We have analysed high resolution adaptive optics (AO) science demonstration data of the young, massive stellar cluster Arches near the Galactic Center, obtained with the Gemini North telescope in combination with the University of Hawai'i AO system Hokupa'a. The AO H and K' photometry is calibrated using HST/NICMOS observations in the equivalent filters F160W and F205W obtained by Figer et al. (1999). ... After a thorough technical comparison, the Gemini and HST data are used in combination to study the spatial distribution of stellar masses in the Arches cluster. ... A strong colour gradient is observed over the cluster field. The visual extinction increases by Delta A_V ~ 10 mag over a distance of 15 arcsec from the cluster core. Extinction maps reveal a low-extinction cavity in the densest parts of Arches (R < 5 arcsec), indicating the depletion of dust due to stellar winds or photo-evaporation. We correct for the change in extinction over the field and show that the slope of the mass function is strongly influenced by the effects of differential extinction. We obtain present-day mass function slopes of Gamma=-0.8 +- 0.2 in the mass range 6 < M < 65 Msun from both data sets. The spatial analysis reveals a steepening of the mass function slope from close to zero in the cluster center to about -1.7 +- 0.7 at R > 10 arcsec, in accordance with a Salpeter slope, Gamma=-1.35. The bias in the mass function towards high-mass stars in the Arches center is a strong indication for mass segregation. The dynamical and relaxation timescales for Arches are estimated, and possible mass segregation effects are discussed with respect to cluster formation models. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).

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Also archived in: arXiv:astro-ph/0208321 v1 16 Aug 2002 The work presented here is based on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (United Kingdom), the National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), CNPq (Brazil) and CONICET (Argentina), and based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with proposal No. 7364.ISSN:1432-0746 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


RIT – Main Campus