AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 10 Young Star Clusters
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[10.04] NIR Study of Young Stellar Clusters

A. Leistra (Steward Observatory), A. Cotera (SETI), J. Liebert (Steward Observatory)

We present near-infrared (JHK) photometry for young stellar clusters newly discovered in the 2MASS point-source catalog. Five of the clusters were observed in Jan. 2003 on the 6.5m MMT using the PISCES 1024x1024 array while two were observed in Jul. 2003 on the 3.9m AAT using the IRIS2 1024x1024 array. The clusters were discovered by searching the 2MASS point-source catalog for stellar density enhancement with red near-infrared colors, indicating embedded clusters. The 2MASS search was targeted at regions of radio and far-infrared emission suggestive of star formation regions. The clusters span a range of Galactic environment and cluster ages and masses, including one toward the Galactic anti-center that may rival the well-known Arches Cluster (located in the Galactic Center) in richness. We also present spectra of the brightest cluster stars for the clusters observed with the AAT, including at least one O3-4 star and discuss the cluster properties derived from our photometric and spectroscopic observations. The strong reddening of the clusters (AV ~10-20) and the presence of massive stars indicates that they are quite young, and previously known methanol masers present in the vicinity of one extremely reddened cluster indicate star formation is still ongoing. We will present preliminary stellar initial mass functions for the clusters as part of a project to obtain IMFs for stellar clusters spanning a range of environments and stellar densities to see if any variation in the IMF with Galactic location can be detected using these rich stellar clusters.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.