Poster Open Access

Unresolved Binary Stars Cause an Observed Mass Dependent Age Gradient in Upper Scorpius

Sullivan, Kendall; Kraus, Adam

Young stellar associations represent a key site for the study of star formation, but to accurately compare observations to models of stellar evolution, the age of an association must be determined. The Upper Scorpius star-forming region is the youngest section of the Scorpius-Centaurus OB association, which is the largest collection of nearby, young, low-mass stars. The true age of Upper Scorpius is not clear, and an observed mass-dependent age gradient in Upper Scorpius, as well as in other star-forming regions, complicates age measurements. We have conducted a synthetic red-optical low-resolution spectroscopic survey of a simulated analog to the Upper Scorpius star-forming region to investigate the effects of unresolved binary stars on age measurements of a stellar population. We find that the observed mass-dependent age gradient in Upper Scorpius can be explained by a population of undetected binary stars. For a simulated population with an age of 10 (RMS = 2) Myr, we measure an age of 10.5 (RMS = 3.5) Myr for F stars, and 7.5 (RMS = 5.8) Myr for M stars. This discrepancy is caused by the mass-dependent mass ratio distribution and the variable steepness of the mass-luminosity relation. Our results support the previously suggested 10 Myr age for Upper Sco, with a small intrinsic age spread.

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