Volume 437, Number 1, July I 2005
|Page(s)||247 - 255|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||10 June 2005|
The origin of massive O-type field stars
II. Field O stars as runaways
INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Florence, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
Accepted: 19 March 2005
In two papers we try to confirm that all Galactic high-mass stars are formed in a cluster environment, by excluding that O-type stars found in the Galactic field actually formed there. In de Wit et al. (2004) we presented deep K-band imaging of 5 arcmin fields centred on 43 massive O-type field stars that revealed that the large majority of these objects are single objects. In this contribution we explore the possibility that the field O stars are dynamically ejected from young clusters, by investigating their peculiar space velocity distribution, their distance from the Galactic plane, and their spatial vicinity to known young stellar clusters. We (re-)identify 22 field O-type stars as candidate runaway OB-stars. The statistics show that 4 ± of all O-type stars with can be considered as formed outside a cluster environment. Most are spectroscopically single objects, some are visual binaries. The derived percentage for O-type stars that form isolated in the field based on our statistical analyses is in agreement with what is expected from calculations adopting a universal cluster richness distribution with power index of , assuming that the cluster richness distribution is continuous down to the smallest clusters containing one single star.
Key words: stars: early-type / stars: formation / Galaxy: stellar content / stars: kinematics
© ESO, 2005
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