Context. The ESO Public Survey "VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea" (VVV) provides deep multi-epoch infrared observations for an unprecedented 562 sq. degrees of the Galactic bulge, and adjacent regions of the disk. Nearly 150 new open clusters and cluster candidates have been discovered in this survey.
Aims. This is the second in a series of papers about young, massive open clusters observed using the VVV survey. We present the first study of six recently discovered clusters. These clusters contain at least one newly discovered Wolf-Rayet (WR) star.
Methods. Following the methodology presented in the first paper of the series, wide-field, deep JHKs VVV observations, combined with new infrared spectroscopy, are employed to constrain fundamental parameters for a subset of clusters.
Results. We find that the six studied stellar groups are real young (2-7 Myr) and massive (between 0.8 and 2.2 × 103 M⊙) clusters. They are highly obscured (AV ∼ 5-24 mag) and compact (1-2 pc). In addition to WR stars, two of the six clusters also contain at least one red supergiant star, and one of these two clusters also contains a blue supergiant. We claim the discovery of 8 new WR stars, and 3 stars showing WR-like emission lines which could be classified WR or OIf. Preliminary analysis provides initial masses of ∼30-50 M⊙ for the WR stars. Finally, we discuss the spiral structure of the Galaxy using the six new clusters as tracers, together with the previously studied VVV clusters.
- open clusters and associations: general
- stars: massive
- stars: Wolf-Rayet
- infrared: stars