H Morphologies of Star Clusters: A LEGUS study of HII region evolution timescales and stochasticity in low mass clusters Academic Article uri icon


  • ABSTRACT The morphology of Hii regions around young star clusters provides insight into the time-scales and physical processes that clear a clusters natal gas. We study 700 young clusters (10Myr) in three nearby spiral galaxies (NGC 7793, NGC 4395, and NGC 1313) using Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging from LEGUS (Legacy ExtraGalactic Ultraviolet Survey). Clusters are classified by their H morphology (concentrated, partially exposed, no-emission) and whether they have neighbouring clusters (which could affect the clearing time-scales). Through visual inspection of the HST images, and analysis of ages, reddenings, and stellar masses from spectral energy distributions fitting, together with the (U B), (V I) colours, we find (1) the median ages indicate a progression from concentrated (3Myr), to partially exposed (4Myr), to no H emission (<5Myr), consistent with the expected temporal evolution of Hii regions and previous results. However, (2) similarities in the age distributions for clusters with concentrated and partially exposed H morphologies imply a short time-scale for gas clearing (1Myr). Also, (3) our cluster samples median mass is 1000M, and a significant fraction ($sim 20{{
    m per cent}}$) contain one or more bright red sources (presumably supergiants), which can mimic reddening effects. Finally, (4) the median E(B V) values for clusters with concentrated H and those without H emission appear to be more similar than expected (0.18 versus 0.14, respectively), but when accounting for stochastic effects, clusters without H emission are less reddened. To mitigate stochastic effects, we experiment with synthesizing more massive clusters by stacking fluxes of clusters within each H morphological class. Composite isolated clusters also reveal a colour and age progression for H morphological classes, consistent with analysis of the individual clusters.

published proceedings

  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

author list (cited authors)

  • Hannon, S., Lee, J. C., Whitmore, B. C., Chandar, R., Adamo, A., Mobasher, B., ... Wofford, A.

complete list of authors

  • Hannon, Stephen||Lee, Janice C||Whitmore, BC||Chandar, R||Adamo, A||Mobasher, B||Aloisi, A||Calzetti, D||Cignoni, M||Cook, DO||Dale, D||Deger, S||Della Bruna, L||Elmegreen, DM||Gouliermis, DA||Grasha, K||Grebel, EK||Herrero, A||Hunter, DA||Johnson, KE||Kennicutt, R||Kim, H||Sacchi, E||Smith, L||Thilker, D||Turner, J||Walterbos, RAM||Wofford, A

publication date

  • December 2019