Poster Abstracts

Name/Affiliation:  Kaisa Young (Nicholls State University)

Title:  Cool Star Beginnings: YSOs in the Perseus Molecular Cloud

Low-mass stars like the Sun are formed in a wide range of different environments from isolated cores to large, dense clusters. Nearby molecular clouds, where there is considerable evidence of ongoing star formation, provide the best opportunity to observe stars in the earliest stages of their formation. The Perseus molecular cloud contains two young clusters, IC 348 and NGC 1333, and several small dense cores of the type that produce only a few stars. Perseus is often cited as an intermediate case between quiescent low-mass and turbulent high-mass clouds, making it perhaps an ideal environment for studying “typical” low-mass star formation. We present an infrared study of the Perseus molecular cloud with data from the Spitzer Space Telescope as part of the “From Molecular Cores to Planet Forming Disks” (c2d) Legacy project (Evans et al. 2003). By comparing Spitzer’s near- and mid-infrared maps, we identify and classify the young stellar objects (YSOs) in the cloud and eliminate reddened background galaxies. Virtually all of the YSOs in Perseus are forming in the clusters and other smaller associations at the east and west ends of the cloud with very little evidence of star formation in the midsection. We present analysis of the visual extinction and distribution of the YSOs across Perseus. Evans, N. J. II, et al. 2003, PASP, 115, 965