Protoplanetary Disk Evolution around the Triggered Star Forming Region Cepheus B

Getman, Konstantin V.
Feigelson, Eric D.
Luhman, Kevin L.
Sicilia-Aguilar, Aurora
Wang, Junfeng
Garmire, Gordon P.
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The Cepheus B (CepB) molecular cloud and a portion of the nearby CepOB3b OB association, one of the most active regions of star formation within 1 kpc, have been observed with the IRAC detector on board the Spitzer Space Telescope. The goals are to study protoplanetary disk evolution and processes of sequential triggered star formation in the region. Out of ~400 pre-main sequence (PMS) stars selected with an earlier Chandra X-ray Observatory observation, 95% are identified with mid-infrared sources and most of these are classified as diskless or disk-bearing stars. The discovery of the additional >200 IR-excess low-mass members gives a combined Chandra+Spitzer PMS sample complete down to 0.5 Mo outside of the cloud, and somewhat above 1 Mo in the cloud. Analyses of the nearly disk-unbiased combined Chandra+Spitzer selected stellar sample give several results. Our major finding is a spatio-temporal gradient of young stars from the hot molecular core towards the primary ionizing O star HD 217086. This strongly supports the radiation driven implosion (RDI) model of triggered star formation in the region. The empirical estimate for the shock velocity of 1 km/s is very similar to theoretical models of RDI in shocked molecular clouds...ABRIDGED... Other results include: 1. agreement of the disk fractions, their mass dependency, and fractions of transition disks with other clusters; 2. confirmation of the youthfulness of the embedded CepB cluster; 3. confirmation of the effect of suppression of time-integrated X-ray emission in disk-bearing versus diskless systems.
Comment: Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal. 48 pages, 14 figures. For a version with high-quality figures, see
Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics, Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies, Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena