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The CIDA-QUEST Large-Scale Survey of Orion OB1: Evidence for Rapid Disk Dissipation in a Dispersed Stellar Population

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Science  05 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5501, pp. 93-96
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5501.93

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Abstract

We are conducting a large-scale, multiepoch, optical photometric survey [Centro de Investigaciones de Astronomı́a–Quasar Equatorial Survey Team (CIDA-QUEST)] covering about 120 square degrees to identify the young low-mass stars in the Orion OB1 association. We present results for an area of 34 square degrees. Using photometric variability as our main selection criterion, as well as follow-up spectroscopy, we confirmed 168 previously unidentified pre–main sequence stars that are about 0.6 to 0.9 times the mass of the sun (M ), with ages of about 1 million to 3 million years (Ori OB1b) and about 3 million to 10 million years (Ori OB1a). The low-mass stars are spatially coincident with the high-mass (at least 3M ) members of the associations. Indicators of disk accretion such as Hα emission and near-infrared emission from dusty disks fall sharply from Ori OB1b to Ori OB1a, indicating that the time scale for disk dissipation and possibly the onset of planet formation is a few million years.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: briceno{at}cida.ve

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