Drew, JE, Herrero, A, Mohr-Smith, M, Monguió, M, Wright, NJ, Kupfer, T and Napiwotzki, R (2018) Massive stars in the hinterland of the young cluster, Westerlund 2. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 480 (2). pp. 2109-2124. ISSN 0035-8711

[thumbnail of 30072018_wright_sty1905.pdf]
30072018_wright_sty1905.pdf - Published Version

Download (1MB) | Preview


An unsettled question concerning the formation and distribution of massive stars is whether they must be born in massive clusters and, if found in less dense environments, whether they must have migrated there. With the advent of wide-area digital photometric surveys, it is now possible to identify massive stars away from prominent Galactic clusters without bias. In this study we consider 40 candidate OB stars found in the field around the young massive cluster, Westerlund 2, by Mohr-Smith et al (2017): these are located inside a box of 1.5×1.5 square degrees and are selected on the basis of their extinctions and K magnitudes. We present VLT/X-shooter spectra of two of the hottest O stars, respectively 11 and 22 arcmin from the centre of Westerlund 2. They are confirmed as O4V stars, with stellar masses likely to be in excess of 40 M⊙. Their radial velocities relative to the non-binary reference object, MSP 182, in Westerlund 2 are −29.4 ±1.7 and −14.4 ±2.2 km s−1, respectively. Using Gaia DR2 proper motions we find that between 8 and 11 early O/WR stars in the studied region (including the two VLT targets, plus WR 20c and WR 20aa) could have been ejected from Westerlund 2 in the last one million years. This represents an efficiency of massive-star ejection of up to ∼ 25%. On sky, the positions of these stars and their proper motions show a near N–S alignment. We discuss the possibility that these results are a consequence of prior sub-cluster merging combining with dynamical ejection.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2018 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: stars, early-type, Galaxy, open clusters and associations, Westerlund 2, structure, surveys
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB460 Astrophysics
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 10:12
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2018 10:38
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/5171

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item