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Near-Infrared properties of the X-ray emitting young stellar objects in the Carina Nebula

By Thomas Preibisch, Simon Hodgkin, Mike Irwin, James R. Lewis, Robert R. King, Mark J. McCaughrean, Hans Zinnecker, Leisa Townsley and Patrick Broos


Abbreviated Abstract: The near-infrared study of the Carina Nebula in this paper builds on the results of the Chandra Carina Complex Project (CCCP), that detected 14368 X-ray sources in the 1.4 square-degree survey region, an automatic source classification study that classified 10714 of these as very likely young stars in Carina, and an analysis of their clustering properties. We used HAWK-I at the ESO VLT to conduct a very deep near-IR survey with sub-arcsecond angular resolution, covering about 1280 square-arcminutes. The HAWK-I images reveal more than 600000 individual infrared sources, whereby objects as faint as J ~ 23, H ~ 22, and Ks ~ 21 are detected at S/N >= 3. While less than half of the Chandra X-ray sources have counterparts in the 2MASS catalog, the ~5 mag deeper HAWK-I data reveal infrared counterparts to 6636 (= 88.8%) of the 7472 Chandra X-ray sources in the HAWK-I field. We analyze near-infrared color-color and color-magnitude diagrams to derive information about the extinctions, infrared excesses, ages, and masses of the X-ray selected objects. The near-infrared properties agree well with the results of the automatic X-ray source classification. The shape of the K-band luminosity function of the X-ray selected Carina members agrees well with that derived for the Orion Nebula Cluster, suggesting that, down to the X-ray detection limit around 0.5-1 Msun, the shape of the IMF in Carina is consistent with that in Orion (and thus the field IMF). The fraction of stars with near-infrared excesses is rather small, <=10%, but shows considerable variations between individual parts of the complex. The distribution of extinctions for the diskless stars ranges from ~1.6 mag to ~6.2 mag (central 80th percentile), clearly showing a considerable range of differential extinction between individual stars in the complex.Comment: Accepted for the ApJS Special Issue on the Chandra Carina Complex Project (CCCP), scheduled for publication in May 2011. All 16 CCCP Special Issue papers are available at A high-quality preprint is also available at

Topics: Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics, Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0067-0049/194/1/10
OAI identifier:
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