EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 435, Number 1, May III 2005
Page(s) 95 - 105
Section Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041860

A&A 435, 95-105 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041860

Discovery of new Milky Way star cluster candidates in the 2MASS point source catalog

III. Follow-up observations of cluster candidates in the Galactic Center region
J. Borissova1, 2, V. D. Ivanov2, D. Minniti1, D. Geisler3 and A. W. Stephens4

1  Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Facultad de Física, Departamento de Astronomía y Astrofísica, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, 782-0436 Macul, Santiago, Chile
    e-mail: dante@astro.puc.cl
2  European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei Munchen, Germany
    e-mail: [jborisso;vivanov]@eso.org
3  Grupo de Astronomía, Departamento de Física, Universidad de Concepcion, Casilla 160-C, Concepcion, Chile
    e-mail: doug@kukita.cfm.udec.cl
4  Princeton University Observatory, Peyton Hall, Ivy Lane, Princeton, NJ 08544-1001, USA
    e-mail: stephens@astro.princeton.edu

(Received 19 August 2004 / Accepted 28 December 2004 )

This paper is part of a project to search the inner Milky Way for hidden massive clusters and to address the question of whether our Galaxy still forms clusters similar to the progenitors of the present-day globular clusters.

We report high angular resolution deep near-infrared imaging of 21 cluster candidates selected from the catalogues of Bica et al. (2003a, A&A, 397, 177) and Dutra et al. (2003a, A&A, 400, 533) in a region around the Galactic Center. These catalogues were created from visual inspection of the 2MASS images. Seven objects appear to be genuine clusters, and for these objects we present estimates of extinction, distance and in some cases age and mass.

Our estimated masses range from 1200 to 5500 $M_{\odot}$. These clusters are thus significantly smaller than any Galactic globular cluster, and indicate that the formation of massive young clusters such as Arches and Quintuplet is not common in the present-day Milky Way.

The remaining 14 objects are either not clusters or cannot be classified based on our data.

Key words: Galaxy: open clusters and associations: general -- infrared: stars

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2005