Science > Highlights > Recent Highlights > Identifying a Proto-Super Star Cluster

Identifying a Proto-Super Star Cluster

by Davis Murphy last modified Feb 09, 2017

star-cluster.pngSuper star clusters (SSCs) are considered to be the birth zones of stellar globular clusters, and a key aspect of star formation in galaxies. Johnson et al. have used ALMA and the VLA to identify the youngest such system: a 24 parsec radius molecular cloud with a molecular gas mass > 5 x 106 M, in the Antennae merging galaxy system. This proto-SSC has yet to initiate star formation. They conclude that the clouds must be short-lived (< 1 Myr), and pressure-confined by a medium with 104 times typical interstellar medium (ISM) pressures. 

Image: ALMA and VLA images of the molecular gas and thermal continuum emission in the proto-superstar cluster in the Antennae galaxies 

Science Team: K.E. Johnson (University of Virginia), A.K. Leroy (NRAO), R. Indebetouw (University of Virginia, NRAO), C.L. Brogan (NRAO), B.C. Whitmore (STScI), J. Hibbard (NRAO), K. Sheth (NRAO), and A.S. Evans (University of Virginia, NRAO).

Publication: The Physical Conditions in a Pre-super Star Cluster Molecular Cloud in the Antennae Galaxies, 2015, Astrophysical Journal, 806, 35.