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Probing the Birth of Super Star Clusters: Implications for Massive Star Formation

By Kelsey E. Johnson


Abstract. Super Star Clusters are one of the most extreme star forming environments in the universe, and the most massive and dense of these may be proto globular clusters. Like individual massive stars, the earliest stages of super star cluster evolution are deeply obscured, and therefore our knowledge about their birth environments is currently very incomplete. However, the study of natal super star clusters has become somewhat of a cottage industry in recent years, and the sample of such objects has been growing rapidly with high-quality long-wavelength data now available from a number of observatories. The natal super star clusters identified in thermalinfrared and radio observations represent the youngest stage of massive star cluster evolution yet observed. Their properties appear to be similar to those of ultracompact Hii regions in the Milky Way, but scaled up in total mass and luminosity. I will overview what we think we know about these objects based on existing observations, discuss their relationship to ultracompact Hii regions, present new models of their spectral energy distributions based on 3-D simulations, and outline some of the most significant gaps in our current understanding

Year: 2005
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