The INfrared Spectroscopy of Young Nebulous Clusters program (IN-SYNC) is an ancillary science program inside the SDSS-III Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE), a high-resolution infrared spectroscopic survey spanning all Galactic environments (i.e., bulge, disk, and halo). The APOGEE Spectrograph is a fiber-fed high-resultion near-infrared which records the spectrum of 300 targets simultaneously across 1.51 to 1.70 micron within the H-band with a nominal resolution of 22,500.
The goal of IN-SYNC is the study of the kinematics in star forming regions, through accurate radial velocity of thousands of young stars, as sensitive tracers of the physical processes governing the formation and early evolution of stars, planets, and stellar clusters. The velocities of young stars can reveal how dynamics within a molecular cloud influence protostellar mass accretion and the onset of mass segregation and evaporation in stellar clusters. Similarly, kinematically identified protostellar multiple systems are key calibrators for pre-main sequence evolutionary tracks, the influence of age and environment on the binary population, and, potentially, the formation mechanisms of planetary systems.
IN-SYNC is conducting a detailed kinematical survey of the Perseus Molecular Cloud, a unique natural laboratory for understanding how gas removal influences the dynamics of young clusters. The Perseus cloud is bracketed by two young sub-clusters: IC 348, a ~3 Myr old, optically revealed cluster that exhibits evidence of mass segregation, and NGC 1333, a <1 Myr old, heavily embedded cluster with little evidence for mass segregation. IC 348 and NGC 1333 therefore represent a rare opportunity to compare directly the kinematical properties of two clusters that share similar initial conditions but have significantly different present-day evolutionary states.
In late 2013 IN-SYNC has been exteded to the Orion star forming region, with the goal of obtaining a complete radial velocity survey over the entire Orion A filament (more than 40pc of size), and ranging from the dense Orion Nebula Cluster to the sparse population of L1641. Thousands of spectra will allow us to obtain a complete kinematic census of the young stellar populations in Orion, look for dynamical sub-clustering as evidence of separate star forming events, and compare the dynamics of stars with that of the parental gas.