AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 4. Star-Forming Environments
Display, Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Monroe/Lincoln

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[4.06] Mapping the Initial Configuration of Young Stellar Clusters: Deep Near-Infrared Observations of OMC2/OMC3

D. E. Peterson (Univ. of Rochester), S. T. Megeath (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), J. L. Pipher (Univ. of Rochester), P. C. Myers, L. E. Allen (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)

The spatial distribution of stars in young stellar clusters is a valuable probe of the physical processes which govern clustered star formation. In very young clusters, the stars have not migrated far from their birthsites, and hence the spatial distribution still reflects the ``initial configuration'' of star-forming sites. The Orion Molecular Cloud 2 and 3 region (OMC2/OMC3) is an excellent example of a nearby (450 pc) young cluster in the early stages of formation. Twenty-one protostellar objects have been detected in this region by sub-millimeter surveys (Chini et al. 1997, ApJ, 474, L135), showing that OMC2/OMC3 is a site of vigorous star formation activity.

To study the distribution of embedded stellar and sub-stellar objects in OMC2/OMC3, we obtained wide field (20' x 20') images using the Simultaneous Quad Infrared Imaging Device (SQIID) instrument on the 2.1 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory during the period of 11-13 December 2000. Our SQIID images extend more than two magnitudes deeper than 2MASS, reaching limits of approximately J=19.5, H=18.2 and K=17.6 magnitudes. With these observations, we are capable of detecting 1 Myr old sub-stellar objects down to 35 MJupiter.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: dawnp@astro.pas.rochester.edu

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