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Paper: Near-infrared Techniques for the Study of Massive Star Populations in the Milky Way
Volume: 322, The Formation and Evolution of Massive Young Star Clusters
Page: 197
Authors: Hanson, M.M.
Abstract: It is far more difficult to map out the massive star content of our own Milky Way Galaxy than any other galaxy in the Local Group. High extinction, but also distance uncertainties, have driven massive star astronomers to concentrate their studies far from home. Consequently, little is known about massive stars and massive star clusters presently lurking in the Milky Way's disk. I will begin by presenting recent results which indicate that we may be missing far more than realized.

To remedy this situation, we're developing a program of observations and theoretical analysis which relies solely on the near-infrared. Such methods expand our study of massive stars in the Galaxy by a factor of 10 or more in distance and allow us to peer into young, dust obscured OB associations nearby. There are, however, significant limitations to near-infrared methods. I will discuss both the observational and theoretical challenges we are facing in developing these techniques. While much work has yet to be done before we can solely rely on near-infrared measurements for the majority of applications we seek, early indications show great promise.

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