We present UBVIc CCD photometry of the young open cluster Stock 8 with the aim of studying its basic properties such as the amount of interstellar extinction, distance, age, stellar contents and initial mass function (IMF). We also studied the star formation scenario in this region. From optical data, the radius of the cluster is found to be ∼6 arcmin (∼3.6 pc) and the reddening within the cluster region varies from E(B - V) = 0.40 to 0.60 mag. The cluster is located at a distance of 2.05 ± 0.10 kpc. Using Hα slitless spectroscopy and Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) near-infrared (NIR) data we identified Hα emission and NIR-excess young stellar objects (YSOs), respectively. From their locations in the colour-magnitude diagrams, majority of them seem to have ages between 1 and 5 Myr. The spread in their ages indicate a possible non-coeval star formation in the cluster. Massive stars in the cluster region reveal an average age of ≤2 Myr. In the cluster region (r ≤ 6 arcmin) the slope of the mass function (MF), Γ, in the mass range ∼1.0 ≤ M/M⊙ < 13.4 can be represented by a power law having a slope of -1.38 ± 0.12, which agrees well with Salpeter value (-1.35). In the mass range 0.3 ≤ M/M ⊙ < 1.0, the MF is also found to follow a power law with a shallower slope of Γ = -0.58 ± 0.23 indicating a break in the slope of the IMF at ∼1 M⊙. The slope of the K-band luminosity function for the cluster (r ≤ 6 arcmin) is found to be 0.31 ± 0.02, which is smaller than the average value (∼0.4) obtained for embedded star clusters. A significant number of YSOs are distributed along a Nebulous Stream towards the east side of the cluster. A small cluster is embedded in the Nebulous Stream. The YSOs lying in the Nebulous Stream and in the embedded cluster are found to be younger than the stars in the cluster Stock 8. The radio continuum, MSX, IRAS mid- and far-infrared maps and the ratio of [S ii]/Hα intensities indicate that the eastern region of Stock 8 is ionization bounded whereas the western region is density bounded. The morphology seems to indicate that the ionization/shock front caused by the ionizing sources located in the Stock 8 region and westwards of Stock 8 has not reached the Nebulous Stream. It appears that star formation activity in the Nebulous Stream and embedded cluster may be independent from that of Stock 8.
- Open clusters and associations: individual: Stock 8
- Stars: formation
- Stars: luminosity function, mass function
- Stars: pre-main-sequence