Identification and Classification of star clusters

Star clusters are the building blocks of galaxies. They are essential for our understanding of the evolution of our Galaxy. Of particular interest are massive clusters since they are the closest places to study massive stars. An unconditionally required pre-requisite for this is the identification of massive star clusters, since currently only a small number of them is known in the Galaxy. We have recently discovered several hundred new star cluster candidates in the Milky Way, several of which have been found to be so far unknown globular clusters (including the closest known globular cluster!), others have been classified as old (age > 1Gyr) open clusters or young embedded objects.

In the project the student will identify and analyse new cluster candidates. These candidate clusters will either be associated by HII regions or are identified in the UWISH2 dataset. UKIDSS GPS or VVV based colour-magnitude and colour-colour diagrams of the cluster stars will be analysed, including statistical removal of foreground/background stars and the fitting of model evolutionary tracks to determine age, interstellar extinction and distance of the cluster.

Learning Outcome: Conducting a literature review and planning of a small research project; handling online astronomical resources; understanding the determination and evolution of the fundamental properties of star clusters - stellar evolution;

HII regions/Bubble coordinate lists:
List of Bubbles with known clusters associated with them
Complete List of High resolution data of HII regions

General Papers:
Lada & Lada 2003, ARAA, 41, 57
Froebrich et al. 2007, MNRAS, 374, 399 (The FSR cluster sample)
Froebrich et al. 2010, MNRAS, 409, 1281 (The Old FSR clusters)
Froebrich et al. 2011, MNRAS, 413, 480 (UWISH2 Survey paper)

Individual Objects:
Bonatto & Bica 2007, A&A, 473, 445 (old FSR clusters)
Bica et al. 2008, MNRAS, 385, 349 (Bulge, disc FSR clusters)
Bonatto & Bica 2008, A&A, 485, 81 (Anticentre clusters)
Bica et al. 2007. A&A, 472, 483 (FSR0584)
Bonatto et al. 2007, MNRAS, 381, 45 (FSR1767)
Friel 1995, ARA&A, 33, 381 (old Milky Way clusters)
Froebrich et al. 2007, MNRAS, 377, 54 (FSR1735)
Froebrich et al. 2008, MNRAS, 383, 45 (FSR0190)
Froebrich et al. 2008, MNRAS, 390, 1598 (14 FSR clusters)
Koposov et al. 2008, A&A, 486, 771 (Anticenter clusters, incl. FSR)

Usefull Links:
UWISH2 Website
Mathis 1990 (extinction law paper)
The FSR cluster page
WEBDA cluster database
Model Isochrones (age above 4*106years) Or look here
Model Isochrones (age 106 - 1010years)
UKIDDS Data Access via WSA
VSA Database (VVV data access)