Hunting for runaway stars

29 Dec

In this astrometric program we use the unique capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the proper motions of stars in the 30 Doradus region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Here we present the first epoch of observations, a 16’x13’ mosaic of the data.

Selma E. de Mink, Elena Sabbi, Jay Anderson, Daniel J. Lennon, (PI), Sangmo Tony Sohn, Roeland P. van der Marel, Nolan R. Walborn, Nate Bastian, Luigi R. Bedin, Eli Bressert, Paul A. Crowther, Chris J. Evans, Artemio Herrero, Norbert Langer, Imants Platais, Alex de Koter, & Hugues Sana.

Poster design: Erik Buunk.  Presented at the poster exposition at the AAS meeting in Austin, January 2012.

The main science drivers are to

  • investigate the nature of apparently isolated massive stars
  • identify runaway stars and their point of origin.

In particular, we are interested in stars ejected from the star cluster R136. This cluster is one of the most massive and dense clusters known and is an ideal test-bed for models of dynamical interaction, cluster ejection, runaway stellar collisions and mergers (Portegies Zwart et al. 1999, Gvaramadze & Gualandris 2011).
These data will be combined with results from the recently completed VLT- FLAMES Tarantula Survey (Evans et al. 2011), a multi-epoch spectroscopic survey of ~800 OB stars in the same region, in an attempt to unravel the nature of these stars.