Relative Proper Motions in the Rho Ophiuchi Cluster
Journal Article - Open Access
US Naval Observatory Washington
Pagination or Media Count:
Near-infrared images optimized for astrometry have been obtained for four fields in the high-density L 1688 cloud core over a 12 year period. The targeted regions include deeply embedded young stellar objects YSOs and very low luminosity objects too faint andor heavily veiled for spectroscopy. Relative proper motions in R.A. and decl. were computed for 111 sources and again for a subset of 65 YSOs, resulting in a mean proper motion of 0,0 for each field. Assuming each field has the same mean proper motion, YSOs in the four fields were combined to yield estimates of the velocity dispersions in R.A. and decl. that are consistent with 1.0 km s1. These values appear to be independent of the evolutionary state of the YSOs. The observed velocity dispersions are consistent with the dispersion in radial velocity derived for optically visible YSOs at the periphery of the cloud core and are consistent with virial equilibrium. The higher velocity dispersion of the YSOs in the plane of the sky relative to that of dense cores may be a consequence of stellar encounters due to dense cores and filaments fragmenting to form small groups of stars or the global collapse of the L 1688 cloud core. An analysis of the differential magnitudes of objects over the 12 year baseline has not only confirmed the near-infrared variability for 29 YSOs established by prior studies, but has also identified 18 new variability candidates. Four of these have not been previously identified as YSOs and may be newly identified cluster members.