A hubble space telescope view of the interstellar environments of young stellar objects in the large magellanic cloud

Kaushar Vaidya, You Hua Chu, Robert A. Gruendl, C. H.Rosie Chen, Leslie W. Looney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We have used archival Hubble Space Telecope (HST) Hα images to study the immediate environments of massive and intermediate-mass young stellar object (YSO) candidates in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The sample of YSO candidates, taken from Gruendl & Chu, was selected based on Spitzer IRAC and MIPS observations of the entire LMC and complementary ground-based optical and near-infrared observations. We found HST Hα images for 99 YSO candidates in the LMC, of which 82 appear to be genuine YSOs. More than 95% of the YSOs are found to be associated with molecular clouds. YSOs are seen in three different kinds of environments in the Hα images: in dark clouds, inside or on the tip of bright-rimmed dust pillars, and in small H II regions. Comparisons of spectral energy distributions for YSOs in these three different kinds of environments suggest that YSOs in dark clouds are the youngest, YSOs with small H II regions are the most evolved, and YSOs in bright-rimmed dust pillars span a range of intermediate evolutionary stages. This rough evolutionary sequence is substantiated by the presence of silicate absorption features in the Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph spectra of some YSOs in dark clouds and in bright-rimmed dust pillars, but not those of YSOs in small H II regions. We present a discussion on triggered star formation for YSOs in bright-rimmed dust pillars or in dark clouds adjacent to H II regions. As many as 50% of the YSOs are resolved into multiple sources in high-resolution HST images. This illustrates the importance of using high-resolution images to probe the true nature and physical properties of YSOs in the LMC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1417-1426
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume707
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Keywords

  • H ii regions
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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