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Title: A HIPPARCOS Census of the Nearby OB Associations
Authors: de Zeeuw, P. T.; Hoogerwerf, R.; de Bruijne, J. H. J.; Brown, A. G. A.; Blaauw, A.
Affiliation: de Zeeuw, P. T.: Sterrewacht Leiden, Postbus 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Hoogerwerf, R.: Sterrewacht Leiden, Postbus 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
de Bruijne, J. H. J.: Sterrewacht Leiden, Postbus 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Brown, A. G. A.: Instituto de Astronomía U.N.A.M., Apartado Postal 877, Ensenada, 22800 Baja California, México
Blaauw, A.: Kapteyn Instituut, Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands; and Sterrewacht Leiden, Postbus 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Publication: The Astronomical Journal, Volume 117, Issue 1, pp. 354-399.
Date: 01/1999
DOI: 10.1086/300682
ADS: 1999AJ....117..354D  [Bibtex entry]


A comprehensive census of the stellar content of the OB associations within 1 kpc from the Sun is presented, based on Hipparcos positions, proper motions, and parallaxes. It is a key part of a long-term project to study the formation, structure, and evolution of nearby young stellar groups and related star-forming regions. OB associations are unbound ``moving groups,'' which can be detected kinematically because of their small internal velocity dispersion. The nearby associations have a large extent on the sky, which traditionally has limited astrometric membership determination to bright stars (V<~6 mag), with spectral types earlier than ~B5. The Hipparcos measurements allow a major improvement in this situation. Moving groups are identified in the Hipparcos Catalog by combining de Bruijne's refurbished convergent point method with the ``Spaghetti method'' of Hoogerwerf & Aguilar. Astrometric members are listed for 12 young stellar groups, out to a distance of ~650 pc. These are the three subgroups Upper Scorpius, Upper Centaurus Lupus, and Lower Centaurus Crux of Sco OB2, as well as Vel OB2, Tr 10, Col 121, Per OB2, alpha Persei (Per OB3), Cas-Tau, Lac OB1, Cep OB2, and a new group in Cepheus, designated as Cep OB6. The selection procedure corrects the list of previously known astrometric and photometric B- and A-type members in these groups and identifies many new members, including a significant number of F stars, as well as evolved stars, e.g., the Wolf-Rayet stars gamma^2 Vel (WR 11) in Vel OB2 and EZ CMa (WR 6) in Col 121, and the classical Cepheid delta Cep in Cep OB6. Membership probabilities are given for all selected stars. Monte Carlo simulations are used to estimate the expected number of interloper field stars. In the nearest associations, notably in Sco OB2, the later-type members include T Tauri objects and other stars in the final pre-main-sequence phase. This provides a firm link between the classical high-mass stellar content and ongoing low-mass star formation. Detailed studies of these 12 groups, and their relation to the surrounding interstellar medium, will be presented elsewhere. Astrometric evidence for moving groups in the fields of R CrA, CMa OB1, Mon OB1, Ori OB1, Cam OB1, Cep OB3, Cep OB4, Cyg OB4, Cyg OB7, and Sct OB2, is inconclusive. OB associations do exist in many of these regions, but they are either at distances beyond ~500 pc where the Hipparcos parallaxes are of limited use, or they have unfavorable kinematics, so that the group proper motion does not distinguish it from the field stars in the Galactic disk. The mean distances of the well-established groups are systematically smaller than the pre-Hipparcos photometric estimates. While part of this may be caused by the improved membership lists, a recalibration of the upper main sequence in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram may be called for. The mean motions display a systematic pattern, which is discussed in relation to the Gould Belt. Six of the 12 detected moving groups do not appear in the classical list of nearby OB associations. This is sometimes caused by the absence of O stars, but in other cases a previously known open cluster turns out to be (part of) an extended OB association. The number of unbound young stellar groups in the solar neighborhood may be significantly larger than thought previously.

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