Protostars and Planets VI, Heidelberg, July 15-20, 2013

Poster 1B029

A New X-ray/Infrared Age Estimator For Young Stellar Clusters

Getman, Konstantin (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Feigelson, Eric (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Kuhn, Michael (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Broos, Patrick (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Townsley, Leisa (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Naylor, Tim (University of Exeter, UK)
Povich, Matthew (California State Polytechnic University, USA)
Luhman, Kevin (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Garmire, Gordon (Huntingdon Institute for X-ray Astronomy, USA)

The MYStIX (Massive Young Star-Forming Complex Study in Infrared and X-ray; Feigelson et al. 2013) project seeks to characterize 20 OB-dominated young star forming regions (SFRs) at distances <4 kpc using photometric catalogs from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope, and UKIRT and 2MASS NIR telescopes. A major impediment to understand star formation in the massive SFRs is the absence of a reliable stellar chronometer to unravel their complex star formation histories. We present estimation of stellar ages using a new method that employs NIR and X-ray photometry, t(JX). Stellar masses are directly derived from absorption-corrected X-ray luminosities using the Lx-Mass relation from the Taurus cloud. J-band magnitudes corrected for absorption and distance are compared to the mass-dependent pre-main-sequence evolutionary models of Siess et al. (2000) to estimate ages. Unlike some other age estimators, t(JX) is sensitive to all stages of evolution, from deeply embedded disky objects to widely dispersed older pre-main sequence stars. The method has been applied to >5500 out of >30000 MYStIX stars in 20 SFRs. As individual t(JX) values can be highly uncertain, we report median ages of samples within (sub)clusters defined by the companion study of Kuhn et al. (2013). Here a maximum likelihood model of the spatial distribution produces an objective assignment of each star to an isothermal ellipsoid or a distributed population. The MYStIX (sub)clusters show 0.5 < t(JX) < 5 Myr. The important science result of our study is the discovery of previously unknown age gradients across many different MYStIX regions and clusters. The t(JX) ages are often correlated with (sub)cluster extinction and location with respect to molecular cores and ionized pillars on the peripheries of HII regions. The NIR color J-H, a surrogate measure of extinction, can serve as an approximate age predictor for young embedded clusters.

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