Volume 446, Number 3, February II 2006
|Page(s)||955 - 969|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||20 January 2006|
Low mass pre-main sequence stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud
II. HST-WFPC2 observations of two fields in the 30 Doradus region
European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, Via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
3 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
Accepted: 4 October 2005
As a part of an ongoing effort to characterise the young stellar populations in the Large Magellanic Cloud, we present HST-WFPC2 broad and narrow band imaging of two fields with recent star formation activity in the Tarantula region. A population of objects with Hα and/or Balmer continuum excess was identified. On account of the intense Hα emission (equivalent widths up to several tens of Å), its correlation with the Balmer continuum excess and the stars' location on the HR diagram, we interpret them as low mass (~) Pre-Main Sequence stars. In this framework, the data show that coeval high and low mass stars have significantly different spatial distributions, implying that star formation processes for different ranges of stellar masses are rather different and/or require different initial conditions. We find that the overall slope of the mass function of the young population is somewhat steeper than the classical Salpeter value and that the star formation density of this young component is , i.e. intermediate between the value for an active spiral disk and that of a starburst region. The uncertainties associated with the determination of the slope of the mass function and the star formation density are thoroughly discussed.
Key words: galaxies: evolution / stars: fundamental parameters / stars: formation / stars: pre-main sequence / stars: luminosity function, mass function / Magellanic Clouds
© ESO, 2006
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