EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 397, Number 3, January III 2003
Page(s) 859 - 870
Section Galactic structure and dynamics
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021555


A&A 397, 859-870 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021555

A large Wolf-Rayet population in NGC 300 uncovered by VLT-FORS2

H. Schild1, P. A. Crowther2, J. B. Abbott2 and W. Schmutz3

1  Institut für Astronomie, ETH-Zentrum, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
2  Dept of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower St, London WC1E 6BT, UK
3  Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium, 7260 Davos, Switzerland

(Received 6 September 2002 / Accepted 25 October 2002 )

Abstract
We have detected 58 Wolf-Rayet candidates in the central region of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 300, based on deep VLT-FORS2 narrow-band imaging. Our survey is close to complete except for heavily reddened WR stars. Of the objects in our list, 16 stars were already spectroscopically confirmed as WR stars by Schild & Testor and Breysacher et al., to which 4 stars are added using low resolution FORS2 datasets. The WR population of NGC 300 now totals 60, a threefold increase over previous surveys, with $\rm WC/WN\geq1/3$, in reasonable agreement with Local Group galaxies for a moderately sub-solar metallicity. We also discuss the WR surface density in the central region of NGC 300. Finally, analyses are presented for two apparently single WC stars - #29 (alias WR3, WC5) and #48 (alias WR13, WC4) located close to the nucleus, and at a deprojected radius of 2.5 kpc, respectively. These are among the first models of WR stars in galaxies beyond the Local Group, and are compared with early WC stars in our Galaxy and LMC.


Key words: galaxies: individual: NGC 300 -- stars: Wolf-Rayet -- stars: fundamental parameters

Offprint request: P. A. Crowther, pac@star.ucl.ac.uk

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