The Orion star formation complex is the nearest region of on-going star formation that continues to produce both low and high mass stars. Orion is discussed in the larger context of star formation in the Solar vicinity over the last 100 Myr. The Orion complex is located on the far side of the Gould's Belt system of clouds and young stars through which our Solar system is drifting. A review is given of the overall structure and properties of the Orion star forming complex, the best studied OB association. Over the last 12 Myr, Orion has given birth to at least ten thousand stars contained in a half dozen sub-groups and short-lived clusters. The Orion OB association has been the source of several massive, high-velocity run-away stars, including μ Columbae and AE Aurigae. Some of Orion's most massive members died in supernova explosions that created the 300 pc diameter Orion / Eridanus super-bubble whose near wall may be as close as 180 pc. The combined effects of UV radiation, stellar winds, and supernovae have impacted surviving molecular clouds in Orion. The large Orion A, IC 2118 molecular clouds and dozens of smaller clouds strewn throughout the interior of the superbubble have cometary shapes pointing back towards the center of the Orion OB association. Most are forming stars in the compressed layers facing the bubble interior.
Handbook of Star Forming Regions, Volume I
- Pub Date:
- December 2008
- 24 pages, 15 figures. To be published in Handbook of Star Forming Regions Vol. I Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2008, Bo Reipurth, ed