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The Evolution of Massive Young Stellar Objects in the Large Magellanic Cloud

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Title: The Evolution of Massive Young Stellar Objects in the Large Magellanic Cloud
Author(s): Seale, Jonathan P.
Director of Research: Looney, Leslie W.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Looney, Leslie W.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Chu, You-Hua; Wong, Tony; Gruendl, Robert
Department / Program: Astronomy
Discipline: Astronomy
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): massive star formation star formation large magellanic cloud
Abstract: This thesis presents an analysis of the largest catalog to date of infrared spectra of massive young stellar objects in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Evidenced by their very different spectral features, the luminous objects span a range of evolutionary states from those most embedded in their natal molecular material to those that have dissipated and ionized their surroundings to form compact HII regions and photodissociation regions. We quantify the contributions of the various spectral features using the statistical method of principal component analysis. Using this analysis, we classify the YSO spectra into several distinct groups based upon their dominant spectral features: silicate absorption (S Group), silicate absorption and fine-structure line emission (SE), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission (P Group), PAH and fine-structure line emission (PE), and only fine-structure line emission (E). Based upon the relative numbers of sources in each category, we are able to estimate the amount of time massive YSOs spend in each evolutionary stage. We find that approximately 50% of the sources have ionic fine-structure lines, indicating that a compact HII region forms about half-way through the YSO lifetime probed in our study. Of the 277 YSOs we collected spectra for, 41 have ice absorption features, indicating they are surrounded by cold ice-bearing dust particles. We have decomposed the shape of the ice features to probe the composition and thermal history of the ice. We find that most the CO2 ice is embedded a polar ice matrix that has been thermally processed by the embedded YSO. The amount of thermal processing may be correlated with the luminosity of the YSO. Using the Australia Telescope Compact Array, we imaged the dense gas around a subsample of our sources in the HII complexes N44, N105, N113, and N159 using HCO+ and HCN as dense gas tracers. We find that the molecular material in star forming environments is highly clumpy, with clumps that range from subparsec to ~2 parsecs in size and with masses between 10^2 to 10^4 solar masses. We find that there are varying levels of star formation in the clumps, with the lower-mass clumps tending to be without massive YSOs. These YSO-less clumps could either represent an earlier stage of clump to the more massive YSO-bearing ones or clumps that will never form a massive star. Clumps with massive YSOs at their centers have masses larger than those with massive YSOs at their edges, and we suggest that the difference is evolutionary: edge YSO clumps are more advanced than those with YSOs at their centers. Clumps with YSOs at their edges may have had a significant fraction of their mass disrupted or destroyed by the forming massive star. We find that the strength of the silicate absorption seen in YSO IR spectra feature is well-correlated with the on-source HCO+ and HCN flux densities, such that the strength of the feature is indicative of the embeddedness of the YSO. We estimate that ~40% of the entire spectral sample has strong silicate absorption features, implying that the YSOs are embedded in circumstellar material for about 40% of the time probed in our study.
Issue Date: 2011-01-21
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/18628
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Jonathan P. Seale
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-01-21
2013-01-22
Date Deposited: 2010-12
 

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