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The Initial Mass Function and Star-Formation History in the 30 Doradus Super-Association


Selman, Fernando Javier (2004) The Initial Mass Function and Star-Formation History in the 30 Doradus Super-Association. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/ZKTC-0760.


We present a study of the star-formation history (SFH), and the initial mass function (IMF) in the 30 Doradus super-association. The study is divided in six natural stages: (1) profile fitting photometry; (2) characterization of the instrument; (3) calibration using stars with spectroscopy; (4) visualization of the stellar properties using the color-magnitude stereogram; (5) Bayesian analysis to obtain physical quantities; and (6) the construction of the SFH and IMF. The reduction and characterization of systematic errors are the most important steps of any IMF study: we note the following sources of systematic errors: (a) the upper magnitude cut-off, used to filter out saturated and non-linear stars, results in a false steepening of the high-mass end of the IMF, particularly affecting older systems; (b) Be stars and blue B-type super-giants mimic luminosity class V stars of higher effective temperatures, thus flattening the IMF; (c) the magnitude limit effect introduced by variable reddening, that flattens the low mass end of the derived IMF. For IMF determination we have identified the mass window 10M ≤ M ≤ 40M, that is free of effects (a) and (c) in our photometry. We have found that the SFH of the region is characterized by a 7-15~My old burst, across the whole area studied, followed by a period of reduced, nearly constant, star-formation activity. This activity has been punctuated by clustered, burst-like, star-formation episodes of varying intensity in several places. For NGC2070, the OB association LH104, and the field, the derived IMFs are consistent with a power law with Salpeter slope only if they have different SFH: a young and almost instantaneous burst for NGC2070, and nearly constant star formation, after the 7-15 My burst for the field and LH104. Other studies reveal star-formation episodes across the LMC, starting 15-30 My ago. We propose that the origin of such an apparently synchronized, large-scale, activity, is the recent entry of the LMC into a thick disk of ionized gas, analogous to that proposed by Moore and Davis (1994) to explain the origin of the Magellanic Stream.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:30 Doradus; Large Magellanic Cloud; massive stars; star formation; stellar Initial Mass Function
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Astronomy
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Scoville, Nicholas Zabriskie
Group:Astronomy Department
Thesis Committee:
  • Scoville, Nicholas Zabriskie (chair)
  • Melnick, Jorge
  • Hillenbrand, Lynne A.
  • Sari, Re'em
  • Sargent, Wallace L. W.
Defense Date:28 October 2003
Non-Caltech Author Email:fselman (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05122004-130955
Persistent URL:
Selman, Fernando Javier0000-0002-3721-0699
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1748
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:20 May 2004
Last Modified:30 May 2023 22:33

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