Volume 419, Number 2, May IV 2004
|Page(s)||L17 - L20|
|Published online||03 May 2004|
Letter to the Editor
An exceptional population of late-type WC stars in the metal-rich spiral galaxy M 83*
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, Hicks Building, Hounsfield Rd, Shefffield, S3 7RH, UK
2 Institut für Astronomie, ETH-Zentrum, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
3 Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium, 7260 Davos, Switzerland
Corresponding author: P. A. Crowther, Paul.Crowther@sheffield.ac.uk
Accepted: 4 April 2004
We have surveyed the metal-rich spiral galaxy M 83 (NGC 5236) for its Wolf-Rayet population using VLT-FORS2 narrow-band imaging and follow-up spectroscopy. From a total of 280 candidates identified using He ii λ4686 imaging, Multi Object Spectroscopy of 198 sources was carried out, revealing 132 objects containing bona-fide Wolf-Rayet features. From this sample, an exceptional W-R content of ~1030 is inferred, with N(WC)/N(WN) ~ 1.3, continuing the trend to larger values at higher metallicity amongst Local Group galaxies. More dramatic is the dominance of late-type WC stars in M 83 with N(WC8-9)/N(WC4-7) = 9 which we attribute to the sensitivity of the classification line C iii λ5696 to mass-loss, providing the strength of WC winds scale with metallicity. One young massive compact cluster, #74 in our catalogue, hosts 20% of the entire galactic population, namely ~180 late WC stars and ~50 late WN stars.
Key words: galaxies: individual: M 83 / stars: Wolf-Rayet
© ESO, 2004
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