Unbiased analysis shows that IRAS data reliably differentiate between the early and late stages of stellar evolution because objects at these stages clearly segregate in infrared color-color diagrams. Structure in these diagrams is primarily controlled by the density distribution of circumstellar dust. The density profile around older objects is the steepest, declining as r-2, while young objects have profiles that vary as r-3/2 and flatter. The different density profiles reflect the different dynamics that govern the different environments. Our analysis also shows that high-mass star formation is strongly concentrated within ~5 kpc around the Galactic center, in support of other studies.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Ivezić, Željko and Elitzur, Moshe, "Infrared Classification of Galactic Objects" (2000). Physics and Astronomy Faculty Publications. 216.