The Stellar Content of the Infalling Molecular Clump G286.21+0.17
Journal article, 2017

© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. The early evolution during massive star cluster formation is still uncertain. Observing embedded clusters at their earliest stages of formation can provide insight into the spatial and temporal distribution of the stars and thus probe different star cluster formation models. We present near-infrared imaging of an 8′ × 13′ (5.4 pc × 8.7 pc) region around the massive infalling clump G286.21+0.17 (also known as BYF73). The stellar content across the field is determined and photometry is derived in order to obtain stellar parameters for the cluster members. We find evidence for some sub-structure (on scales less than a parsec in diameter) within the region with apparently at least three different sub-clusters associated with the molecular clump based on differences in extinction and disk fractions. At the center of the clump we identify a deeply embedded sub-cluster. Near-infrared excess is detected for 39%-44% in the two sub-clusters associated with molecular material and 27% for the exposed cluster. Using the disk excess as a proxy for age, this suggests the clusters are very young. The current total stellar mass is estimated to be at least 200 M o . The molecular core hosts a rich population of pre-main-sequence stars. There is evidence for multiple events of star formation both in terms of the spatial distribution within the star-forming region and possibly from the disk frequency.

ISM: clouds

stars: formation

ISM: individual objects (G286.21+0.17)

stars: pre-main sequence


M. Andersen

Gemini Observatory South

P.J. Barnes

University of New England

University of Florida

Jonathan Tan

University of Florida

Jouni Kainulainen

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy

G. De Marchi

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESA ESTEC)

Astrophysical Journal

0004-637X (ISSN) 1538-4357 (eISSN)

Vol. 850 1 12-19

Subject Categories

Physical Sciences

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Basic sciences


Onsala Space Observatory



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