We present infrared spectroscopy of the Antennae Galaxies (NGC 4038/4039) with NIRSPEC at the W. M. Keck Observatory. We imaged the star clusters in the vicinity of the southern nucleus (NGC 4039) in 0′′.39 seeing in K-band using NIRSPEC’s slit-viewing camera. The brightest star cluster revealed in the near-IR (MK(0) ≃ −17.9) is insignificant optically, but coincident with the highest surface brightness peak in the mid-IR (12−18µm) ISO image presented by Mirabel et al. (1998).We obtained high signal-to-noise 2.03−2.45 µm spectra of the nucleus and the obscured star cluster at R ∼ 1900. The cluster is very young (age ∼ 4 Myr), massive (M ∼ 16 × 106 M⊙), and compact (density ∼ 115 M⊙ pc−3 within a 32 pc half-light radius), assuming a Salpeter IMF (0.1−100 M⊙). Its hot stars have a radiation field characterized by Teff ∼ 39, 000 K, and they ionize a compact H ii region with ne ∼ 104 cm−3. The stars are deeply embedded in gas and dust (AV ∼ 9 − 10 mag), and their strong FUV field powers a clumpy photodissociation region with densities nH >∼ 105 cm−3 on scales of ∼ 200 pc, radiating LH21−0 S(1) = 9600 L⊙. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



European Space Agency SP-445 Also archived in: arXiv:astro-ph/9912369 v1 17 Dec 1999 AND "Star Formation from the Small to the Large Scale", Proceedings of the 33rd ESLAB Symposium. Held in Noordwijk, The Netherlands: 2-5 Nov 1999. AMG acknowledges support from a NASA GSRP grant. ISBN: 929-09-2780-1Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


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