Star forming regions in a sample of HST spiral galaxies⋆
1 Department of Astrophysics, Astronomy & Mechanics, Faculty of Physics, University of Athens, 15783 Athens, Greece
2 Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, National Observatory of Athens, PO Box 20048, 11810 Athens, Greece
Received: 29 October 2012
Accepted: 18 February 2013
Aims. The presence of small- and large-scale star formation structures in a sample of six spiral Hubble Space Telescope (HST) galaxies is investigated to identify small structures of young stars known as OB associations and to tell whether they are formed inside larger scale star forming stellar structures in a hierarchical form.
Methods. This process was based on a friend-of-friend (FOF) algorithm applied to the bright, early type stars above a certain color cutoff limit in order to ensure that we include main sequence stars. A size criterion was introduced in order to apply the same algorithm to different types of stellar structures. Depending on their size, the structures were divided into the four categories of associations, aggregates, complexes, and supercomplexes.
Results. Star forming structures of the four types mentioned above are found in all six galaxies of our sample. The majority of the associations and aggregates (the smaller structures) found are lying inside larger structures like complexes and supercomplexes, indicating a hierarchical star formation mechanism.
Key words: methods: statistical / catalogs / galaxies: structure
The complete catalog of the star forming regions is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (220.127.116.11) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/553/A87
© ESO, 2013