This review discusses three main topics: evolution to the ultra-compact (UC) state; the properties of UC HII regions and their environments; and UC HII regions as probes of Galactic structure. The evolution to UC HII regions begins in giant molecular clouds that provide the natal material for prestellar cores that evolve into hot cores, the precursors of UC HII regions. The properties of each evolutionary phase are reviewed, with particular emphasis on those of hot cores. The observed properties of UC HII regions and their environments are summarized with emphasis on the physical processes that may produce the observed properties. The final section summarizes the use of UC HII regions as probes of Galactic structure: in particular, the Galactic population and distribution of newly formed massive stars, the location of spiral arms, and the average galactocentric temperature and abundance gradients.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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