A systematic survey for infrared star clusters with |b| < 20° using 2MASS


E-mail: df@cp.dias.ie


We used star density maps obtained from the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) to obtain a sample of star clusters in the entire Galactic Plane with |b| < 20°. A total of 1788 star cluster candidates are identified in this survey. Among those are 681 previously known open clusters and 86 globular clusters. A statistical analysis indicates that our sample of 1021 new cluster candidates has a contamination of about 50 per cent. Star cluster parameters are obtained by fitting a King profile to the star density. These parameters are used to statistically identify probable new globular cluster candidates in our sample. A detailed investigation of the projected distribution of star clusters in the Galaxy demonstrates that they show a clear tendency to cluster on spatial scales in the order of 12–25 pc, a typical size for molecular clouds.