The rich young cluster NGC 6530: a combined X-ray-optical-infrared study
INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo G.S.Vaiana, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 1 May 2006
We present a combined X-ray, optical, and IR (2MASS) study of NGC 6530, complementing our previous studies of this cluster. We consider different indicators of IR excesses, which can be taken as an indicator of circumstellar disks and therefore of pre-main-sequence status. We used reddening-free indices to ensure that our results are unaffected by highly irregular, differential reddening. More than the study of the bands alone (33 IR-excess stars found), we found it useful to compare various optical and IR colors, finding overall 333 stars with optical-IR excess. In the field of the previously studied Chandra ACIS-I observation, we found 196 stars with optical-IR excess, of which 120 have not been previously found in X-rays. The total number of estimated cluster members thus becomes ≥1100. The estimated disk frequency in the ACIS field is ~20%. By considering different optical-IR excess indices, we find only partially overlapping subsamples, corresponding to different characteristics of their spectral energy distributions (longer- or shorter-wavelength IR excesses, or blue-violet excess). In a region displaced towards northwest with respect to the known cluster center, we find an unexpected concentration of stars with optical-IR excesses, most of which are not detected in X-rays. The spectral energy distribution of some of these objects shows more extreme excesses with respect to most ordinary T Tauri stars, which suggests circumstellar disks with very small inner holes and high accretion rates; some objects are best interpreted as being surrounded by reflection nebulosities, as found in some optically detected Class I objects in nearer star-forming regions. These reflection-nebulae candidates have the lowest X-ray detection rate among all subsamples considered here. Optical-IR excess stars in the north of NGC 6530 are nearly co-spatial with a sub-population of cluster stars older than the central cluster stars. This leads to the conclusion that in these northern regions of NGC 6530, far from massive cluster stars, star formation (and disk evolution) has proceeded rather undisturbed over longer time periods than near the cluster center, where most massive stars are found, and most stars lack substantial disks and strong accretion.
Key words: Galaxy: open clusters and associations: individual: NGC 6530 / stars: coronae / stars: circumstellar matter / X-rays: stars / stars: pre-main sequence
© ESO, 2006