SCYON Abstract

Received on March 11 2006

Equilibrium Star Cluster Formation

AuthorsJonathan C. Tan (1,2)
Mark R. Krumholz (3)
Christopher F. McKee (4)
(1) Dept. of Astronomy, Univ. of Florida
(2) ETH Zürich
(3) Dept. of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton Univ.
(4) Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, UB Berkeley
Accepted byAstrophysical Journal
Links Orion Nebula


We argue that rich star clusters take at least several local dynamical times to form, and so are quasi-equilibrium structures during their assembly. Observations supporting this conclusion include morphologies of star-forming clumps, momentum flux of protostellar outflows from forming clusters, age spreads of stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) and other clusters, and the age of a dynamical ejection event from the ONC. We show that these long formation timescales are consistent with the expected star formation rate in turbulent gas, as recently evaluated by Krumholz & McKee. Finally, we discuss the implications of these timescales for star formation efficiencies, the disruption of gas by stellar feedback, mass segregation of stars, and the longevity of turbulence in molecular clumps.