NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2007B-0411

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Proposal Information for 2007B-0411


PI: John MacKenty, STScI, mackenty@stsci.edu
Address: 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

CoI: Don Figer, Rochester Institute of Technology
CoI: Ben Davies, Rochester Institute of Technology

Title: IRMOS Spectroscopy of Candidate Massive Star Clusters

Abstract: The 2MASS and Spitzer/GLIMPSE surveys of the galactic plane provide an exciting opportunity to study star formation processes throughout a broad range of environments in our galaxy. Several authors have recently compiled extensive catalogs of candidate star clusters from these datasets. We have initiated a broad based program to search for massive young stellar clusters using Spitzer imaging and IRMOS spectroscopy. Our early efforts have met with far greater success than we expected with the discovery of two massive clusters containing 14 and 26 Red Super Giant stars. This surpasses the previous record galactic cluster NGC 7419 (with 5 RSG) and increases the number of known RSG in our galaxy by 20 percent. We propose to extend this survey with IRMOS observations of 25 candidate clusters. Beyond the potential increase in the census of massive young galactic clusters, our growing statistical sample addresses fundamental questions: the slope and upper mass cutoff to the IMF, the formation and evolution of the most massive stars, the effects of massive stars on lower mass protostellar/protoplanetary systems, gamma-ray burst (GRB) progenitors, nature of the first stars in the Universe, and chemical enrichment of the interstellar medium.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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