Astronomers study the structure of the NGC 2264 cluster

(ORDO NEWS) — After analyzing data from ESA’s XMM-Newton and Gaia satellites, astronomers examined a young star cluster known as NGC 2264.

The results of the study, published November 16 preprint repository, shed more light on the structure of this object and may be useful to expand our knowledge about evolution of stars.

NGC 2264 is a star cluster located about 2480 light years away. It contains over a thousand stellar mass elements.

The age of the cluster is estimated at 3-5 million years. NGC 2264 is one of the most accessible star formation regions in the Milky Way.

A team of astronomers led by Ettore Flaccomio of the Palermo Astronomical Observatory in Italy studied NGC 2264 in detail.

To do this, scientists analyzed new XMM-Newton X-ray data and data from EDR3 Gaia (Early Data Release 3). The study was supplemented with data sets from various catalogs.

The available data allowed the team to create a catalog of 2,257 NGC 2264 candidate members.

The new catalog is almost twice as large as the previous ones. Astronomers analyzed the spatial distribution of these objects and identified new substructures in the cluster.

The scientists identified four new substructures: the compact S Mon region (C), the embedded Cone (C-IR), the Extended Halo, and the S Mon region (ref).

It turned out that the Extended Halo region contains almost 80% of all candidates – 1794 objects.

Scientists believe that S Mon(C) may be older than the surrounding region or have a clearly smaller proportion of accreting stars.

The authors of the article emphasized that the identification of such a large number of candidates for members of the Extended Halo significantly expands the known extent of NGC 2264.

Summing up, astronomers noted that, in general, stars in the southern regions of NGC 2264 are younger than stars located near S Mon, a larger substructure containing the recently identified S Mon(C).

They suggest that star formation in this cluster began about four million years ago in the S Mon region, located in the north, and gradually spread to the south, where it continues at the present time.

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