Optical Spectroscopy of the Surface Population of the ρ Ophiuchi Molecular Cloud: The First Wave of Star Formation
We present the results of optical spectroscopy of 139 stars obtained with the Hydra multiobject spectrograph. The objects extend over a 1.3 deg2 area surrounding the main cloud of the ρ Oph complex. The objects were selected from narrowband images to have Hα in emission. Using the presence of strong Hα emission, lithium absorption, location in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, or previously reported X-ray emission, we were able to identify 88 objects as young stars associated with the cloud. Strong Hα emission was confirmed in 39 objects with line widths consistent with their origin in magnetospheric accretion columns. Two of the strongest emission-line objects are young, X-ray-emitting brown dwarf candidates with M8 spectral types. Comparisons of the bolometric luminosities and effective temperatures with theoretical models suggest a median age for this population of 2.1 Myr, which is significantly older than the ages derived for objects in the cloud core. It appears that these stars formed contemporaneously with low-mass stars in the Upper Scorpius subgroup, likely triggered by massive stars in the Upper Centaurus subgroup.
The Astronomical Journal
Wilking, Bruce; Meyer, Michael; Robinson, John; and Greene, Thomas, "Optical Spectroscopy of the Surface Population of the ρ Ophiuchi Molecular Cloud: The First Wave of Star Formation" (2005). Physics Faculty Works. 49.
Available at: https://irl.umsl.edu/physics-faculty/49