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The O star hinterland of the Galactic starburst, NGC 3603


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The very bright and compact massive young cluster, NGC 3603, has been cited as an example of a starburst in the Milky Way and compared with the much-studied R136/30 Doradus region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Here we build on the discovery by Mohr-Smith et al. (2017) of a large number of reddened O stars around this cluster. We construct a list of 288 candidate O stars with proper motions, in a region of sky spanning 1.5 × 1.5 square degrees centered on NGC 3603, by cross-matching the Mohr-Smith et al. (2017) catalogue with Gaia DR2 (Gaia Collaboration et al. 2018). This provides the basis for a first comprehensive examination of the proper motions of these massive stars in the halo of NGC 3603, relative to the much better studied central region. We identify up to 11 likely O star ejections – 8 of which would have been ejected between 0.60 and 0.95 Myr ago (supporting the age of ~1 Myr that has been attributed to the bright cluster centre). Seven candidate ejections are arranged in a partial ring to the south of the cluster core spanning radii of 9–18 arcmin (18–36 pc if the cluster is 7 kpc away). We also show that the cluster has a halo of a further ~100 O stars extending to a radius of at least 5 arcmin, adding to the picture of NGC 3603 as a scaled down version of the R136/30 Dor region.


Wright. (2019). The O star hinterland of the Galactic starburst, NGC 3603. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1034-1044.

Acceptance Date Apr 4, 2019
Publication Date Jun 1, 2019
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 1034-1044
Keywords stars: early-type, (Galaxy:) open clusters and associations: NGC 3603, Galaxy: structure, surveys
Publisher URL


wright-2019-the-o-star-hinterland-of-the-galactic-starburst-ngc-3603.pdf (951 Kb)

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