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Time-domain Study of the Young Massive Cluster Westerlund 2 with the Hubble Space Telescope. I

Sabbi, E, Gennaro, M, Anderson, J, Bajaj, V, Bastian, N, Gallagher, JS, Gieles, M, Lennon, DJ, Nota, A, Sahu, KC and Zeidler, P (2020) Time-domain Study of the Young Massive Cluster Westerlund 2 with the Hubble Space Telescope. I. Astrophysical Journal, 891 (2). ISSN 0004-637X

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Abstract

Time-domain studies of pre-main-sequence (PMS) stars have long been used to investigate star properties during their early evolutionary phases and to trace the evolution of circumstellar environments. Historically these studies have been confined to the nearest, low-density, star-forming regions. We used the Wide Field Camera 3 on board the Hubble Space Telescope to extend, for the first time, the study of PMS variability to one of the few young massive clusters in the Milky Way, Westerlund 2. Our analysis reveals that at least one-third of the intermediate- and low-mass PMS stars in Westerlund 2 are variable. Based on the characteristics of their light curves, we classified ~11% of the variable stars as weak-line T Tauri candidates, ~52% as classical T Tauri candidates, ~5% as dippers, and ~26% as bursters. In addition, we found that 2% of the stars below 6 M ⊙ (~6% of the variables) are eclipsing binaries, with orbital periods shorter than 80 days. The spatial distribution of the different populations of variable PMS stars suggests that stellar feedback and UV radiation from massive stars play an important role in the evolution of circumstellar and planetary disks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences, 0202 Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics, 0306 Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural)
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: American Astronomical Society; IOP Publishing
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 07 May 2020 10:16
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2020 12:15
DOI or Identification number: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab7372
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12903

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