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2002ApJ...579..275S - Astrophys. J., 579, 275-288 (2002/November-1)

The low end of the initial mass function in young clusters. II. Evidence for primordial mass segregation in NGC 330 in the Small Magellanic Cloud.


Abstract (from CDS):

As part of a larger program aimed at investigating the universality of the initial mass function (IMF) at low masses in a number of young clusters in the LMC and SMC, we present a new study of the low end of the stellar IMF of NGC 330, the richest young star cluster in the SMC, from deep broadband V and I images obtained with HST/WFPC2. We detect stars down to a limiting magnitude of m555=24.9, which corresponds to stellar masses of ∼0.8Mat the distance of the SMC. A comparison of the cluster color-magnitude diagram with theoretical evolutionary tracks indicates an age of ∼30 Myr for NGC 330, in agreement with previous published results. We derive the cluster luminosity function, which we correct for background contamination using an adjacent SMC field, and construct the mass function in the 1-7Mmass range. Given the young cluster age, the MF can well approximate the IMF. We find that the IMF in the central cluster regions (within 30") is well reproduced by a power law with a slope consistent with Salpeter's. In addition, the richness of the cluster allows us to investigate the IMF as a function of radial distance from the center. We find that the IMF becomes steeper at increasing distances from the cluster center (between 30" and 90"), with the number of massive stars (>5M) decreasing from the core to the outskirts of the cluster 5 times more rapidly than the less-massive objects (≃1M). We believe the observed mass segregation to be of a primordial nature rather than dynamical since the age of NGC 330 is 10 times shorter than the expected relaxation time of the cluster.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxies: Star Clusters - Galaxies: Magellanic Clouds - Stars: Evolution - Stars: Luminosity Function, Mass Function

Simbad objects: 11

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