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Abstract: We combine VLT-ISAAC NIR spectroscopy with archival HST-WFPC2 and HST-NICMOSimaging to study the central 20-x20- of M83. Our NIR indices for clusters inthe circumnuclear star-burst region are inconsistent with simple instantaneousburst models. However, models of a single burst dispersed over a duration of 6Myrs fit the data well and provide the clearest evidence yet of an age gradientalong the star forming arc, with the youngest clusters nearest the north-eastdust lane. The long slit kinematics show no evidence to support previous claimsof a second hidden mass concentration, although we do observe changes inmolecular gas velocity consistent with the presence of a shock at the edge ofthe dust lane.

Author: R. C. W. Houghton, N. Thatte


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