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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

The earliest stages of massive star formation: near and mid infrared observations

M. S. N. Kumar, C. J. Davis, R. Bachiller

We present new near-IR and mid-IR images of relatively isolated massive star forming regions with a special emphasis on the candidate precursors to ultra-compact HII regions. These images reveal compact, almost circularly symmetric young stellar clusters, dominated by a single luminous massive member. The clusters indicate flattenned structures and dynamically unrelaxed states. In 4 of these young clusters we have discovered a nearly centrally located, prominent dark region visible at 2μm. 10μm images show examples where the dark region is associated with embedded luminous members of the cluster, as well as cases with no central 10μm source. The dark patches without embedded sources could be dense cores surviving inside the (proto?)clusters or left over wreckage from cluster formation. These images support current theoritical simulations of cluster formation.

Astrophysics and Space Science
Volume 287, Page 191
October 2003

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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