SCYON Abstract

Received on September 5 2006

A New Nearby Candidate Star Cluster in Ophiuchus at d = 170 pc

AuthorsEric E. Mamajek
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Accepted byAstronomical Journal


The recent discoveries of nearby star clusters and associations within a few hundred pc of the Sun, as well as the order of magnitude difference in the formation rates of the embedded and open cluster populations, suggests that additional poor stellar groups are likely to be found at surprisingly close distances to the Sun. Here I describe a new nearby stellar aggregate found by virtue of the parallel proper motions, similar trigonometric parallaxes, and consistent color-magnitude distribution of its early-type members. The 120 Myr-old group lies in Ophiuchus at d ∼170 pc, with its most massive member being the 4th-magnitude post-MS B8II-III star μ Oph. The group may have escaped previous notice due to its non-negligible extinction (AV ∼ 0.9 mag). If the group was born with a normal initial mass function, and the nine B- and A-type systems represent a complete system of intermediate-mass stars, then the original population was probably of order ∼200 systems. The age and space motion of the new cluster are very similar to those of the Pleiades, α Per cluster, and AB Dor Moving Group, suggesting that these aggregates may have formed in the same star-forming complex some ∼108 yr ago.