Shape Analysis of HII Regions - I. Statistical Clustering

Justyn Campbell-White (Lead / Corresponding author), Dirk Froebrich (Lead / Corresponding author), Alfred Kume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We present here our shape analysis method for a sample of 76 Galactic HII regions from MAGPIS 1.4 GHz data. The main goal is to determine whether physical properties and initial conditions of massive star cluster formation is linked to the shape of the regions. We outline a systematic procedure for extracting region shapes and perform hierarchical clustering on the shape data. We identified six groups that categorise HII regions by common morphologies. We confirmed the validity of these groupings by bootstrap re-sampling and the ordinance technique multidimensional scaling. We then investigated associations between physical parameters and the assigned groups. Location is mostly independent of group, with a small preference for regions of similar longitudes to share common morphologies. The shapes are homogeneously distributed across Galactocentric distance and latitude. One group contains regions that are all younger than 0.5 Myr and ionised by low- to intermediate-mass sources. Those in another group are all driven by intermediate- to high-mass sources. One group was distinctly separated from the other five and contained regions at the surface brightness detection limit for the survey. We find that our hierarchical procedure is most sensitive to the spatial sampling resolution used, which is determined for each region from its distance. We discuss how these errors can be further quantified and reduced in future work by utilising synthetic observations from numerical simulations of HII regions. We also outline how this shape analysis has further applications to other diffuse astronomical objects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5486-5500
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date18 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • methods: statistical
  • stars: formation
  • ISM: bubbles
  • H II regions


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