3,015 research outputs found

    How extreme are the Wolf-Rayet clusters in NGC3125?

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    We reinvestigate the massive stellar content of NGC3125 (Tol3) using VLT/FORS1 imaging & spectroscopy, plus archival VLT/ISAAC, HST/FOC and HST/STIS datasets. Narrow-band imaging confirms that A and B knots represent the primary sites of Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars, whilst HST imaging reveals that both regions host multiple clusters. Clusters A1 + A2 within region A host WR stars. altough is not clear which cluster within region B hosts WR stars. Nebular properties infer an LMC-like metallicity. LMC template WN5-6 & WC4 spectra are matched to the observed optical WR bumps of A1 and B, permitting the contribution of WC stars to the blue bump to be quantified. We obtain N(WN5-6:WC4)=105:20, 55:0, 40:20 for clusters A1, A2 and B1+B2, a factor of 3 lower than optical studies, as a result of a lower E(B-V). Using Starburst99 models to estimate O star populations for individual clusters, we find N(WR)/N(O)=0.2 for A1 and 0.1 for A2 and B1+B2. From Halpha imaging, the O star content of the Giant HII regions A and B is found to be a factor of 5-10 times higher than that derived spectroscopically for the UV/optically bright clusters, suggesting that NGC3125 hosts optically obscured young massive clusters, further supported by VLT/ISAAC K band imaging. Archival HST/STIS UV spectroscopy confirms the low E(B-V) towards A1, for which we have determined an SMC extinction law, in preference to an LMC or starburst law. We obtain N(WN5-6)=110 from the slit-loss corrected HeII 1640 line flux, in excellent agreement with optical result. However, this is a factor of 35 times lower than that inferred from the same dataset by Chandar et al. due to their use of a starburst extinction law. Highly discrepant stellar populations may result in spatially resolved star forming regions from UV and optical studies through use of different extinction laws.Comment: 12 pages, 8 figures, accepted for MNRAS (fixes previous error in Table 2

    A downward revision to the distance of the 1806-20 cluster and associated magnetar from Gemini near-Infrared spectroscopy

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    We present H- and K-band spectroscopy of OB and Wolf-Rayet (WR) members of the Milky Way cluster 1806-20 (G10.0-0.3), to obtain a revised cluster distance of relevance to the 2004 giant flare from the SGR 1806-20 magnetar. From GNIRS spectroscopy obtained with Gemini South, four candidate OB stars are confirmed as late O/early B supergiants, while we support previous mid WN and late WC classifications for two WR stars. Based upon an absolute Ks-band magnitude calibration for B supergiants and WR stars, and near-IR photometry from NIRI at Gemini North plus archival VLT/ISAAC datasets, we obtain a cluster distance modulus of 14.7+/-0.35 mag. The known stellar content of the 1806-20 cluster suggests an age of 3-5 Myr, from which theoretical isochrone fits infer a distance modulus of 14.7+/-0.7 mag. Together, our results favour a distance modulus of 14.7+/-0.4 mag (8.7^+1.8_-1.5 kpc) to the 1806-20 cluster, which is significantly lower than the nominal 15 kpc distance to the magnetar. For our preferred distance, the peak luminosity of the December 2004 giant flare is reduced by a factor of three to 7 X 10^46 erg/s, such that the contamination of BATSE short gamma ray bursts (GRB's) from giant flares of extragalactic magnetars is reduced to a few percent. We infer a magnetar progenitor mass of ~48^+20_-8 Msun, in close agreement with that obtained recently for the magnetar in Westerlund 1.Comment: 6 pages, 4 figures, accepted for MNRAS Letter

    Metallicity in the Galactic Center: The Arches cluster

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    We present a quantitative spectral analysis of five very massive stars in the Arches cluster, located near the Galactic center, to determine stellar parameters, stellar wind properties and, most importantly, metallicity content. The analysis uses a new technique, presented here for the first time, and uses line-blanketed NLTE wind/atmosphere models fit to high-resolution near-infrared spectra of late-type nitrogen-rich Wolf-Rayet stars and OfI+ stars in the cluster. It relies on the fact that massive stars reach a maximum nitrogen abundance that is related to initial metallicity when they are in the WNL phase. We determine the present-day nitrogen abundance of the WNL stars in the Arches cluster to be 1.6% (mass fraction) and constrain the stellar metallicity in the cluster to be solar. This result is invariant to assumptions about the mass-luminosity relationship, the mass-loss rates, and rotation speeds. In addition, from this analysis, we find the age of the Arches cluster to be 2-2.5Myr, assuming coeval formation

    The Very Massive Star Content of the Nuclear Star Clusters in NGC 5253

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    The blue compact dwarf galaxy NGC 5253 hosts a very young starburst containing twin nuclear star clusters, separated by a projected distance of 5 pc. One cluster (#5) coincides with the peak of the H-alpha emission and the other (#11) with a massive ultracompact H II region. A recent analysis of these clusters shows that they have a photometric age of 1+/-1 Myr, in apparent contradiction with the age of 3-5 Myr inferred from the presence of Wolf-Rayet features in the cluster #5 spectrum. We examine Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet and Very Large Telescope optical spectroscopy of #5 and show that the stellar features arise from very massive stars (VMS), with masses greater than 100 Msun, at an age of 1-2 Myr. We further show that the very high ionizing flux from the nuclear clusters can only be explained if VMS are present. We investigate the origin of the observed nitrogen enrichment in the circum-cluster ionized gas and find that the excess N can be produced by massive rotating stars within the first 1 Myr. We find similarities between the NGC 5253 cluster spectrum and those of metal poor, high redshift galaxies. We discuss the presence of VMS in young, star-forming galaxies at high redshift; these should be detected in rest frame UV spectra to be obtained with the James Webb Space Telescope. We emphasize that population synthesis models with upper mass cut-offs greater than 100 Msun are crucial for future studies of young massive star clusters at all redshifts.Comment: 11 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journa

    Realistic Ionizing Fluxes for Young Stellar Populations from 0.05 to twice solar metallicity

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    We present a new grid of ionizing fluxes for O and Wolf-Rayet stars for use with evolutionary synthesis codes and single star H II region analyses. A total of 230 expanding, non-LTE, line-blanketed model atmospheres have been calculated for five metallicities (0.05, 0.2, 0.4, 1 and 2 solar) using the WM-basic code of Pauldrach et al. (2001) and the CMFGEN code of Hillier & Miller (1998). The stellar wind parameters are scaled with metallicity for both O and W-R stars. We incorporate the new models into Starburst99 (Leitherer et al. 1999) and compare the ionizing outputs with Schaerer & Vacca (1998) and Leitherer et al. (1999). The changes in the output ionizing fluxes are dramatic, particularly below 228 A. We also find lower fluxes in the He I continuum for Z > 0.4 solar and ages < 7 Myr because of the increased line blanketing. We test the accuracy of the new models by constructing photoionization models. We show that for the dwarf O star grid, He I 5876/H beta decreases between Z = 1 and twice solar in a similar manner to observations (e.g. Bresolin et al. 1999) due to the increased effect of line blanketing. We therefore suggest that a lowering of the upper mass limit at high abundances is not required to explain the observations. For the case of an instantaneous burst, we plot the softness parameter "eta prime" against the abundance indicator R_23. The new models are coincident with the data of Bresolin et al. (1999), particularly during the W-R phase, unlike previous models which over-predict the hardness of the ionizing radiation.Comment: 21 pages, 15 postscript colour figures, includes mn2e.cls. To be published in MNRAS. Revised version containing modifications to Tables 1-

    A survey of the Wolf-Rayet population of the barred, spiral galaxy NGC 1313

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    We present a VLT/FORS1 survey of Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars in the spiral galaxy NGC 1313. In total, 94 WR candidate sources have been identified from narrow-band imaging. Of these, 82 have been spectroscopically observed, for which WR emission features are confirmed in 70 cases, one of which also exhibits strong nebular HeII 4686 emission. We also detect strong nebular HeII 4686 emission within two other regions of NGC 1313, one of which is a possible supernova remnant. Nebular properties confirm that NGC 1313 has a metal-content log(O/H)+12=8.23+/-0.06, in good agreement with previous studies. From continuum subtracted Halpha images we infer a global star formation rate of 0.6 Msun/yr. Using template LMC WR stars, spectroscopy reveals that NGC 1313 hosts a minimum of 84 WR stars. Our census comprises 51 WN stars, including a rare WN/C transition star plus 32 WC stars. In addition, we identify one WO star which represents the first such case identified beyond the Local Group. The bright giant HII region PES 1, comparable in Halpha luminosity to NGC 595 in M 33, is found to host a minimum of 17 WR stars. The remaining photometric candidates generally display photometric properties consistent with WN stars, such that we expect a global WR population of ~115 stars with N(WR)/N(O)~0.01 and N(WC)/N(WN)~0.4.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS. Finding charts omitted, full version available by anonymous ftp (ftp: hydra.shef.ac.uk/pub/lh/ngc1313-fullversion.pd