Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 3:15pm
Dirk Froebrich (University of Kent):
"Exploiting 2MASS: A Systematic Search for and Discovery of new Galactic (Globular) Clusters"
Abstract. The talk presents a summary of our long term efforts to identify and classify so far unknown stellar clusters in the Milky Way. We used star density maps based on JHK 2MASS data to identify star clusters. The maps where searched automatically and manually for local star density enhancements visible in the H-band and at least in one of the other bands. All cluster candidates where cross-correlated with the SIMBAD database to identify known clusters. 1021 new star cluster candidates are found. Based on the known open and globular clusters in the sample, the most probable new globular cluster candidates where identified. The distribution of clusters on the sky showed that they are clustered on scales of 0.7deg or 12-25pc, a typical size for molecular clouds. The second part of the talk will concentrate on our (and other groups) efforts made so far to determine more detailed cluster parameters (distance, age, metallicity, reddening). This includes the discovery of 4 new globular clusters and 9 old open clusters with ages of more than 1Gyr. The talk will conclude with a brief outlook of how our cluster sample can be used to gain insight into large scale galactic star formation and molecular cloud properties.