Discovery of x-ray emission from young suns in the small magellanic cloud

L. M. Oskinova, W. Sun, C. J. Evans, V. Hénault-Brunet, Y. H. Chu, J. S. Gallagher, M. A. Guerrero, R. A. Gruendl, M. Güdel, S. Silich, Y. Chen, Y. Nazé, R. Hainich, J. Reyes-Iturbide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the discovery of extended X-ray emission within the young star cluster NGC 602a in the Wing of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) based on observations obtained with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. X-ray emission is detected from the cluster core area with the highest stellar density and from a dusty ridge surrounding the H II region. We use a census of massive stars in the cluster to demonstrate that a cluster wind or wind-blown bubble is unlikely to provide a significant contribution to the X-ray emission detected from the central area of the cluster. We therefore suggest that X-ray emission at the cluster core originates from an ensemble of low- and solar-mass pre-main-sequence (PMS) stars, each of which would be too weak in X-rays to be detected individually. We attribute the X-ray emission from the dusty ridge to the embedded tight cluster of the newborn stars known in this area from infrared studies. Assuming that the levels of X-ray activity in young stars in the low-metallicity environment of NGC 602a are comparable to their Galactic counterparts, then the detected spatial distribution, spectral properties, and level of X-ray emission are largely consistent with those expected from low- and solar-mass PMS stars and young stellar objects (YSOs). This is the first discovery of X-ray emission attributable to PMS stars and YSOs in the SMC, which suggests that the accretion and dynamo processes in young, low-mass objects in the SMC resemble those in the Galaxy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number73
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • Hii regions
  • ISM: bubbles
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • X-rays: stars
  • stars: pre-main sequence
  • stars: winds, outflows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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