Volume 569, September 2014
|Number of page(s)||28|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||11 September 2014|
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie,
Auf dem Hügel 69,
2 Center for Detectors, Rochester Institute of Technology, 54 Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623, USA
3 Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University, Twelve Quays House, Egerton Wharf, Birkenhead, Wirral. CH41 1LD, UK
4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
5 European Southern Observatory, Ave. Alonso de Crdova 3107, Casilla 19 Santiago 19001, Chile
6 Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
7 Physics and Astronomy Building, 430 Portola Plaza, Box 951547, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1547, USA
8 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
9 European Space Agency (ESA), The Astrophysics and Fundamental Physics Missions Division, Research and Scientific Support Department, Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration, ESTEC, Postbus 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Received: 9 October 2013
Accepted: 19 June 2014
Context. Young massive stars and stellar clusters continuously form in the Galactic disk, generating new Hii regions within their natal giant molecular clouds and subsequently enriching the interstellar medium via their winds and supernovae.
Aims. Massive stars are among the brightest infrared stars in such regions; their identification permits the characterisation of the star formation history of the associated cloud as well as constraining the location of stellar aggregates and hence their occurrence as a function of global environment.
Methods. We present a stellar spectroscopic survey in the direction of the giant molecular cloud G23.3−0.3. This complex is located at a distance of ~4–5 kpc, and consists of several Hii regions and supernova remnants.
Results. We discovered 11 OfK+ stars, one candidate luminous blue variable, several OB stars, and candidate red supergiants. Stars with K-band extinction from ~1.3–1.9 mag appear to be associated with the GMC G23.3−0.3; O and B-types satisfying this criterion have spectrophotometric distances consistent with that of the giant molecular cloud. Combining near-IR spectroscopic and photometric data allowed us to characterize the multiple sites of star formation within it. The O-type stars have masses from ~25–45 M⊙, and ages of 5–8 Myr. Two new red supergiants were detected with interstellar extinction typical of the cloud; along with the two RSGs within the cluster GLIMPSE9, they trace an older burst with an age of 20–30 Myr. Massive stars were also detected in the core of three supernova remnants – W41, G22.7−0.2, and G22.7583−0.4917.
Conclusions. A large population of massive stars appears associated with the GMC G23.3−0.3, with the properties inferred for them indicative of an extended history of stars formation.
Key words: supergiants / ISM: supernova remnants / open clusters and associations: general / ISM: clouds
Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory (ESO Programmes 084.D-0769, 085.D-019, 087.D-09609).
MM is currently employed by the MPIfR. This works was partially carried out at RIT (2009), at ESA (2010), and at the MPIfR.
Table 4 and Appendix C are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2014
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