From molecules to young stellar clusters: the star formation cycle across the disk of M 33⋆
1 INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi, 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
2 Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, B18N, allée Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 33615 Pessac, France
3 Observatoire de Paris, LERMA (CNRS: UMR 8112), 61 avenue de l’Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
4 Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique 300 rue de la Piscine, Domaine Universitaire 38406 Saint-Martin-d’Hères, France
5 Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications & Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, P. Penteli, 15236 Athens, Greece
Received: 8 November 2016
Accepted: 24 March 2017
Aims. We study the association between giant molecular clouds (GMCs) and young stellar cluster candidates (YSCCs) to shed light on the time evolution of local star formation episodes in the nearby galaxy M 33.
Methods. The CO (J = 2−1) IRAM all-disk survey was used to identify and classify 566 GMCs with masses between 2 × 104 and 2 × 106M⊙ across the whole star-forming disk of M 33. In the same area, there are 630 YSCCs that we identified using Spitzer-24 μm data. Some YSCCs are embedded star-forming sites, while the majority have GALEX-UV and Hα counterparts with estimated cluster masses and ages.
Results. The GMC classes correspond to different cloud evolutionary stages: inactive clouds are 32% of the total and classified clouds with embedded and exposed star formation are 16% and 52% of the total, respectively. Across the regular southern spiral arm, inactive clouds are preferentially located in the inner part of the arm, possibly suggesting a triggering of star formation as the cloud crosses the arm. The spatial correlation between YSCCs and GMCs is extremely strong, with a typical separation of 17 pc. This is less than half the CO (2–1) beam size and illustrates the remarkable physical link between the two populations. GMCs and YSCCs follow the HI filaments, except in the outermost regions, where the survey finds fewer GMCs than YSCCs, which is most likely due to undetected clouds with low CO luminosity. The distribution of the non-embedded YSCC ages peaks around 5 Myr, with only a few being as old as 8–10 Myr. These age estimates together with the number of GMCs in the various evolutionary stages lead us to conclude that 14 Myr is the typical lifetime of a GMC in M 33 prior to cloud dispersal. The inactive and embedded phases are short, lasting about 4 and 2 Myr, respectively. This underlines that embedded YSCCs rapidly break out from the clouds and become partially visible in Hα or UV long before cloud dispersal.
Key words: galaxies: individual: M 33 / galaxies: star formation / galaxies: ISM / infrared: ISM / ISM: molecules
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