Volume 545, September 2012
|Number of page(s)||18|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||10 September 2012|
Massive open star clusters using the VVV survey⋆,⋆⋆
I. Presentation of the data and description of the approach
Departamento de Física y AstronomíaUniversidad de Valparaíso,
Av. Gran Bretaña 1111, Playa
2 Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Chile
3 The Milky Way Millennium Nucleus, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, 782-0436 Macul, Santiago, Chile
4 University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, AL10 9AB, UK
5 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Departamento de Astronomia CP 15051, RS, Porto Alegre, 91501-970, Brazil
6 Saint Marys University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
7 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Facultad de Física, Departamento de Astronomía y Astrofísica, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860, 782-0436 Macul, Santiago, Chile
8 Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas (UNLP), Instituto de Astrofísica de La Plata (CONICET, UNLP), Paseo del Bosque s/n, La Plata, Argentina
9 European Southern Observatory, Ave. Alonso de Cordova 3107, Casilla 19, Chile
10 Vatican Observatory , V 00120 Vatican City State, Italy
11 Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08544-1001
12 Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University, Yi He Yuan Lu 5, Hai Dian District, Beijing 100871, PR China
13 Centro de Astrofisica da Universidade do Porto, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto, Portugal
Accepted: 26 June 2012
Context. The ESO Public Survey “VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea” (VVV) provides deep multi-epoch infrared observations for unprecedented 562 sq. degrees of the Galactic bulge, and adjacent regions of the disk.
Aims. The VVV observations will foster the construction of a sample of Galactic star clusters with reliable and homogeneously derived physical parameters (e.g., age, distance, and mass, etc.). In this first paper in a series, the methodology employed to establish cluster parameters for the envisioned database are elaborated upon by analysing four known young open clusters: Danks 1, Danks 2, RCW 79, and DBS 132. The analysis offers a first glimpse of the information that can be gleaned from the VVV observations for clusters in the final database.
Methods. Wide-field, deep JHKs VVV observations, combined with new infrared spectroscopy, are employed to constrain fundamental parameters for a subset of clusters.
Results. Results are inferred from VVV near-infrared photometry and numerous low resolution spectra (typically more than 10 per cluster). The high quality of the spectra and the deep wide–field VVV photometry enables us to precisely and independently determine the characteristics of the clusters studied, which we compare to previous determinations. An anomalous reddening law in the direction of the Danks clusters is found, specifically E(J − H)/E(H − Ks) = 2.20 ± 0.06, which exceeds published values for the inner Galaxy. The G305 star forming complex, which includes the Danks clusters, lies beyond the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm and occupies the Centaurus arm. Finally, the first deep infrared colour-magnitude diagram of RCW 79 is presented, which reveals a sizeable pre-main sequence population. A list of candidate variable stars in G305 region is reported.
Conclusions. This study demonstrates the strength of the dataset and methodology employed, and constitutes the first step of a broader study which shall include reliable parameters for a sizeable number of poorly characterised and/or newly discovered clusters.
Key words: open clusters and associations: general / infrared: stars / surveys
Based on observations made with NTT telescope at the La Silla Observatory, ESO, under programme ID 087.D-0490A, and with the Clay telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory under programme CN2011A-086. Also based on data from the VVV survey observed under program ID 172.B-2002.
Tables 1, 5 and 6 are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012
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