, Volume 45, Issue 10, pp 769-783

Arc-shaped and spheroidal stellar complexes

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Abstract

Complexes of young clusters and high-luminosity stars in the shape of regular, circular arcs have been found in a number of galaxies, first and foremost the LMC, NGC 6946, and M83. These shapes are found even in strongly inclined galaxies, suggesting that the observed arcs are projections of partial spherical shells. Obviously, these stellar shells must have formed from gaseous shells swept up by some source of central pressure and become gravitationally unstable. The power of this source corresponds to several dozen supernova explosions; however, its nature remains unclear. A central cluster providing a source of O stars and supernovae is usually absent. The presence of multiple arcs located close to each other can be explained by the fall of a swarm of fragments or by the progenitor stars originating in a single peculiar star cluster, implying the existence of stellar objects capable of giving rise to explosions with energies an order of magnitude higher than those of individual supernovae. The same objects may be responsible for gamma-ray bursts. It may be that only the most massive clusters with frequent or especially powerful supernova explosions are capable of producing HI supershells. Otherwise, it is impossible to explain why no supershells have been found around numerous clusters that should be capable of producing them according to current theories. The presence of star clusters in shell-like structures provides extremely important information about the physical conditions in and the ages of the initial gaseous shells, making stellar arcs the best available laboratory for studies of triggered star formation.

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Translated from Astronomicheski $$\overset{\lower0.5em\hbox{$\smash{\scriptscriptstyle\smile}$}}{l} $$ Zhurnal, Vol. 78, No. 10, 2001, pp. 887–901.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2001 by Efremov.