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2.5. Masses

SSCs are thought to have masses at least as large as 104 Msun, and more likely between 105 to 106 Msun. Unfortunately, the estimated masses are highly uncertain because invariably they are derived from population synthesis models that depend on a large number of poorly constrained parameters. To obtain the total cluster mass, one must generally adopt a slope for the stellar initial mass function (IMF) and extrapolate it to low, essentially unobserved, masses. A more direct and reliable method to estimate the cluster masses will be described below.