Volume 619, November 2018
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||09 November 2018|
Gaia DR2 reveals a very massive runaway star ejected from R136
ESA, European Space Astronomy Centre, Apdo. de Correos 78, Villanueva de la Cañada, 28691, Madrid, Spain
2 UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ, UK
3 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
5 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, 38200, La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
6 Departamento de Astrofísica, Universidad de La Laguna, 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
7 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
8 Institute of Astrophysics, KU Leuven, Celestijnlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
9 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
10 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Hicks Building, Hounsfield Road, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK
11 Argelander-Institüt für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
12 Vitrociset Belgium for ESA, European Space Astronomy Centre, Apdo. de Correos 78, 28691 Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain
13 Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH, UK
Accepted: 21 July 2018
A previous spectroscopic study identified the very massive O2 III star VFTS 16 in the Tarantula Nebula as a runaway star based on its peculiar line-of-sight velocity. We use the Gaia DR2 catalog to measure the relative proper motion of VFTS 16 and nearby bright stars to test if this star might have been ejected from the central cluster, R136, via dynamical ejection. We find that the position angle and magnitude of the relative proper motion (0.338±0.046 mas yr−1, or approximately 80±11 km s−1) of VFTS 16 are consistent with ejection from R136 approximately 1.5±0.2 Myr ago, very soon after the cluster was formed. There is some tension with the presumed age of VFTS 16 that, from published stellar parameters, cannot be greater than 0.9+0.3−0.2 Myr. Older ages for this star would appear to be prohibited due to the absence of He I lines in its optical spectrum, since this sets a firm lower limit on its effective temperature. The dynamical constraints may imply an unusual evolutionary history for this object, perhaps indicating it is a merger product. Gaia DR2 also confirms that another very massive star in the Tarantula Nebula, VFTS 72 (alias BI 253; O2 III-V(n)((f*)), is also a runaway on the basis of its proper motion as measured by Gaia. While its tangential proper motion (0.392±0.062 mas yr−1 or 93±15 km s−1) would be consistent with dynamical ejection from R136 approximately 1 Myr ago, its position angle is discrepant with this direction at the 2σ level. From their Gaia DR2 proper motions we conclude that the two ∼100 M⊙ O2 stars, VFTS 16 and VFTS 72, are fast runaway stars, with space velocities of around 100 km s−1 relative to R136 and the local massive star population. The dynamics of VFTS 16 are consistent with it having been ejected from R136, and this star therefore sets a robust lower limit on the age of the central cluster of ∼1.3 Myr.
Key words: stars: kinematics and dynamics / stars: massive / proper motions / Magellanic Clouds
© ESO 2018
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