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Probing the Dragonfish star-forming complex: the ionizing population of the young massive cluster Mercer 30

de la Fuente, D, Najarro, F, Borissova, J, Ramirez Alegria, S, Hanson, MM, Trombley, C, Figer, DF, Davies, B, Garcia, M, Kurtev, R, Urbaneja, MA, Smith, LC, Lucas, PW and Herrero, A (2016) Probing the Dragonfish star-forming complex: the ionizing population of the young massive cluster Mercer 30. ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS, 589 (A69). ISSN 1432-0746

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Open Access URL: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1602.02503 (Accepted version)

Abstract

It has recently been claimed that the nebula, Dragonfish, is powered by a superluminous but elusive OB association. However, systematic searches in near-infrared photometric surveys have found many other cluster candidates in this region of the sky. Among these, the first confirmed young massive cluster was Mercer 30, where Wolf-Rayet stars were found.We perform a new characterization of Mercer 30 with unprecedented accuracy, combining NICMOS/HST and VVV photometric data with multi-epoch ISAAC/VLT H- and K-band spectra. Stellar parameters for most of spectroscopically observed cluster members are found through precise non-LTE atmosphere modeling with the CMFGEN code. Our spectrophotometric study for this cluster yields a new, revised distance of d = (12.4 ± 1.7) kpc and a total of QHMc30 ≈ 6.70 × 1050 s-1 Lyman ionizing photons. A cluster age of (4.0 ± 0.8) Myr is found through isochrone fitting, and a total mass of (1.6 ± 0.6) × 104M⊙ is estimated, thanks to our extensive knowledge of the post-main-sequence population. As a consequence, membership of Mercer 30 to the Dragonfish star-forming complex is confirmed, allowing us to use this cluster as a probe for the whole complex, which turns out to be extremely large (~400 pc across) and located at the outer edge of the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm (~11 kpc from the Galactic center). The Dragonfish complex hosts 19 young clusters or cluster candidates (including Mercer 30 and a new candidate presented in this work) and an estimated minimum of nine field Wolf-Rayet stars. All these contributions account for, at least 73% of the ionization of the Dragonfish nebula and leaves little or no room for the alleged superluminous OB association; alternative explanations are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical And Space Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: EDP SCIENCES S A
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2017 09:40
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2017 09:40
DOI or Identification number: 10.1051/0004-6361/201528004
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6230

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