X-ray star clusters in the Carina Complex

Eric D. Feigelson, Konstantin V. Getman, Leisa K. Townsley, Patrick S. Broos, Matthew S. Povich, Gordon P. Garmire, Robert R. King, Thierry Montmerle, Thomas Preibisch, Nathan Smith, Keivan G. Stassun, Junfeng Wang, Scott Wolk, Hans Zinnecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The distribution of young stars found in the Chandra Carina Complex Project (CCCP) is examined for clustering structure. X-ray surveys are advantageous for identifying young stellar populations compared to optical and infrared surveys in suffering less contamination from nebular emission and Galactic field stars. The analysis is based on smoothed maps of a spatially complete subsample of 3000 brighter X-ray sources classified as Carina members and 10,000 stars from the full CCCP sample. The principal known clusters are recovered, and some additional smaller groups are identified. No rich embedded clusters are present, although a number of sparse groups are found. The CCCP reveals considerable complexity in clustering properties. The Trumpler 14 and 15 clusters have rich stellar populations in unimodal, centrally concentrated structures several parsecs across. Non-spherical internal structure is seen, and large-scale low surface density distributions surround these rich clusters. Trumpler 16, in contrast, is comprised of several smaller clusters within a circular boundary. Collinder 228 is a third type of cluster which extends over tens of parsecs with many sparse compact groups likely arising from triggered star formation processes. A widely dispersed, but highly populous, distribution of X-ray stars across the 50 pc CCCP mosaic supports a model of past generations of star formation in the region. Collinder 234, a group of massive stars without an associated cluster of pre-main-sequence stars, may be part of this dispersed population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2011


  • ISM: individual objects (Carina Nebula)
  • X-rays: stars
  • open clusters and associations: individual (Trumpler 14, Trumpler 15, Trumpler 16, Collinder 228, C)
  • stars: formation
  • stars: pre-main sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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