S316p.08 — Exploring the Milky Way’s Giant HII Regions at 25 and 37um with SOFIA

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Aug 10th at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM

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Author(s): James M. De Buizer1

Institution(s): 1. SOFIA/USRA

Giant HII regions are the brightest areas in our Galaxy at infrared wavelengths and harbor the most extensive regions of clustered massive star formation. As such, they are the nearest analogs to extragalactic starbursts or super-star clusters. Consequently, GHII regions are fantastic laboratories for the study of massive star formation and clustered star formation, as well as their environment. Though much closer to us than their extragalactic brethren, almost all galactic GHII regions lie at kiloparsec distances away, still requiring adequately high spatial resolution for their study. SOFIA 25 and 37 micron imaging with approximately 3-arcsecond resolution is well-suited for revealing the embedded structures and sources within these regions in the mid/far-infrared that cannot be seen in the optical, near infrared, or radio. SOFIA observations allow the comparison of the spatial distribution of the hot and warm dust within these GHII regions to the PAHs and hot ionized gas traced by other wavelengths. A survey is underway to study GHII regions with SOFIA, which upon completion will catalog all of the known bright Galactic GHII regions. In this presentation, I highlight a few regions already observed (W3, W51 West, and AMWW52) and their initial results.