Author(s): , , , , ,
Institution(s): 1. CAB LAEFF, 2. The Open University, 3. UNIVERSITY OF ALICANTE, 4. University of Cambridge
In the past few years, several clusters of red supergiants have been discovered in a small region of the Milky Way, close to the base of the Scutum-Crux Arm and the tip of the Long Bar, between l=24º and l=29º. According to the number of observed red supergiants and using population synthesis models, they must contain very large stellar populations to harbour so many RSGs, some of them being candidates to the most massive young clusters in the Galaxy. These massive open clusters are part of a huge structure most likely containing hundreds of red supergiants. These results suggest that the Scutum complex represents a giant star formation region triggered by dynamical excitation by the Galactic bar, whose tip is believed to intersect the Scutum-Crux Arm close to this region. If this scenario is correct, a similar structure would be expected close to the opposite end of the Galactic long bar. We must find in an area between l=347º-350º (these sight lines include the expected location of the far tip of the Galactic bar in the model of González-Fernández et al. (2012)) likely candidates to very massive open clusters.
We are carrying out a comprehensive optical and infrared photometric and spectroscopic study of this region containing the open clusters VdBH 222, Teutsch 85 and their surroundings. We have analyzed the population of VdBH 222 and we have found a large population of luminous supergiants and OB stars. The cluster lies behind ~7.5 mag of extinction and has a probable distance of ~ 10 kpc and an age of ~12 Ma. VdBH 222 is a young massive cluster with a likely mass > 20000 Msolar. Now, we are analyzing the population of the open cluster Teutsch 85 and surroundings, finding a numerous population of supergiants.
In this work, we will discuss the possible role of the Galactic bar in triggering the formation of starburst clusters.