EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 416, Number 2, March III 2004
Page(s) 677 - 697
Section Stellar structure and evolution
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034495

A&A 416, 677-697 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034495

Multi-wavelength observations of the star forming region in L1616

J. M. Alcalá1, S. Wachter2, E. Covino1, M. F. Sterzik3, R. H. Durisen4, M. J. Freyberg5, D. W. Hoard2 and K. Cooksey6

1  INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, via Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy
2  SIRTF Science Center, IPAC/Caltech, M/S220-6, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
3  European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
4  Department of Astronomy, Indiana University, Swain Hall West 319, 727 East 3rd Street, Bloomington, 47405, USA
5  Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, 85748 Garching, Germany
6  Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA

(Received 10 October 2003 / Accepted 28 November 2003)

We present the results of a multi-wavelength study of the star forming region in L1616. Our observations include ROSAT All-Sky Survey (RASS) and High Resolution Imager (HRI) X-ray observations, optical wide-field imaging and near-IR imaging data and optical long-slit and multi-object spectroscopic follow-up. 22 new low-mass pre-main sequence (PMS) stars are found to be distributed mainly to the East of the L1616 cometary cloud, in about a one-square-degree field. We find that the class-III infrared sources outnumber the class-II infrared sources by a factor of about three. The X-ray properties of the PMS stars in L1616 are quite similar to those of PMS stars detected in the Orion Nebula Cluster. The comparison of the position of the L1616 PMS stars in the HR diagram with theoretical PMS evolutionary tracks yields an average age of 1-2 Myr, with a very small age spread of about 1 Myr. Unlike the fossil star forming regions in Orion, L1616 appears to be a region of on-going star formation relatively far from the Orion A and B clouds. Given the small age spread, the spatial distribution of the PMS stars relative to the head of the cloud, as well as its cometary shape and high star formation efficiency, we conclude that the star formation in L1616 was most likely induced by a single event, the impact of the winds of the massive stars of the Orion OB association or a supernova explosion being the possible triggers. The Initial Mass Function (IMF) in L1616 is roughly consistent with that of the field in the mass range $0.3< M/M_\odot < 2.5$. Several faint objects, detected in our optical images, are good candidates for young Brown Dwarfs (BDs). We might expect the number of BDs in L1616 to be intermediate between Taurus and the Trapezium.

Key words: stars: formation -- stars: pre-main sequence -- stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs -- X-rays: stars -- ISM: individual objects: L1616

Offprint request: J.M. Alcalá, jmae@na.astro.it

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