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A near-infrared survey for galactic Wolf-Rayet stars

  • Nicole L. Homeier (a1), Robert D. Blum (a2), Peter S. Conti (a3), Anna Pasquali (a4) and Augusto Damineli (a5)...

Abstract

Most of the Milky Way's evolved massive stellar population is hidden from view. We can attempt to remedy this situation with near-infrared observations, and in this paper we present our method for detecting Wolf-Rayet stars in highly extincted regions and apply it to the inner Galaxy. Using narrow-band filters at K-band wavelengths, we demonstrate how WR stars can be detected in regions where they are optically obscured. Candidates are selected for spectroscopic follow-up from our relative line and continuum photometry. The final results of applying this method with a near-IR survey in the Galactic plane will provide a more complete knowledge of the structure of the galactic disk, the role of metallicity in massive stellar evolution, and environments of massive star formation. In this paper we briefly describe the survey set-up and report on recent progress. We have discovered four emission-line objects in the inner Galaxy: two with nebular emission lines, and two new WR stars, both of late WC subtype.

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Copyright

References

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Blum, R.D., Damineli, A. 1999, in: van der Hucht, K. A., Koenigsberger, G. & Eenens, P.R.J. (eds.), Wolf-Rayet Phenomena in Massive Stars and Starburst Galaxies, Proc. IAU Symp. No. 193 (San Francisco: ASP), p. 472.
Figer, D.F., McLean, I.S., Morris, M. 1999, ApJ 514, 202.
Homeier, N.L., Blum, R.D., Conti, P.S., Damineli, A. 2000 AAS, 197.0412.
Homeier, N.L., Blum, R.D., Conti, P.S., Damineli, A. 2003, A&A 397, 585.
van der Hucht, K.A. 2001, New Astron. Reviews 45, 135.

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