An Anomalous Extinction Law in the Cep OB3b Young Cluster: Evidence for Dust Processing during Gas Dispersal


We determine the extinction law through Cep OB3b, a young cluster of 3000 stars undergoing gas dispersal. The extinction is measured toward 76 background K giants identified with MMT/Hectospec spectra. Color excess ratios were determined toward each of the giants using V and R photometry from the literature, g,r,i and z photometry from SDSS and J, H, and Ks photometry from 2MASS. These color excess ratios were the used to construct the extinction law through the dusty material associated with Cep OB3b. The extinction law through Cep OB3b is intermediate between the R$_V$=3.1 and R$_V$=5 laws commonly used for the diffuse atomic ISM and dense molecular clouds, respectively. The dependence of the extinction law on line-of-sight A$_V$ is investigated and we find the extinction law becomes shallower for regions with A$_V$>2.5 magnitudes. We speculate that the intermediate dust law results from dust processing during the dispersal of the molecular cloud by the cluster.

In The Astrophysical Journal, ApJ.