Author(s): , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Institution(s): 1. Centro de Astrobiologia, 2. European Southern Observatory, 3. Liverpool John Moores University, 4. Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy, 5. Rochester Institute of Technology, 6. Stsci, 7. The Open University, 8. University of California, 9. University of Hawaii
We have conducted an infrared spectroscopic survey for massive evolved stars and/or clusters in the Galactic giant molecular clouds G23.3-0.3 and W33. A large number of extraordinary sub-clumps/clusters of massive stars were detected. The spatial and temporal distribution of these massive stars yields information on the star formation history of the clouds.
In G23.3-0.3, we discovered a dozen massive O-type stars, one candidate luminous blue variable, and several red supergiants. The O-type stars have masses from 25 to 50 Msun and ages of 5-8 Myr, while the RSGs belong to a burst that occurred 20-30 Myr ago. Therefore, GMC G23.3-0.3 has had one of the longest known histories of star formation (20-30 Myr). GMC G23.3-0.3 is rich in HII regions and supernova remnants; we detected massive stars in the cores of SNR W41 and of SNR G22.7-0.2.
In W33, we detected a few evolved O-type stars and one Wolf-Rayet star, but none of the late-type objects has the luminosity of a red supergiant. W33 is characterized by discrete sources and has had at least 3-5 Myr of star formation history, which is now propagating from west to east. While our detections of massive evolved stars in W33 are made on the west side of the cloud, several dense molecular cores that may harbor proto clusters have recently been detected on the east side of the cloud by Immer et al. (2014).
Messineo, Maria; Menten, Karl M.; Figer, Donald F.; Davies, Ben; Clark, J. Simon; Ivanov, Valentin D.;
Kudritzki, Rolf-Peter; Rich, R. Michael; MacKenty, John W.; Trombley, Christine 2014A&A...569A..20M
Messineo, Maria; Clark, J. Simon; Figer, Donald F.; Kudritzki, Rolf-Peter; Francisco, Najarro; Rich, R. Michael; Menten, Karl M.; Ivanov, Valentin D.; Valenti, Elena; Trombley, Christine; Chen, C.H. Rosie; Davies, Ben; submitted to ApJ.