S316p.53 — Cygnus OB2: Star Formation Ugly Duckling Causes a Flap

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Aug 10th at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM

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Author(s): Jeremy J Drake2, Nicholas Wright3, Mario Guarcello1

Institution(s): 1. Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, 2. Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 3. University of Hertfordshire

Cygnus OB2 is one of the largest known OB associations in our Galaxy, with a total stellar mass of 30,000 Msun and boasting an estimated 65 O-type stars and hundreds of OB stars. At a distance of only 1.4kpc, it is also the closest truly massive star forming region and provides a valuable testbed for star and planet formation theory. We have performed a deep stellar census using observations from X-ray to infrared, which has enabled studies of sub-structuring, mass segregation and dynamics, while infrared data reveal a story of protoplanetary disk attrition in an extremely harsh radiation environment. I will discuss how Cygnus OB2 challenges the idea that stars must form in dense, compact clusters, and demonstrates that stars as massive as 100 Msun can form in relatively low-density environments. Convincing evidence of disk photoevaporation poses a potential problem for planet formation and growth in starburst environments.