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Hubble Space Telescope observations of three very young star clusters in the Small Magellanic Cloud

By SpaceRef Editor
August 21, 2003
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Astrophysics, abstract

From: Letizia Stanghellini <>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 20:04:24 GMT (373kb)

Hubble Space Telescope observations of three very young star clusters in
the Small Magellanic Cloud

Letizia Stanghellini (STScI/ESA),
Eva Villaver (STScI),
Richard A. Shaw (NOAO),
Max Mutchler (STScI)

Comments: The Astrophysical Journal, Part 1, in press 17 pages, and 3 figures

We present Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) broad band imagery and
optical slitless spectroscopy of three young star clusters in the Small
Magellanic Cloud (SMC). MA 1796 and MG 2 were previously known as Planetary
Nebulae, and observed as such within our Hubble Space Telescope (HST) survey.
With the HST spatial resolution, we show that they are instead H II regions,
surrounding very young star clusters. A third compact H II region, MA 1797, was
serendipitously observed by us as it falls in the same frame of MA 1796.
Limited nebular analysis is presented as derived from the slitless spectra. We
find that MA 1796 and MG 2 are very heavily extincted, with c>1.4, defining
them as the most extincted optically-discovered star forming regions in the
SMC. MA 1796 and MG 2 are extremely compact (less than 1 pc across), while MA
1797, with diameter of about 3 pc, is similar to the ultra compact H II regions
already known in the SMC. Stellar analysis is presented, and approximate
reddening correction for the stars is derived from the Balmer decrement.
Limited analysis of their stellar content and their ionized radiation shows
that these compact H II regions are ionized by small stellar clusters whose
hottest stars are at most of the B0 class. These very compact, extremely
reddened, and probably very dense H II regions in the SMC offer insight in the
most recent star formation episodes in a very low metallicity galaxy.

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