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The Quintuplet Cluster: Extended Structure and Tidal Radius


The Quintuplet star cluster is one of only three known young (<10 Myr) massive (M > 104 M o) clusters within ∼100 pc of the Galactic center (GC). In order to explore star cluster formation and evolution in this extreme environment, we analyze the Quintuplet's dynamical structure. Using the HST WFC3-IR instrument, we take astrometric and photometric observations of the Quintuplet covering a 120″ × 120″ field of view, which is 19 times larger than those of previous proper-motion studies of the Quintuplet. We generate a catalog of the Quintuplet region with multiband, near-infrared photometry, proper motions, and cluster membership probabilities for 10,543 stars. We present the radial density profile of 715 candidate Quintuplet cluster members with M ≈ 4.7 M o out to 3.2 pc from the cluster center. A 3σ lower limit of 3 pc is placed on the tidal radius, indicating the lack of a tidal truncation within this radius range. Only weak evidence for mass segregation is found, in contrast to the strong mass segregation found in the Arches cluster, a second and slightly younger massive cluster near the GC. It is possible that tidal stripping hampers a mass segregation signature, though we find no evidence of spatial asymmetry. Assuming that the Arches and Quintuplet clusters formed with comparable extent, our measurement of the Quintuplet's comparatively large core radius of pc provides strong empirical evidence that young massive clusters in the GC dissolve on a several-megayear timescale.

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