EDP Sciences
AMBER: Instrument description and first astrophysical results
Press Release
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Volume 464, Number 1, March II 2007
AMBER: Instrument description and first astrophysical results
Page(s) 107 - 118
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20065408

A&A 464, 107-118 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20065408

Direct constraint on the distance of $\gamma^2$ Velorum from AMBER/VLTI observations

F. Millour1, 2, R. G. Petrov2, O. Chesneau3, D. Bonneau3, L. Dessart4, C. Bechet5, I. Tallon-Bosc5, M. Tallon5, E. Thiébaut5, F. Vakili2, F. Malbet1, D. Mourard3, P. Antonelli3, U. Beckmann6, Y. Bresson3, A. Chelli1, M. Dugué3, G. Duvert1, S. Gennari7, L. Glück1, P. Kern1, S. Lagarde3, E. Le Coarer1, F. Lisi7, K. Perraut1, P. Puget1, F. Rantakyrö8, S. Robbe-Dubois2, A. Roussel3, E. Tatulli1, 7, G. Weigelt6, G. Zins1, M. Accardo7, B. Acke1, 9, K. Agabi2, E. Altariba1, B. Arezki1, E. Aristidi2, C. Baffa7, J. Behrend6, T. Blöcker6, S. Bonhomme3, S. Busoni7, F. Cassaing10, J.-M. Clausse3, J. Colin3, C. Connot6, A. Delboulbé1, A. Domiciano de Souza2, 3, T. Driebe6, P. Feautrier1, D. Ferruzzi7, T. Forveille1, E. Fossat2, R. Foy5, D. Fraix-Burnet1, A. Gallardo1, E. Giani7, C. Gil1, 11, A. Glentzlin3, M. Heiden6, M. Heininger6, O. Hernandez Utrera1, K.-H. Hofmann6, D. Kamm3, M. Kiekebusch8, S. Kraus6, D. Le Contel3, J.-M. Le Contel3, T. Lesourd12, B. Lopez3, M. Lopez12, Y. Magnard1, A. Marconi7, G. Mars3, G. Martinot-Lagarde12, 3, P. Mathias3, P. Mège1, J.-L. Monin1, D. Mouillet1, 13, E. Nussbaum6, K. Ohnaka6, J. Pacheco3, C. Perrier1, Y. Rabbia3, S. Rebattu3, F. Reynaud14, A. Richichi15, A. Robini2, M. Sacchettini1, D. Schertl6, M. Schöller8, W. Solscheid6, A. Spang3, P. Stee3, P. Stefanini7, D. Tasso3, L. Testi7, O. von der Lühe16, J.-C. Valtier3, M. Vannier2, 8, 17, and N. Ventura1

1  Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, UMR 5571 Université Joseph Fourier/CNRS, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
2  Laboratoire Universitaire d'Astrophysique de Nice, UMR 6525 Université de Nice - Sophia Antipolis/CNRS, Parc Valrose, 06108 Nice Cedex 2, France
3  Laboratoire Gemini, UMR 6203 Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur/CNRS, BP 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
4  Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
5  Centre de Recherche Astronomique de Lyon, UMR 5574 Université Claude Bernard/CNRS, 9 avenue Charles André, 69561 Saint Genis Laval Cedex, France
6  Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
7  INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
8  European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
9  Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, KU-Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
10  ONERA/DOTA, 29 av. de la Division Leclerc, BP 72, 92322 Chatillon Cedex, France
11  Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto, Portugal
12  Division Technique INSU/CNRS UPS 855, 1 place Aristide Briand, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
13  Laboratoire Astrophysique de Toulouse, UMR 5572 Université Paul Sabatier/CNRS, BP 826, 65008 Tarbes Cedex, France
14  IRCOM, UMR 6615 Université de Limoges/CNRS, 123 avenue Albert Thomas, 87060 Limoges Cedex, France
15  European Southern Observatory, Karl Schwarzschild Strasse 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
16  Kiepenheuer Institut für Sonnenphysik, Schöneckstr. 6, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
17  Departamento de Astronomia, Universidad de Chile, Chile

( Received 11 April 2006 / Accepted 16 October 2006 )

Context. Interferometry can provide spatially resolved observations of massive star binary systems and their colliding winds, which thus far have been studied mostly with spatially unresolved observations.
Aims. We present the first AMBER/VLTI observations, taken at orbital phase 0.32, of the Wolf-Rayet and O (WR+O) star binary system $\gamma^2$ Velorum and use the interferometric observables to constrain its properties.
Methods. The AMBER/VLTI instrument was used with the telescopes UT2, UT3, and UT4 on baselines ranging from 46 m to 85 m. It delivered spectrally dispersed visibilities, as well as differential and closure phases, with a resolution R=1500 in the spectral band 1.95-2.17 $\mu$m. We interpret these data in the context of a binary system with unresolved components, neglecting in a first approximation the wind-wind collision zone flux contribution.
Results. Using WR- and O-star synthetic spectra, we show that the AMBER/VLTI observables result primarily from the contribution of the individual components of the WR+O binary system. We discuss several interpretations of the residuals, and speculate on the detection of an additional continuum component, originating from the free-free emission associated with the wind-wind collision zone (WWCZ), and contributing at most to the observed K-band flux at the 5% level. Based on the accurate spectroscopic orbit and the Hipparcos distance, the expected absolute separation and position angle at the time of observations were $5.1\pm0.9$ mas and $66\pm15$°, respectively. However, using theoretical estimates for the spatial extent of both continuum and line emission from each component, we infer a separation of 3.62 +0.11-0.30 mas and a position angle of 73 $^{+9}_{-11}\degr$, compatible with the expected one. Our analysis thus implies that the binary system lies at a distance of 368 +38-13 pc, in agreement with recent spectrophotometric estimates, but significantly larger than the Hipparcos value of 258 +41-31 pc.

Key words: techniques: interferometric -- stars: individual: $\gamma^2$ Velorum -- stars: winds, outflows -- stars: Wolf-Rayet -- stars: binaries: spectroscopic -- stars: early-type

© ESO 2007