The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. XXV. Surface nitrogen abundances of O-type giants and supergiants

Grin, N. J.; Ramírez-Agudelo, O. H.; de Koter, A.; Sana, H.; Puls, J.; Brott, I.; Crowther, P. A.; Dufton, P. L.; Evans, C. J.; Gräfener, G.; Herrero, A.; Langer, N.; Lennon, D. J.; van Loon, J. Th.; Markova, N.; de Mink, S. E.; Najarro, F.; Schneider, F. R. N.; Taylor, W. D.; Tramper, F.; Vink, J. S.; Walborn, N. R.

Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 600, A82 (2017)

ADS – Journal – arXiv


Context. Theoretically, rotation-induced chemical mixing in massive stars has far reaching evolutionary consequences, affecting the sequence of morphological phases, lifetimes, nucleosynthesis, and supernova characteristics.
Aims: Using a sample of 72 presumably single O-type giants to supergiants observed in the context of the VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey (VFTS), we aim to investigate rotational mixing in evolved core-hydrogen burning stars initially more massive than 15 M by analysing their surface nitrogen abundances.
Methods: Using stellar and wind properties derived in a previous VFTS study we computed synthetic spectra for a set of up to 21 N II-v lines in the optical spectral range, using the non-LTE atmosphere code FASTWIND. We constrained the nitrogen abundance by fitting the equivalent widths of relatively strong lines that are sensitive to changes in the abundance of this element. Given the quality of the data, we constrained the nitrogen abundance in 38 cases; for 34 stars only upper limits could be derived, which includes almost all stars rotating at νesini> 200 km s-1.
Results: We analysed the nitrogen abundance as a function of projected rotation rate νesini and confronted it with predictions of rotational mixing. We found a group of N-enhanced slowly-spinning stars that is not in accordance with predictions of rotational mixing in single stars. Among O-type stars with (rotation-corrected) gravities less than log gc = 3.75 this group constitutes 30-40 percent of the population. We found a correlation between nitrogen and helium abundance which is consistent with expectations, suggesting that, whatever the mechanism that brings N to the surface, it displays CNO-processed material. For the rapidly-spinning O-type stars we can only provide upper limits on the nitrogen abundance, which are not in violation with theoretical expectations. Hence, the data cannot be used to test the physics of rotation induced mixing in the regime of high spin rates.
Conclusions: While the surface abundances of 60-70 percent of presumed single O-type giants to supergiants behave in conformity with expectations, at least 30-40 percent of our sample can not be understood in the current framework of rotational mixing for single stars. Even though we have excluded stars showing radial velocity variations, of our sample may have remained contaminated by post-interaction binary products. Hence, it is plausible that effects of binary interaction need to be considered to understand their surface properties. Alternatively, or in conjunction, the effects of magnetic fields or alternative mass-loss recipes may need to be invoked.

Keywords: stars: early-type; stars: abundances; stars: rotation; galaxies: star clusters: individual: 30 Doradus; line: profiles; Magellanic Clouds; Astrophysics – Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey . XXIV. Stellar properties of the O-type giants and supergiants in 30 Doradus

Ramírez-Agudelo, O. H.; Sana, H.; de Koter, A.; Tramper, F.; Grin, N. J.; Schneider, F. R. N.; Langer, N.; Puls, J.; Markova, N.; Bestenlehner, J. M.; Castro, N.; Crowther, P. A.; Evans, C. J.; García, M.; Gräfener, G.; Herrero, A.; van Kempen, B.; Lennon, D. J.; Maíz Apellániz, J.; Najarro, F. Sabín-Sanjulián, C.; Simón-Díaz, S.; Taylor, W. D.; Vink, J. S.

Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 600, A81 (2017)

ADS – Journal – arXiv


Context. The Tarantula region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) contains the richest population of spatially resolved massive O-type stars known so far. This unmatched sample offers an opportunity to test models describing their main-sequence evolution and mass-loss properties.
Aims: Using ground-based optical spectroscopy obtained in the framework of the VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey (VFTS), we aim to determine stellar, photospheric and wind properties of 72 presumably single O-type giants, bright giants and supergiants and to confront them with predictions of stellar evolution and of line-driven mass-loss theories.
Methods: We apply an automated method for quantitative spectroscopic analysis of O stars combining the non-LTE stellar atmosphere model fastwind with the genetic fitting algorithm pikaia to determine the following stellar properties: effective temperature, surface gravity, mass-loss rate, helium abundance, and projected rotational velocity. The latter has been constrained without taking into account the contribution from macro-turbulent motions to the line broadening.
Results: We present empirical effective temperature versus spectral subtype calibrations at LMC-metallicity for giants and supergiants. The calibration for giants shows a +1kK offset compared to similar Galactic calibrations; a shift of the same magnitude has been reported for dwarfs. The supergiant calibrations, though only based on a handful of stars, do not seem to indicate such an offset. The presence of a strong upturn at spectral type O3 and earlier can also not be confirmed by our data. In the spectroscopic and classical Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams, our sample O stars are found to occupy the region predicted to be the core hydrogen-burning phase by state-of-the-art models. For stars initially more massive than approximately 60 M, the giant phase already appears relatively early on in the evolution; the supergiant phase develops later. Bright giants, however, are not systematically positioned between giants and supergiants at Minit ≳ 25 M. At masses below 60 M, the dwarf phase clearly precedes the giant and supergiant phases; however this behavior seems to break down at Minit ≲ 18 M. Here, stars classified as late O III and II stars occupy the region where O9.5-9.7 V stars are expected, but where few such late O V stars are actually seen. Though we can not exclude that these stars represent a physically distinct group, this behavior may reflect an intricacy in the luminosity classification at late O spectral subtype. Indeed, on the basis of a secondary classification criterion, the relative strength of Si iv to He I absorption lines, these stars would have been assigned a luminosity class IV or V. Except for five stars, the helium abundance of our sample stars is in agreement with the initial LMC composition. This outcome is independent of their projected spin rates. The aforementioned five stars present moderate projected rotational velocities (I.e., νesini < 200kms-1) and hence do not agree with current predictions of rotational mixing in main-sequence stars. They may potentially reveal other physics not included in the models such as binary-interaction effects. Adopting theoretical results for the wind velocity law, we find modified wind momenta for LMC stars that are 0.3 dex higher than earlier results. For stars brighter than 105 L, that is, in the regime of strong stellar winds, the measured (unclumped) mass-loss rates could be considered to be in agreement with line-driven wind predictions if the clump volume filling factors were fV 1/8 to 1/6.

Keywords: stars: early-type; stars: evolution; stars: fundamental parameters; Magellanic Clouds; galaxies: star clusters: individual: 30 Doradus; Astrophysics – Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

A dearth of short-period massive binaries in the young massive star forming region M 17. Evidence for a large orbital separation at birth?

Sana, H.; Ramírez-Tannus, M. C.; de Koter, A.; Kaper, L.; Tramper, F.; Bik, A.

Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 599, L9 (2017)

ADS – Journal – arXiv


Aims: The formation of massive stars remains poorly understood and little is known about their birth multiplicity properties. Here, we aim to quantitatively investigate the strikingly low radial-velocity dispersion measured for a sample of 11 massive pre- and near-main-sequence stars (σ1D= 5.6 ± 0.2 km s-1) in the very young massive star forming region M 17, in order to obtain first constraints on the multiplicity properties of young massive stellar objects.
Methods: We compute the radial-velocity dispersion of synthetic populations of massive stars for various multiplicity properties and we compare the obtained σ1D distributions to the observed value. We specifically investigate two scenarios: a low binary fraction and a dearth of short-period binary systems.
Results: Simulated populations with low binary fractions () or with truncated period distributions (Pcutoff > 9 months) are able to reproduce the low σ1D observed within their 68%-confidence intervals. Furthermore, parent populations with fbin > 0.42 or Pcutoff < 47 d can be rejected at the 5%-significance level. Both constraints are in stark contrast with the high binary fraction and plethora of short-period systems in few Myr-old, well characterized OB-type populations. To explain the difference in the context of the first scenario would require a variation of the outcome of the massive star formation process. In the context of the second scenario, compact binaries must form later on, and the cut-off period may be related to physical length-scales representative of the bloated pre-main-sequence stellar radii or of their accretion disks.
Conclusions: If the obtained constraints for the M 17’s massive-star population are representative of the multiplicity properties of massive young stellar objects, our results may provide support to a massive star formation process in which binaries are initially formed at larger separations, then harden or migrate to produce the typical (untruncated) power-law period distribution observed in few Myr-old OB binaries.

Keywords: binaries: spectroscopic; stars: early-type; stars: formation; open clusters and associations: individual: M 17; Astrophysics – Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

The Tarantula Massive Binary Monitoring. II. First SB2 orbital and spectroscopic analysis for the Wolf-Rayet binary R145

Shenar, T.; Richardson, N. D.; Sablowski, D. P.; Hainich, R.; Sana, H.; Moffat, A. F. J.; Todt, H.; Hamann, W. -R.; Oskinova, L. M.; Sander, A.; Tramper, F.; Langer, N.; Bonanos, A. Z.; de Mink, S. E.; Gräfener, G.; Crowther, P. A.; Vink, J. S.; Almeida, L. A.; de Koter, A.; Barbá, R. Herrero, A.; Ulaczyk, K.

Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 598, A85 (2017)

ADS – Journal – arXiv


We present the first SB2 orbital solution and disentanglement of the massive Wolf-Rayet binary R145 (P = 159 d) located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The primary was claimed to have a stellar mass greater than 300 M, making it a candidate for being the most massive star known to date. While the primary is a known late-type, H-rich Wolf-Rayet star (WN6h), the secondary has so far not been unambiguously detected. Using moderate-resolution spectra, we are able to derive accurate radial velocities for both components. By performing simultaneous orbital and polarimetric analyses, we derive the complete set of orbital parameters, including the inclination. The spectra are disentangled and spectroscopically analyzed, and an analysis of the wind-wind collision zone is conducted. The disentangled spectra and our models are consistent with a WN6h type for the primary and suggest that the secondary is an O3.5 If*/WN7 type star. We derive a high eccentricity of e = 0.78 and minimum masses of M1sin3I ≈ M2sin3I = 13 ± 2 M, with q = M2/M1 = 1.01 ± 0.07. An analysis of emission excess stemming from a wind-wind collision yields an inclination similar to that obtained from polarimetry (I = 39 ± 6°). Our analysis thus implies and , excluding M1 > 300 M. A detailed comparison with evolution tracks calculated for single and binary stars together with the high eccentricity suggests that the components of the system underwent quasi-homogeneous evolution and avoided mass-transfer. This scenario would suggest current masses of ≈ 80 M and initial masses of MI,1 ≈ 105 and MI,2 ≈ 90 M, consistent with the upper limits of our derived orbital masses, and would imply an age of ≈ 2.2 Myr.

Keywords: binaries: spectroscopic; stars: Wolf-Rayet; stars: massive; Magellanic Clouds; stars: individual: R 145; stars: atmospheres; Astrophysics – Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; Astrophysics – Astrophysics of Galaxies

The Tarantula Massive Binary Monitoring. I. Observational campaign and OB-type spectroscopic binaries

Almeida, L. A.; Sana, H.; Taylor, W.; Barbá, R.; Bonanos, A. Z.; Crowther, P.; Damineli, A.; de Koter, A.; de Mink, S. E.; Evans, C. J.; Gieles, M.; Grin, N. J.; Hénault-Brunet, V.; Langer, N.; Lennon, D.; Lockwood, S.; Maíz Apellániz, J.; Moffat, A. F. J.; Neijssel, C.; Norman, C. Ramírez-Agudelo, O. H.; Richardson, N. D.; Schootemeijer, A.; Shenar, T.; Soszyński, I.; Tramper, F.; Vink, J. S.

Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 598, A84 (2017)

ADS – Journal – arXiv


Context. Massive binaries play a crucial role in the Universe. Knowing the distributions of their orbital parameters is important for a wide range of topics from stellar feedback to binary evolution channels and from the distribution of supernova types to gravitational wave progenitors, yet no direct measurements exist outside the Milky Way.
Aims: The Tarantula Massive Binary Monitoring project was designed to help fill this gap by obtaining multi-epoch radial velocity (RV) monitoring of 102 massive binaries in the 30 Doradus region.
Methods: In this paper we analyze 32 FLAMES/GIRAFFE observations of 93 O- and 7 B-type binaries. We performed a Fourier analysis and obtained orbital solutions for 82 systems: 51 single-lined (SB1) and 31 double-lined (SB2) spectroscopic binaries.
Results: Overall, the binary fraction and orbital properties across the 30 Doradus region are found to be similar to existing Galactic samples. This indicates that within these domains environmental effects are of second order in shaping the properties of massive binary systems. A small difference is found in the distribution of orbital periods, which is slightly flatter (in log space) in 30 Doradus than in the Galaxy, although this may be compatible within error estimates and differences in the fitting methodology. Also, orbital periods in 30 Doradus can be as short as 1.1 d, somewhat shorter than seen in Galactic samples. Equal mass binaries (q> 0.95) in 30 Doradus are all found outside NGC 2070, the central association that surrounds R136a, the very young and massive cluster at 30 Doradus’s core. Most of the differences, albeit small, are compatible with expectations from binary evolution. One outstanding exception, however, is the fact that earlier spectral types (O2-O7) tend to have shorter orbital periods than later spectral types (O9.2-O9.7).
Conclusions: Our results point to a relative universality of the incidence rate of massive binaries and their orbital properties in the metallicity range from solar (Z) to about half solar. This provides the first direct constraints on massive binary properties in massive star-forming galaxies at the Universe’s peak of star formation at redshifts z 1 to 2 which are estimated to have Z 0.5 Z.

Keywords: stars: early-type; stars: massive; binaries: spectroscopic; binaries: close; Astrophysics – Solar and Stellar Astrophysics