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Super-star clusters

Title: Super-star clusters versus OB associations
Authors: Carsten Weidner, Ian A. Bonnell, Hans Zinnecker

Super Star Clusters (Mecl > 10^5 Msol) are the largest stellar nurseries in our local Universe, containing hundreds of thousands to millions of young stars within a few light years. Many of these systems are found in external galaxies, especially in pairs of interacting galaxies, and in some dwarf galaxies, but relatively few in disk galaxies like our own Milky Way. We show that a possible explanation for this difference is the presence of shear in normal spiral galaxies which impedes the formation of the very large and dense super star clusters but prefers the formation of loose OB associations possibly with a less massive cluster at the center. In contrast, in interacting galaxies and in dwarf galaxies, regions can collapse without having a large-scale sense of rotation. This lack of rotational support allows the giant clouds of gas and stars to concentrate into a single, dense and gravitationally bound system.

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