Vol 23, No 7

Unveiling the Initial Conditions of Open Star Cluster Formation

C. J. Hao, Y. Xu, L. G. Hou, Z. H. Lin and Y. J. Li


Open clusters (OCs) are infrequent survivors of embedded clusters gestated in molecular clouds. Up to now, little is known about the initial conditions for the formation of OCs. Here, we studied this issue using high-precision astrometric parameters provided by Gaia data release 3. The statistics show that the peculiar motion velocities of OCs vary slightly from infancy to old age, providing a remarkable opportunity to use OCs to trace their progenitors. Adopting a dynamical method, we derived the masses of the progenitor clumps where OCs were born, which have statistical characteristics comparable to previously known results for clumps observed in the Galaxy. Moreover, the masses of the progenitor clumps of OCs indicate they should be capable of gestating massive O-type stars. In fact, after inspecting the observed OCs and O-type stars, we found that there are many O-type stars in OCs. The destructive stellar feedback from O-type stars may disintegrate the vast majority of embedded clusters, and only those sufficiently dense ones can survive as OCs.


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