AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 181 Probing the Galactic Center
Poster, Thursday, 9:20am-4:00pm, January 12, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[181.13] A Photometric Search for Young Massive Stars in the Galactic Center

J.C. Mauerhan, M.P Muno, M.R. Morris (UCLA)

We are conducting a photometric search for young massive stars in the Galactic center using the Br\gamma line (2.169 \mum) as a signature of HI/HeI transitions in the atmospheres of hot main-sequence (O, B) and post-main-sequence stars (Wolf-Rayet, LBV, B[e]). Preliminary near-infrared observations with Keck adaptive optics (AO) in 2004 have resulted in the identification of candidate, young massive stars exhibiting excess Br\gamma emission or absorption in areas not previously associated with HII regions or young stars. In one preliminary field, ~20 sources exhibit large equivalent widths (\midEW\mid >10Å) in emission or absorption, including four intriguing sources having EW~15-50Å\it{} in emission. Follow-up spectroscopy of these candidates and imaging the regions surrounding known, isolated hot supergiants planned for summer 2006 will elucidate the nature of these stars and determine the potential for narrow-band AO surveys to uncover additional members of the massive stellar population in the Galactic center.

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