Multi-seeded multi-mode formation of embedded clusters in the RMC: Clusters formed in swept-up shells *
National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100012, PR China e-mail: email@example.com
2 Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG, N. Ireland, UK
Accepted: 12 October 2004
This is the first of a series of three papers on clustered star formation in the Rosette Molecular Complex. Here we investigate star formation in the interfacing layers between the expanding Rosette Nebula and its surrounding cloud, based on an analysis of the spatially complete and unbiased 2MASS data. Two medium-mass infrared clusters with ages of around 1 Myr are identified in the south and south-east arcs of the fragmented shell. The majority of the candidate cluster members in these radiation and pressure-confined regions are found to be almost uniformly distributed, roughly following the compression layers traced by the distribution of optical depth at 100 μm, and may well develop into gravitationally unbound systems upon their emergence from the parental cloud. These expanding shells are believed to be playing important roles in impeding the emerging young open cluster NGC 2244 from intruding immediately and deeply into the ambient molecular cloud, where sequential formation of massive clusters is taking place.
Key words: ISM: clouds / infrared: stars / stars: formation / stars: pre-main sequence / ISM: HII regions / ISM: structure
© ESO, 2005