Figure 15

Figure 15

Infrared image of the dusty "hotspot" region surrounding the nucleus (bright central source) of the SBc spiral galaxy NGC 2903. This picture shows the colors in the JHK-bands from observations made with the Palomar Hale 5-m telescope with 0.6 arcsec FWHM seeing. Comparisons with images taken with WFPC2 on the Hubble Space Telescope with resolution comparable to that expected for Gemini in the JHK-bands demonstrate that many of the bright IR condensations around the nucleus are compact super star clusters. These types of clusters are common in starbursts and other areas of intense star formation, and can be readily investigated with large aperture, high angular resolution telescopes operating in the optical through mid-infrared spectral regions. This image was obtained by Alan Watson, Keith Matthews, and John Trauger.