must be smaller than the median disc lifetime. For a log-normal age distribution, there is an upper limit of <0.14 dex (at 99% confidence) to any real age dispersion, compared to the ~=0.4 dex implied by the H-R diagram. If the mean age of the ONC is 2.5 Myr, this would mean at least 95% of its low-mass stellar population has ages between 1.3--4.8 Myr. We suggest that the observed luminosity dispersion is caused by a combination of observational uncertainties and physical mechanisms that disorder the conventional relationship between luminosity and age for pre main-sequence stars. This means that individual stellar ages from the H-R diagram are unreliable and cannot be used to directly infer a star formation history. Irrespective of what causes the wide luminosity dispersion, the finding that any real age dispersion is less than the median disc lifetime argues strongly against star formation scenarios for the ONC lasting longer than a few Myr.
Angular Momentum Evolution of Stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster  [PDF]
Jeremy Tinker,Marc Pinsonneault,Donald Terndrup
Physics , 2001, DOI: 10.1086/324153
Abstract: (Abridged) We present theoretical models of stellar angular momentum evolution from the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) to the Pleiades and the Hyades. We demonstrate that observations of the Pleiades and Hyades place tight constraints on the angular momentum loss rate from stellar winds. The observed periods, masses and ages of ONC stars in the range 0.2--0.5 M$_\odot$, and the loss properties inferred from the Pleiades and Hyades stars, are then used to test the initial conditions for stellar evolution models. We use these models to estimate the distribution of rotational velocities for the ONC stars at the age of the Pleiades (120 Myr). The modeled ONC and observed Pleiades distributions of rotation rates are not consistent if only stellar winds are included. In order to reconcile the observed loss of angu lar momentum between these two clusters, an extrinsic loss mechanism such as protostar-accretion disk interaction is required. Our model, which evolves the ONC stars with a mass dependent saturation threshold normalized such that $\omega_{crit} = 5.4 \omega_\odot$ at 0.5 \m, and which includes a distribution of disk lifetimes that is uniform over the range 0--6 Myr, is consistent with the Pleiades. This model for disk-locking lifetimes is also consistent with inferred disk lifetimes from the percentage of stars with infrared excesses observed in young clusters. Different models, using a variety of initial period distributions and different maximum disk lifetimes, are also compared to the Pleiades. For disk-locking models that use a uniform distribution of disk lifetimes over the range 0 to $\tau_{max}$, the acceptable range of the maximum lifetime is $3.5 < \tau_{max} < 8.5$ Myr.
Near-Infrared Variability in the Orion Nebula Cluster  [PDF]
Thomas S. Rice,Bo Reipurth,Scott J. Wolk,Luiz Paulo Vaz,N. J. G. Cross
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/150/4/132
Abstract: Using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope on Mauna Kea, we have carried out a new near-infrared J, H, K monitoring survey of almost a square degree of the star-forming Orion Nebula Cluster with observations on 120 nights over three observing seasons, spanning a total of 894 days. We monitored ~15,000 stars down to J=20 using the WFCAM instrument, and have extracted 1203 significantly variable stars from our data. By studying variability in young stellar objects (YSOs) in the H-K, K color-magnitude diagram, we are able to distinguish between physical mechanisms of variability. Many variables show color behavior indicating either dust-extinction or disk/accretion activity, but we find that when monitored for longer periods of time, a number of stars shift between these two variability mechanisms. Further, we show that the intrinsic timescale of disk/accretion variability in young stars is longer than that of dust-extinction variability. We confirm that variability amplitude is statistically correlated with evolutionary class in all bands and colors. Our investigations of these 1203 variables have revealed 73 periodic AA Tau type variables, many large-amplitude and long-period (P > 15 day) YSOs, including three stars showing widely-spaced periodic brightening events consistent with circumbinary disk activity, and four new eclipsing binaries. These phenomena and others indicate the activity of long-term disk/accretion variability processes taking place in young stars. We have made the light curves and associated data for these 1203 variables available online.
The Mass Dependence of Stellar Rotation in the Orion Nebula Cluster  [PDF]
W. Herbst,C. A. L. Bailer-Jones,R. Mundt
Physics , 2001, DOI: 10.1086/321706
Abstract: We have determined new rotation periods for 404 stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster using the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2 m telescope on La Silla, Chile. Mass estimates are available for 335 of these and most have M < 0.3 M_sun. We confirm the existence of a bimodal period distribution for the higher mass stars in our sample and show that the median rotation rate decreases with increasing mass for stars in the range 0.1 < M <0.4 M_sun. While the spread in angular momentum (J) at any given mass is more than a factor of 10, the majority of lower mass stars in the ONC rotate at rates approaching 30% of their critical break-up velocity, as opposed to 5-10% for solar-like stars. This is a consequence of both a small increase in observed specific angular momentum (j=J/M) and a larger decrease in the critical value of j with decreasing mass. Perhaps the most striking fact, however, is that j varies by so little - less than a factor of two - over the interval 0.1-1.0 M_sun. The distribution of rotation rates with mass in the ONC (age ~ 1 My) is similar in nature to what is found in the Pleiades (age ~ 100 My). These observations provide a significant new guide and test for models of stellar angular momentum evolution during the proto-stellar and pre-main sequence phases.
The Formation of a Bound Star Cluster: From the Orion Nebula Cluster to the Pleiades  [PDF]
P. Kroupa,S. J. Aarseth,J. Hurley
Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2001.04050.x
Abstract: (shortened) Direct N-body calculations are presented of the formation of Galactic clusters using GasEx, which is a variant of the code Nbody6. The calculations focus on the possible evolution of the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) by assuming that the embedded OB stars explosively drove out 2/3 of its mass in the form of gas about 0.4 Myr ago. A bound cluster forms readily and survives for 150 Myr despite additional mass loss from the large number of massive stars, and the Galactic tidal field. This is the very first time that cluster formation is obtained under such realistic conditions. The cluster contains about 1/3 of the initial 10^4 stars, and resembles the Pleiades Cluster to a remarkable degree, implying that an ONC-like cluster may have been a precursor of the Pleiades. This scenario predicts the present expansion velocity of the ONC, which will be measurable by upcoming astrometric space missions (DIVA and GAIA). These missions should also detect the original Pleiades members as an associated expanding young Galactic-field sub-population. The results arrived at here suggest that Galactic clusters form as the nuclei of expanding OB associations.
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