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A VLT/FLAMES survey for massive binaries in Westerlund 1: II. Dynamical constraints on magnetar progenitor masses from the eclipsing binary W13

Ritchie, B. W.; Clark, J. S.; Negueruela, I. and Langer, N. (2010). A VLT/FLAMES survey for massive binaries in Westerlund 1: II. Dynamical constraints on magnetar progenitor masses from the eclipsing binary W13. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 520, article no. A48.

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Context. Westerlund 1 is a young, massive Galactic starbust cluster that contains a rich coeaval population of Wolf-Rayet stars, hot- and cool-phase transitional supergiants, and a magnetar.

Aims. We use spectroscopic and photometric observations of the eclipsing double-lined binary W13 to derive dynamical masses for the two compnents, in order to determine limits for the progenitor masses of the magnetar CXOU J164710.2-455216 and the population of evolved stars in Wd1.

Methods. We use eleven epochs of high-resolution VLT/FLAMES spectroscopy to construct a radial velocity curve for W13. R-band photometry is used to constrain the inclination of the system.

Results. W13 has an orbital period of $9.27090\pm0015$ days and near-contact configuration. The shallow photometric eclipse rules out an inclination greater than 65°, leading to lower limits for the masses of the emission-line optical primary and supergiant optical secondary of $21.4\pm2.6M_{\odot}$ and $32.8\pm4.0M_{\odot}$ respectively, rising to $23.2_{-3.0}^{+3.3}M_{\odot}$ and $35.4_{-4.6}^{+5.0}M_{\odot}$ for our best-fit inclination $62_{-4}^{+3}$ degrees. Comparison with theoretical models of Wolf-Rayet binary evolution suggest the emission-line object had an initial mass in excess of $\sim35M_{\odot}$, with the most likely model featuring highly non-conservative late-Case A/Case B mass transfer and an initial mass in excess of $40M_{\odot}$.

Conclusions. This result confirms the high progenitor mass of the magnetar CXOU J164710.2-455216 inferred from its membership in Wd1, and represents the first dynamical constraint on the progenitor mass of any magnetar. The red supergiants in Wd1 must have similar progenitor masses to W13 and are therefore amongst the most massive stars to undergo a red supergiant phase, representing a challenge for population models that suggest stars in this mass range end their redwards evolution as yellow hypergiants.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 ESO
ISSN: 1432-0746
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetRCUK (Research Councils UK)
Extra Information: 7 pp.
Keywords: stars; evolution of stars; supergiants; W13; magnetars; binaries
Academic Unit/Department: Science > Physical Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Item ID: 22983
Depositing User: Colin Smith
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2010 13:44
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2016 21:18
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