The SOFIA Mid-Infrared Giant HII Region Survey: Exploring the Largest Massive Star-Forming Regions of the Milky Way
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Jim De Buizer
SOFIA Science Center
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In this talk, I will discuss the results from our ongoing mid-infrared study of GHII regions in the Milky Way with the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aimed at understanding the evolution and physical properties of the most extreme sites of massive star formation in our Galaxy. By combining our SOFIA-FORCAST imaging data with Spitzer-IRAC and Herschel imaging data, as well as radio continuum and line maps, we have a rich, multi-wavelength dataset that allows for detailed analyses of each GHII region. I will spend half of the talk review the results of our first three papers from this study which covered the powerful W51A, M17, and W49A star-forming regions, and then concentrate on the newest results of our most recent fourth paper, which includes the more modest star-forming regions Sgr D and W42. The two main goals of all these studies have been to 1) quantify the missing embedded populations of the youngest cluster members within GHII regions to understand the present level of massive star formation occurring in each region, and 2) test the conflicting hypotheses regarding the internal evolution and origin of each GHII region to better understand the formation and evolution of GHII regions in general.

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