SCYON Abstract

Received on December 12 2012

Hunting for Young Dispersing Star Clusters in IC 2574

AuthorsAnne Pellerin, Martin M. Meyer, Daniela Calzetti, and Jason Harris.
AffiliationTexas A&M University & Mount Allison University, University of Western Australia, University of Massachusetts, Illumina, Inc.
Accepted byAstronomical Journal


Dissolving stellar groups are very difficult to detect using traditional surface photometry techniques. We have developed a method to find and characterize non-compact stellar systems in galaxies where the young stellar population can be spatially resolved. By carrying out photometry on individual stars, we are able to separate the luminous blue stellar population from the star field background. The locations of these stars are used to identify groups by applying the HOP algorithm, which are then characterized using color-magnitude and stellar density radial profiles to estimate age, size, density, and shape. We test the method on Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys archival images of IC 2574 and find 75 dispersed stellar groups. Of these, 20 highly dispersed groups are good candidates for dissolving systems. We find few compact systems with evidence of dissolution, potentially indicating that star formation in this galaxy occurs mostly in unbound clusters or groups. These systems indicate that the dispersion rate of groups and clusters in IC 2574 is at most 0.45 pc/Myr. The location of the groups found with HOP correlate well with H I contour map features. However, they do not coincide with H I holes, suggesting that those holes were not created by star-forming regions.