SCYON Abstract

Received on January 16 2018

Evidence for feedback and stellar-dynamically regulated bursty star cluster formation: the case of the Orion Nebula Cluster

AuthorsP. Kroupa (1,4), T. Jerabkova (2), F. Dinnbier (3), G. Beccari (2), Z. Yan (1)
Affiliation(1) University of Bonn, (2) ESO, Garching, (3) University of Cologne, (4) Charles University in Prague
Accepted byAstronomy & Astrophysics


A scenario for the formation of multiple co-eval populations separated in age by about 1 Myr in very young clusters (VYCs, ages less than 10 Myr) and with masses in the range 600 − 20000 M⊙ is outlined. It rests upon a converging inflow of molecular gas building up a first population of pre-main sequence stars. The associated just-formed O stars ionise the inflow and suppress star formation in the embedded cluster. However, they typically eject each other out of the embedded cluster within 106 yr, that is before the molecular cloud filament can be ionised entirely. The inflow of molecular gas can then resume forming a second population. This sequence of events can be repeated maximally over the life-time of the molecular cloud (about 10 Myr), but is not likely to be possible in VYCs with mass < 300 M⊙, because such populations are not likely to contain an O star. Stellar populations heavier than about 2000 M⊙ are likely to have too many O stars for all of these to eject each other from the embedded cluster before they disperse their natal cloud. VYCs with masses in the range 600 − 2000 M⊙ are likely to have such multi-age populations, while VYCs with masses in the range 2000 − 20000 M⊙ can also be composed solely of co-eval, mono-age populations. More massive VYCs are not likely to host sub-populations with age differences of about 1 Myr. This model is applied to the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC), in which three well-separated pre-main sequences in the color-magnitude diagram of the cluster have recently been discovered. The mass-inflow history is constrained using this model and the number of OB stars ejected from each population are estimated for verification using Gaia data. As a further consequence of the proposed model, the three runaway O star systems, AE Aur, μ Col and ι Ori, are considered as significant observational evidence for stellar-dynamical ejections of massive stars from the oldest population in the ONC. Evidence for stellar-dynamical ejections of massive stars in the currently forming population is also discussed.