EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 478, Number 1, January IV 2008
Page(s) 219 - 233
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20078469

A&A 478, 219-233 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20078469

The most massive stars in the Arches cluster

F. Martins1, D. J. Hillier2, T. Paumard3, F. Eisenhauer1, T. Ott1, and R. Genzel1, 4

1  Max-Planck Institt fr extraterrestrische Physik, Postfach 1312, 85741 Garching bei Mnchen, Germany
    e-mail: martins@mpe.mpg.de
2  Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh, 3941 O'Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
3  LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC, Université Paris Direrot, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
4  Department of Physics, University of California, CA 94720, Berkeley, USA

(Received 11 August 2007 / Accepted 5 November 2007)

Aims.We study a sample composed of 28 of the brightest stars in the Arches cluster. Our aim is to constrain their stellar and wind properties and to establish their nature and evolutionary status.
Methods.We analyze K-band spectra obtained with the integral field spectrograph SINFONI on the VLT. Atmosphere models computed with the code CMFGEN are used to derive the effective temperatures, luminosities, stellar abundances, mass loss rates and wind terminal velocities.
Results.We find that the stars in our sample are either H-rich WN7-9 stars (WN7-9h) or supergiants, where two are classified as OIf+. All stars are 2-4 Myr old. There is marginal evidence for a younger age among the most massive stars. The WN7-9h stars reach luminosities as high as 2 $\times$ 106 $L_{\odot}$, consistent with initial masses of ~120 $M_{\odot}$. They are still quite H-rich, but show both N enhancement and C depletion. They are thus identified as core H-burning objects showing products of the CNO equilibrium on their surface. Their progenitors are most likely supergiants of spectral types earlier than O4-6 and initial masses >60 $M_{\odot}$. Their winds follow a well-defined modified wind momentum - luminosity relation (WLR): this is a strong indication that they are radiatively driven. Stellar abundances tend to favor a slightly super-solar metallicity, at least for the lightest metals. We note, however, that the evolutionary models seem to under-predict the degree of N enrichment.

Key words: stars: early-type -- stars: Wolf-Rayet -- stars: atmospheres -- stars: winds, outflows -- Galaxy: center

© ESO 2008