IRAS 09002-4732: A Laboratory for the Formation of Rich Stellar Clusters

Konstantin V. Getman, Eric D. Feigelson, Michael A. Kuhn, Patrick S. Broos, Gordon P. Garmire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


IRAS 09002-4732 is a poorly studied embedded cluster of stars in the Vela Molecular Ridge at a distance of 1.7 kpc. Deep observations with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, combined with existing optical and infrared surveys, produce a catalog of 441 probable pre-main-sequence members of the region. The stellar spatial distribution has two components: most stars reside in a rich, compact, elliptical cluster, but a minority reside within a molecular filament several parsecs long that straddles the cluster. The filament has active distributed star formation with dozens of unclustered protostars. The cluster pre-main-sequence population is ≤0.8 Myr old and deeply embedded; its most massive member is extremely young, producing an ultracompact H II region. The cluster total population deduced from the X-ray luminosity function is surprisingly rich, twice that of the Orion Nebula Cluster. The cluster core is remarkably dense where strong N-body interactions should be occurring; its initial mass function may be deficient in massive stars. We infer that IRAS 09002-4732 is a rare case where a rich cluster is forming today in a molecular filament, consistent with astrophysical models of cluster formation in clouds that involve the hierarchical formation and merging of groups in molecular filaments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number235
JournalThe Astronomical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Dense interstellar clouds
  • Collapsing clouds
  • Interstellar filaments
  • Compact H II region
  • Protostars
  • Infrared excess
  • Single X-ray stars
  • Young star clusters
  • Star-forming regions
  • Pre-main sequence
  • 371
  • 267
  • 842
  • 286
  • 1302
  • 788
  • 1461
  • 1833
  • 1565
  • 1289
  • Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
  • Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies


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