Small scale star formation as revealed by VVVX galactic cluster candidates

J. Borissova, R. Kurtev, N. Amarinho, J. Alonso-Garcia, S. Ramirez Alegria, S. Bernal, N. Medina, A. -N. Chene, V. D. Ivanov, P. W. Lucas, D. Minniti

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We report a search and analysis of obscured cluster candidates in the "VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea eXtended (VVVX)" ESO Public Survey area encompassing the region between 229.4 < l <295.2 and -4.3 < b <4.4 of the southern Galactic disk. We discover and propose 88 new clusters. We improve the completeness of the embedded cluster population in this region, adding small size (linear diameters of 0.2-1.4 pc) and relatively far objects (heliocentric distance between 2 and 4 kpc) to existing catalogues. Nine candidates are proposed to be older open cluster candidates. Three of them (VVVX CL204, 207, 208) have sufficient numbers of well-resolved stellar members to allow us to determine some basic cluster parameters. We confirm their nature as older, low-mass open clusters. Photometric analysis of 15 known clusters shows that they have ages above 20 Myr, and masses below 2000 Msun: in general, their proper motions follow the motion of the disk. We outline some groups of clusters, most probably formed within the same dust complex. Broadly, our candidates follow the network of filamentary structure in the remaining dust. Thus, in this part of the southern disk of the Galaxy, we have found recent star formation, producing small size and young clusters, in addition to the well known, massive young clusters, including NGC3603, Westerlund2 and the Carina Nebula Complex.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3522-3533
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • astro-ph.SR
  • astro-ph.GA


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