The First Extensive Spectroscopic Study of Young Stars in the North America and Pelican Nebulae

December 2020 • 2020ApJ...904..146F

Authors • Fang, Min • Hillenbrand, Lynne A. • Kim, Jinyoung Serena • Findeisen, Krzysztof • Herczeg, Gregory J. • Carpenter, John M. • Rebull, Luisa M. • Wang, Hongchi

Abstract • We present a spectroscopic survey of over 3400 potential members in the North America and Pelican Nebulae (NAP) using several low-resolution (R ≈ 1300-2000) spectrographs: Palomar/Norris, WIYN/Hydra, Keck/DEep Imaging Multi-Object Spectrograph (DEIMOS), and the Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT)/Hectospec. We identify 580 young stars as likely members of the NAP region based on criteria involving infrared excess, Li I 6708 Å absorption, X-ray emission, parallax, and proper motions. The spectral types of individual spectra are derived by fitting them with templates that are either empirical spectra of pre-main-sequence stars or model atmospheres. The templates are artificially veiled, and a best-fit combination of spectral type and veiling parameter is derived for each star. We use the spectral types with archival photometry to derive V-band extinction and stellar luminosity. From the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, the median age of the young stars is about 1 Myr, with a luminosity dispersion of ∼0.3-0.4 dex. We investigate the photometric variability of the spectroscopic member sample using Zwicky Transient Facility data and conclude that photometric variability, while present, does not significantly contribute to the luminosity dispersion. While larger than the formal errors, the luminosity dispersion is smaller than if veiling were not taken into account in our spectral typing process. The measured ages of the stellar kinematic groups, combined with the inferred ages for embedded stellar populations revealed by Spitzer, suggest a sequential history of star formation in the NAP region.


IPAC Authors


Luisa Rebull

Senior Research Scientist