New study sheds light on IC 1396’s star formation history and structure

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of astronomers has explored IC 1396, a nearby region of ionized atomic hydrogen.

The study of star formation regions is necessary for a better understanding of the processes of star formation and stellar evolution.

Observations of such regions could potentially expand the list of known stars, protostars, young stellar objects and clusters, which could then be comprehensively studied at various wavelengths to provide more information about the early life stages of stars.

IC 1396, located in the constellation Cepheus, is an HII star forming region because it contains clouds of ionized atomic hydrogen.

A team of researchers led by Mara E. Pelayo-Baldarrago of the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain studied IC 1396 using data from various instruments.

The study showed that the IC 1396 region contains four independent subclusters (designated A, B, E, F) that differ in proper motion but not in parallax.

This discovery, together with the spatial distribution of stars, suggests a complex and varied star formation process in IC 1396.

Further examination of the four subclusters showed that they also differ in age. It turned out that the populations on the outskirts of subclusters B and E are older (on average) than the populations in subcluster A.

The study also determined that the distance to IC 1396 is approximately 3,015 light-years and identified 334 new members of the region.

Most of the new members are medium-mass stars. The average age of IC 1396 has been estimated at about 4 million years.

Summing up, the authors of the article emphasized that, in general, the results indicate a multi-episode process of star formation in IC 1396.

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