Obscured star cluster population in the Milky Way
Thesis Supervisor: Valentin Ivanov
The recent large area infrared surveys have yielded a surprising number of new star clusters in the Milky Way. Still, only a few appear to be massive and the currently know number of clusters with masses >=10^4 Msun us only about a dozen, while the estimates put the expected number of such objects in the range of 60-100. Where are the rest of these objects?
Over the years I have worked on a project to find new obscured clusters and to characterize them. The project has yielded a few new young massive clusters and a few new globulars. We have at hand a wealth of deep near-IR imaging and spectroscopy of more candidates, that will could become the basis of a thesis. The student will have access to the VVV (VISTA Variables in Via Lactea; this is an on-going ESO public survey) data for the cluster searches. The project will also include some computer simulations to estimate the completeness of the searches, so working knowledge of C or FORTRAN is a plus.