Volume 542, June 2012
|Number of page(s)||14|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||05 June 2012|
The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey
IV. Candidates for isolated high-mass star formation in 30 Doradus⋆
1 School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QL, UK
2 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 87548, Garching bei München, Germany
3 Harvard-Smithsonian CfA, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
4 Excellence Cluster Universe, Boltzmannstr. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
5 UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ, UK
6 Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
7 Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA), Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ, UK
8 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S3 7RH, UK
9 Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
10 Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0HA, UK
11 Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG, Northern Ireland, UK
12 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía-CSIC, Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, 18008 Granada, Spain
13 Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC, Utrecht, The Netherlands
14 Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kohn Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
15 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
16 Max-Planck Intitut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 1, 87548 Garching bei München, Germany
Received: 12 May 2011
Accepted: 12 April 2012
Whether massive stars (≳30 M⊙) can occasionally form in relative isolation (e.g. in clusters with M < 100 M⊙) or if they require a large cluster of lower-mass stars around them is a key test in the differentiation of star-formation theories as well as how the initial mass function of stars is sampled. Previous attempts to find O-type stars that formed in isolation were hindered by the possibility that such stars are merely runaways from clusters, i.e., their current isolation does not reflect their birth conditions. We introduce a new method to find O-type stars that are not affected by such a degeneracy. Using the VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey and additional high resolution imaging we have identified stars that satisfy the following constraints: 1) they are O-type stars that are not detected to be part of a binary system based on radial velocity (RV) time series analysis; 2) they are designated spectral type O7 or earlier; 3) their velocities are within 1σ of the mean of OB-type stars in the 30 Doradus region, i.e. they are not runaways along our line-of-sight; 4) the projected surface density of stars does not increase within 3 pc towards the O-star (no evidence for clusters); 5) their sight lines are associated with gaseous and/or dusty filaments in the interstellar medium (ISM); and 6) if a second candidate is found in the direction of the same filament with which the target is associated, both are required to have similar velocities. With these criteria, we have identified 15 stars in the 30 Doradus region, which are strong candidates for being high-mass stars that have formed in isolation. Additionally, we employed extensive Monte Carlo stellar cluster simulations to confirm that our results rule out the presence of clusters around the candidates. Eleven of these are classified as Vz stars, possibly associated with the zero-age main sequence. We include a newly discovered Wolf-Rayet star as a candidate, although it does not meet all of the above criteria.
Key words: stars: formation / stars: massive / open clusters and associations: individual: 30 Doradus / stars: early-type
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012
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