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Centre for astrophysics and planetary science

star clusters

Star clusters as building blocks of our galaxy

Star clusters are the building blocks of galaxies.

We are determining ages, metallicities, reddening and distances for our recently obtained large, homogeneous and luminosity limited sample of star clusters in the Galactic Plane. This results in one of the largest known and well classified stellar cluster samples to date. Based on this sample (or selected sub-samples, such as a distance or age limited sample) the projected and spatial distribution of clusters in the Galaxy, depending on age and metallicities is studied to learn about infant mortality and external cluster disruption processes (tidal stress, interactions with molecular clouds). The spatial distribution of stars within the clusters is analysed by means of minimum spanning trees. Analysed with respect to the age of the cluster, we have means to investigate the internal physical processes of cluster evolution (mass segregation, evaporation).

star clusters

The image shows the Rosette Nebula (NGC2244) as observed with the Beacon Observatory at Kent. This is a combination images taken in the Blue (blue channel), Red (green channel) and I-Band (red channel).