Interpreting spectral energy distributions from young stellar objects. I. A grid of 200,000 YSO model SEDs

Thomas P. Robitaille, Barbara A. Whitney, Remy Indebetouw, Kenneth Wood, Pia Denzmore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

620 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a grid of radiation transfer models of axisymmetric young stellar objects (YSOs), covering a wide range of stellar masses (from 0.1 to 50 M.) and evolutionary stages (from the early envelope infall stage to the late disk-only stage). The grid consists of 20,000 YSO models, with spectral energy distributions (SEDs) and polarization spectra computed at 10 viewing angles for each model, resulting in a total of 200,000 SEDs. We have made a careful assessment of the theoretical and observational constraints on the physical conditions of disks and envelopes in YSOs and have attempted to fully span the corresponding regions in parameter space. These models are publicly available on a dedicated Web server. In this paper we summarize the main features of our models, as well as the range of parameters explored. Having a large grid covering reasonable regions of parameter space allows us to shed light on many trends in near- and mid-IR observations of YSOs (such as changes in the spectral indices and colors of their SEDs), linking them with physical parameters (such as disk and infalling envelope parameters). In particular, we examine the dependence of the spectral indices of the model SEDs on envelope accretion rate and disk mass. In addition, we show variations of spectral indices with stellar temperature, disk inner radius, and disk flaring power for a subset of disk-only models. We also examine how changing the wavelength range of data used to calculate spectral indices affects their values. We show sample color-color plots of the entire grid as well as simulated clusters at various distances with typical Spitzer sensitivities. We find that young embedded sources generally occupy a large region of color-color space due to inclination and stellar temperature effects. Disk sources occupy a smaller region of color-color space but overlap substantially with the region occupied by embedded sources, especially in the near- and mid-IR. We identify regions in color-color space where our models indicate that only sources at a given evolutionary stage should lie. We find that, while near- IR (such as JHK) and mid-IR (such as IRAC) fluxes are useful in discriminating between stars and YSOs, and are useful for identifying very young sources, the addition of longer wavelength data such as MIPS 24 mu m is extremely valuable for determining the evolutionary stage of YSOs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-285
Number of pages30
JournalAstrophysical Journal Supplement Series
Volume167
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

Keywords

  • astronomical data bases : miscellaneous
  • circumstellar matter
  • infrared : stars
  • polarization
  • radiative transfer
  • stars : formation
  • stars : pre-main-sequence
  • T-TAURI-STARS
  • SPITZER-SPACE-TELESCOPE
  • AURIGA MOLECULAR CLOUD
  • 2-DIMENSIONAL RADIATIVE-TRANSFER
  • LOW-MASS PROTOSTARS
  • OUTFLOW-INFALL INTERACTIONS
  • SELF-SIMILAR COLLAPSE
  • ARRAY CAMERA IRAC
  • CIRCUMSTELLAR DISKS
  • PROTOSTELLAR ENVELOPES

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