Pre-main sequence stars in the stellar association N11 in the Large Magellanic Cloud
INAF, Padova Observatory, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy e-mail: [antonella.vallenari;rosanna.sordo]@oapd.inaf.it
2 Astronomy Department, Padova University, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 2, 35122 Padova, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 16 November 2009
Context. Magellanic Clouds are of extreme importance to the study of the star formation process in low metallicity environments.
Aims. In this paper we report on the discovery of pre-main sequence candidates and young embedded stellar objects in N11 located in the Large Magellanic Cloud to cast light on the star formation scenario. We would like to remind that this comparison is complicated by the presence of a large age dispersion detected in the fields.
Methods. Deep archive HST/ACS photometry is used to derive color-magnitude diagrams of the associations in N11 and of the foreground field population. These data are complemented by archive IR Spitzer data which allow the detection of young embedded stellar objects. The spatial distribution of the pre-main sequence candidates and young embedded stellar objects is compared with literature data observed at different wavelengths, such as H and CO maps, and with the distribution of OB and Herbig Ae/Be stars. The degree of clustering is derived using the Minimal Spanning Tree method and the two point correlation function to get insights about the formation process.
Results. A large population of pre-main sequence candidates is found in N11. Their masses are in the range of 1.3–2 for ages from 2 to 10 Myr. Young embedded stellar objects having ages of 0.1-1 Myr are found to be intermixed with the candidate pre-main sequence stars. The spatial distribution of the stars shows that this region is the product of clustered star formation. No significant difference is found in the clustering degree of young blue main sequence stars and faint pre-main sequence candidates, suggesting that they might be part of the same formation process.
Conclusions. The data suggest that the star formation in the region is a long-lasting process where stars from 0.1 to 10 Myr are widely distributed.
Key words: Magellanic Clouds / stars: formation / stars: pre-main sequence
© ESO, 2010