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An updated stellar census of the Quintuplet cluster

Clark, J. S.; Lohr, M. E.; Patrick, L. R.; Najarro, F.; Dong, H. and Figer, D. F. (2018). An updated stellar census of the Quintuplet cluster. Astronomy & Astrophysics (Early Access).

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The Quintuplet is one of the most massive galactic clusters known, but appears to host a diverse stellar population that is difficult to reconcile with an instantaneous formation event. We present HST photometry and VLT spectroscopy in order to improve observational constraints, finding the Quintuplet to be far more homogeneous than previously thought. O7-8 Ia and O9-B0 Ia supergiants form a smooth morphological sequence with a cohort of seven early-B hypergiants and six luminous blue variables and WN9-11h stars, which together comprise the richest population of such stars of any known stellar aggregate. No further H-free Wolf-Rayets were found, resulting in a 13:1 ratio for WC/WN stars. However a small population of late-O hypergiants and WN8-9ha stars was identified, while a subset of the supergiants are unexpectedly faint, suggesting they are both less massive and older than the greater cluster population. We find an impressive coincidence between cluster members preceding the H-free WR phase and the evolutionary predictions for a 60Msun star, suggesting an age of ~3.0-3.6Myr for the Quintuplet. Neither the late-O hypergiants nor the low luminosity supergiants are predicted; we suggest that the former either result from rapid rotators or are the products of binary driven mass-stripping, while the latter may be interlopers. The H-free WRs must have had initial masses >60Msun, but it is difficult to reconcile their observational properties with theoretical expectations. Since the WRs represent an evolutionary phase directly preceding core-collapse, they are are crucial to understanding both this process and the nature of the resultant relativistic remnants, providing unique constraints on the evolution and death of the most massive stars forming in the local, high metallicity Universe.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 ESO
ISSN: 1432-0746
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
STFC Astronomy consolidated grantNot SetSTFC
Keywords: stars:evolution; stars:early type; stars:binary; (Galaxy:) open clusters and associations: individual: Quintuplet
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Astronomy
Item ID: 55329
Depositing User: J. Simon Clark
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2018 10:26
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2018 13:57
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