Abstract Digest #7, 10.10.2014

Today's abstracts:

  • [MNRAS] "The high optical polarization in the Be/X-ray binary EXO 2030+375" by P. Reig, D. Blinov, I. Papadakis, N. Kylafis, K. Tassi
  • [IAUS 307] "Spectropolarimetry of massive stars: Requirements and potential from today to 2030" by G.A. Wade
  • [ApJS] "Southern Massive Stars at High Angular Resolution: Observational Campaign and Companion Detection" by H. Sana et al.
  • [ApJ] "The Immediate Environments of Two Herbig Be Stars: MWC 1080 and HD 259431' by Dan Li, Naibí Mariñas, Charles M. Telesco
  • [A&A] "A resolved, au-scale gas disk around the B[e] star HD 50138" by L.E. Ellerbroek et al.
  • [AJ] "Evidence of the Evolved Nature of the B[e] Star MWC 137' by M. F. Muratore et al.
  • [ApJ] "On the formation of Be stars through binary interaction" by Yong Shao, Xiang-Dong Li
  • [AJ] "The Multiplicity of Massive Stars: A High Angular Resolution Survey with the HST Fine Guidance Sensor" by E. J. Aldoretta et al.
  • [SF2A] "The BRITE spectropolarimetric survey" by C. Neiner, A. Lèbre
  • [ApJ] "Luminous Blue Variables and superluminous supernovae from binary mergers" by Stephen Justham, Philipp Podsiadlowski, Jorick S. Vink
  • [MNRAS] "A deep catalogue of classical Be stars in the direction of the Perseus Arm: spectral types and interstellar reddenings" by R. Raddi et al.

The high optical polarization in the Be/X-ray binary EXO 2030+375

P. Reig, D. Blinov, I. Papadakis, N. Kylafis, K. Tassis

Polarization in classical Be stars results from Thomson scattering of the unpolarized light from the Be star in the circumstellar disc. Theory and observations agree that the maximum degree of polarization from isolated Be stars is < 4%. We report on the first optical polarimetric observations of the Be/X-ray binary EXO 2030+375. We find that the optical (R band) light is strongly linearly polarized with a degee of polarization of 19%, the highest ever measured either in a classical or Be/X-ray binary. We argue that the interstellar medium cannot account for this high polarization degree and that a substantial amount must be intrinsic to the source. We propose that it may result from the alignment of non-spherical ferromagnetic grains in the Be star disc due to the strong neutron star magnetic field.

Available at: arXiv:1409.8411

Spectropolarimetry of massive stars: Requirements and potential from today to 2030

G.A. Wade

We develop the requirements and potential of spectropolarimetry as applied to understanding the physics of massive stars during the immediate, intermediate-term and long-term future.

Available at: arXiv:1409.6563

Southern Massive Stars at High Angular Resolution: Observational Campaign and Companion Detection

H. Sana et al.

Multiplicity is one of the most fundamental observable properties of massive O-type stars and offers a promising way to discriminate between massive star formation theories. Nevertheless, companions at separations between 1 and 100 mas remain mostly unknown due to intrinsic observational limitations. [...] The Southern MAssive Stars at High angular resolution survey (SMASH+) was designed to fill this gap by providing the first systematic interferometric survey of Galactic massive stars. We observed 117 O-type stars with VLTI/PIONIER and 162 O-type stars with NACO/SAM, respectively probing the separation ranges 1-45 and 30-250mas and brightness contrasts of Delta H < 4 and Delta H < 5. Taking advantage of NACO's field-of-view, we further uniformly searched for visual companions in an 8''-radius down to Delta H = 8. This paper describes the observations and data analysis, reports the discovery of almost 200 new companions in the separation range from 1mas to 8'' and presents the catalog of detections, including the first resolved measurements of over a dozen known long-period spectroscopic binaries. Excluding known runaway stars for which no companions are detected, 96 objects in our main sample (DEC < 0 deg; H<7.5) were observed both with PIONIER and NACO/SAM. The fraction of these stars with at least one resolved companion within 200mas is 0.53. Accounting for known but unresolved spectroscopic or eclipsing companions, the multiplicity fraction at separation < 8'' increases to f_m = 0.91 +/- 0.03. The fraction of luminosity class V stars that have a bound companion reaches 100% at 30mas while their average number of physically connected companions within 8'' is f_c = 2.2 +/- 0.3. This demonstrates that massive stars form nearly exclusively in multiple systems. Additionally, the nine non-thermal (NT) radio emitters observed by SMASH+ are all resolved [...]

Available at: arXiv:1409.6304

The Immediate Environments of Two Herbig Be Stars: MWC 1080 and HD 259431

Dan Li, Naibí Mariñas, Charles M. Telesco

Deep mid-infrared (10-20 mum) images with sub-arcsec resolution were obtained for two Herbig Be stars, MWC 1080 and HD 259431, to probe their immediate environments. Our goal is to understand the origin of the diffuse nebulosities observed around these two very young objects. By analyzing our new mid-IR images and comparing them to published data at other wavelengths, we demonstrate that the well extended emission around MWC 1080 traces neither a disk nor an envelope, but rather the surfaces of a cavity created by the outflow from MWC 1080A, the primary star of the MWC 1080 system. In the N-band images, the filamentary nebulosities trace the hourglass-shaped gas cavity wall out to ~0.15 pc. This scenario reconciles the properties of the MWC 1080 system revealed by a wide range of observations. Our finding confirms that the environment around MWC 1080, where a small cluster is forming, is strongly affected by the outflow from the central Herbig Be star. Similarities observed between the two subjects of this study suggest that the filamentary emission around HD 259431 may arise from a similar outflow cavity structure, too.

Available at: arXiv:1409.6293

A resolved, au-scale gas disk around the B[e] star HD 50138

L. E. Ellerbroek et al.

HD 50138 is a B[e] star surrounded by a large amount of circumstellar gas and dust. Its spectrum shows characteristics which may indicate either a pre- or a post-main-sequence system. Mapping the kinematics of the gas in the inner few au of the system contributes to a better understanding of its physical nature. We present the first high spatial and spectral resolution interferometric observations of the Br-gamma line of HD~50138, obtained with VLTI/AMBER. The line emission originates from a region more compact (up to 3 au) than the continuum-emitting region. Blue- and red-shifted emission originates from the two different hemispheres of an elongated structure perpendicular to the polarization angle. The velocity of the emitting medium decreases radially. An overall offset along the NW direction between the line- and continuum-emitting regions is observed. We compare the data with a geometric model of a thin Keplerian disk and a spherical halo on top of a Gaussian continuum. Most of the data are well reproduced by this model, except for the variability, the global offset and the visibility at the systemic velocity. The evolutionary state of the system is discussed; most diagnostics are ambiguous and may point either to a post-main-sequence or a pre-main-sequence nature.

Available at: arXiv:1409.7394

Evidence of the Evolved Nature of the B[e] Star MWC 137

M. F. Muratore et al.

The evolutionary phase of B[e] stars is difficult to establish due to the uncertainties in their fundamental parameters. For instance, possible classifications for the Galactic B[e] star MWC 137 include pre-main-sequence and post-main-sequence phases, with a large range in luminosity. Our goal is to clarify the evolutionary stage of this peculiar object, and to study the CO molecular component of its circumstellar medium. To this purpose, we modeled the CO molecular bands using high-resolution K-band spectra. We find that MWC 137 is surrounded by a detached cool (T = 1900 +-100 K) and dense (N = (3 +- 1) x 10^21 cm^(-2)) ring of CO gas orbiting the star with a rotational velocity, projected to the line of sight, of 84 +- 2 km/s. We also find that the molecular gas is enriched in the isotope 13C, excluding the classification of the star as a Herbig Be. The observed isotopic abundance ratio (12C / 13C = 25 +- 2) derived from our modeling is compatible with a proto-PN, main-sequence or supergiant evolutionary phase. However, based on some observable characteristics of MWC 137, we propose that the supergiant scenario seems to be the most plausible. Hence, we suggest that MWC 137 could be in an extremely short-lived phase, evolving from a B[e] supergiant to a blue supergiant with a bipolar ring nebula.

Available at: arXiv:1409.7550

On the formation of Be stars through binary interaction

Yong Shao, Xiang-Dong Li

Be stars are rapidly rotating B type stars. The origin of their rapid rotation is not certain, but binary interaction remains to be a possibility. In this work we investigate the formation of Be stars resulting from mass transfer in binaries in the Galaxy. We calculate the binary evolution with both stars evolving simultaneously and consider different possible mass accretion histories for the accretor. From the calculated results we obtain the critical mass ratios qcr that determine the stability of mass transfer. We also numerically calculate the parameter lambda in common envelope evolution, and then incorporate both qcr and lambda into the population synthesis calculations. We present the predicted numbers and characteristics of Be stars in binary systems with different types of companions, including helium stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. We find that in Be/neutron star binaries the Be stars can have a lower limit of mass ~8M_sun if they are formed by stable (i.e., without the occurrence of common envelope evolution) and nonconservative mass transfer. We demonstrate that isolated Be stars may originate from both mergers of two main-sequence stars and disrupted Be binaries during the supernova explosions of the primary stars, but mergers seem to play a much more important role. Finally the fraction of Be stars which have involved binary interactions in all B type stars can be as high as ~13, implying that most of Be stars may result from binary interaction.

Available at: arXiv:1410.0100

The Multiplicity of Massive Stars: A High Angular Resolution Survey with the HST Fine Guidance Sensor

E. J. Aldoretta et al.

We present the results of an all-sky survey made with the Fine Guidance Sensor on Hubble Space Telescope to search for angularly resolved binary systems among the massive stars. The sample of 224 stars is comprised mainly of Galactic O- and B-type stars and Luminous Blue Variables, plus a few luminous stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The FGS TRANS mode observations are sensitive to detection of companions with an angular separation between 0."01 and 1."0 and brighter than Delta m=5. The FGS observations resolved 52 binary and 6 triple star systems and detected partially resolved binaries in 7 additional targets (43 of these are new detections). These numbers yield a companion detection frequency of 29% for the FGS survey. We also gathered literature results on the numbers of close spectroscopic binaries and wider astrometric binaries among the sample, and we present estimates of the frequency of multiple systems and the companion frequency for subsets of stars residing in clusters and associations, field stars, and runaway stars. These results confirm the high multiplicity fraction, especially among massive stars in clusters and associations. We show that the period distribution is approximately flat in increments of log P. We identify a number of systems of potential interest for long term orbital determinations, and we note the importance of some of these companions for the interpretation of the radial velocities and light curves of close binaries that have third companions.

Available at: arXiv:1410.0021

The BRITE spectropolarimetric survey

C. Neiner, A. Lèbre

The BRITE constellation of nanosatellites observes very bright stars to perform seismology. We have set up a spectropolarimetric survey of all BRITE targets, i.e. all ~600 stars brighter than V=4, with Narval at TBL, ESPaDOnS at CFHT and HarpsPol at ESO. We plan to reach a magnetic detection threshold of Bpol = 50 G for stars hotter than F5 and Bpol = 5 G for cooler stars. This program will allow us to combine magnetic information with the BRITE seismic information and obtain a better interpretation and modelling of the internal structure of the stars. It will also lead to new discoveries of very bright magnetic stars, which are unique targets for follow-up and multi-technique studies.

Available at: arXiv:1410.0913

Luminous Blue Variables and superluminous supernovae from binary mergers

Stephen Justham, Philipp Podsiadlowski, Jorick S. Vink

Evidence suggests that the direct progenitor stars of some core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) are luminous blue variables (LBVs), perhaps including some `superluminous supernovae' (SLSNe). We examine models in which massive stars gain mass soon after the end of core hydrogen burning. These are mainly intended to represent mergers following a brief contact phase during early Case B mass transfer, but may also represent stars which gain mass in the Hertzsprung Gap or extremely late during the main-sequence phase for other reasons. The post-accretion stars spend their core helium-burning phase as blue supergiants (BSGs), and many examples are consistent with being LBVs at the time of core collapse. Other examples are yellow supergiants at explosion. We also investigate whether such post-accretion stars may explode successfully after core collapse. The final core properties of post-accretion models are broadly similar to those of single stars with the same initial mass as the pre-merger primary star. More surprisingly, when early Case B accretion does affect the final core properties, the effect appears likely to favour a successful SN explosion, i.e., to make the core properties more like those of a lower-mass single star. However, the detailed structures of these cores sometimes display qualitative differences to any single-star model we have calculated. The rate of appropriate binary mergers may match the rate of SNe with immediate LBV progenitors; for moderately optimistic assumptions we estimate that the progenitor birthrate is ~1% of the CCSN rate.

Available at: arXiv:1410.2426

A deep catalogue of classical Be stars in the direction of the Perseus Arm: spectral types and interstellar reddenings

R. Raddi et al.

We present a catalogue of 247 photometrically and spectroscopically confirmed fainter classical Be stars (13 < r < 16) in the direction of the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way (-1 < b < +4, 120 < l < 140). The catalogue consists of 181 IPHAS-selected new classical Be stars, in addition to 66 objects that were studied by Raddi et al. (2013) more closely, and 3 stars identified as classical Be stars in earlier work. This study more than doubles the number known in the region. Photometry spanning 0.6 to 5 micron, spectral types, and interstellar reddenings are given for each object. The spectral types were determined from low-resolution spectra (lambda / Delta-lambda ~ 800-2000), to a precision of 1-3 subtypes. The interstellar reddenings are derived from the (r - i) colour, using a method that corrects for circumstellar disc emission. The colour excesses obtained range from E(B-V) = 0.3 up to 1.6 - a distribution that modestly extends the range reported in the literature for Perseus-Arm open clusters. For around half the sample, the reddenings obtained are compatible with measures of the total sightline Galactic extinction. Many of these are likely to lie well beyond the Perseus Arm.

Available at: arXiv:1410.1533


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