Volume 479, Number 2, February IV 2008
|Page(s)||541 - 555|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||02 January 2008|
The VLT-FLAMES survey of massive stars: atmospheric parameters and rotational velocity distributions for B-type stars in the Magellanic Clouds *,**
Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics & Physics, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK e-mail: I.Hunter@qub.ac.uk
2 The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, Apartado de Correos 321, 38700, Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain
3 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, 38200 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
4 LUTH, Observatoire de Meudon, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
5 UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ, UK
Accepted: 7 December 2007
Aims.We aim to provide the atmospheric parameters and rotational velocities for a large sample of O- and early B-type stars, analysed in a homogeneous and consistent manner, for use in constraining theoretical models.
Methods.Atmospheric parameters, stellar masses, and rotational velocities have been estimated for approximately 250 early B-type stars in the Large (LMC) and Small (SMC) Magellanic Clouds from high-resolution VLT-FLAMES data using the non-LTE TLUSTY model atmosphere code. This data set has been supplemented with our previous analyses of some 50 O-type stars (Mokiem et al. 2006, 2007) and 100 narrow-lined early B-type stars (Hunter et al. 2006; Trundle et al. 2007) from the same survey, providing a sample of ~400 early-type objects.
Results.Comparison of the rotational velocities with evolutionary tracks suggests that the end of core hydrogen burning occurs later than currently predicted and we argue for an extension of the evolutionary tracks. We also show that the large number of the luminous blue supergiants observed in the fields are unlikely to have directly evolved from main-sequence massive O-type stars as neither their low rotational velocities nor their position on the H-R diagram are predicted. We suggest that blue loops or mass-transfer binary systems may populate the blue supergiant regime. By comparing the rotational velocity distributions of the Magellanic Cloud stars to a similar Galactic sample, we find that (at 3σ confidence level) massive stars (above 8 ) in the SMC rotate faster than those in the solar neighbourhood. However there appears to be no significant difference between the rotational velocity distributions in the Galaxy and the LMC. We find that the distributions in the SMC and LMC can modelled with an intrinsic rotational velocity distribution that is a Gaussian peaking at 175 km s-1 (SMC) and 100 km s-1 (LMC) with a half width of 150 km s-1. We find that in NGC 346 in the SMC, the 10–25 main-sequence stars appear to rotate faster than their higher mass counterparts. It is not expected that O-type stars spin down significantly through angular momentum loss via stellar winds at SMC metallicity, hence this could be a reflection of mass dependent birth spin rates. Recently Yoon et al. (2006) have determined rates of GRBs by modelling rapidly rotating massive star progenitors. Our measured rotational velocity distribution for the 10–25 stars is peaked at slightly higher velocities than they assume, supporting the idea that GRBs could come from rapid rotators with initial masses as low as 14 at low metallicities.
Key words: stars: early-type / stars: atmospheres / stars: rotation / stars: evolution / galaxies: Magellanic Clouds
© ESO, 2008
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