Volume 521, October 2010
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||21 October 2010|
Chronology of star formation and disk evolution in the Eagle Nebula
Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche ed Astronomiche, Universitá di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy
3 Actually at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, MS-3, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Accepted: 28 July 2010
Context. Massive star-forming regions are characterized by intense ionizing fluxes, strong stellar winds and, occasionally, supernovae explosions, all of which have important effects on the surrounding media, on the star-formation process and on the evolution of young stars and their circumstellar disks. We present a multiband study of the massive young cluster NGC 6611 and its parental cloud (the Eagle Nebula) with the aim of studying how OB stars affect the early stellar evolution and the formation of other stars.
Aims. We search for evidence of triggering of star formation by the massive stars inside NGC 6611 on a large spatial scale (~10 parsec) and ongoing disk photoevaporation in NGC 6611 and how its efficiency depends on the mass of the central stars.
Methods. We assemble a multiband catalog of the Eagle Nebula with photometric data, ranging from B band to 8.0 μm, and X-ray data obtained with two new and one archival Chandra/ACIS-I observation. We select the stars with disks from infrared photometry and disk-less ones from X-ray emission, which are associated both with NGC 6611 and the outer region of the Eagle Nebula. We study induced photoevaporation searching for the spatial variation of disk frequency for distinct stellar mass ranges. The triggering of star formation by OB stars has been investigated by deriving the history of star formation across the nebula.
Results. We find evidence of sequential star formation in the Eagle Nebula going from the southeast (2.6 Myears) to the northwest (0.3 Myears), with the median age of NGC 6611 members ~1 Myear. In NGC 6611, we observe a drop of the disk frequency close to massive stars (up to an average distance of 1 parsec), without observable effects at larger distances. Furthermore, disks are more frequent around low-mass stars (≤ 1 ) than around high-mass stars, regardless of the distance from OB stars.
Conclusions. The star-formation chronology we find in the Eagle Nebula does not support the hypothesis of a large-scale process triggered by OB stars in NGC 6611. Instead, we speculate that it was triggered by the encounter (about 3 Myears ago) with a giant molecular shell created by supernovae explosions about 6 Myears ago. We find evidence of disk photoevaporation close to OB stars, where disks are heated by incident extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation. No effects are observed at large distances from OB stars, where photoevaporation is induced by the far ultraviolet (FUV) radiation, and long timescales are usually required to completely dissipate the disks.
Key words: protoplanetary disks / stars: formation / stars: pre-main sequence / infrared: stars: X-rays: stars
© ESO, 2010
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