Massive Star Research Research Group Leader’s Comments Dr. Don Figer




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Massive Star Research

Research Group Leader’s Comments

Dr. Don Figer

Overview

During this year, the astronomers involved with the Massive Star research project have proposed and won observation time targeting young stellar clusters throughout the Galaxy. The Milky Way study project group meets on a weekly basis to plan and discuss their scientific research. The goals of the project are to discover the majority of the massive stars in the Galaxy. With this sample, we plan to identify the most massive star in the Galaxy and define the upper limit to the masses of stars. During the year Ben Davies and Don Figer published their findings on newly discovered massive star clusters at the galactic center which provide the unique opportunity to study the pre-supernova evolution of massive stars, and the Blue- to Red-Supergiant ratio at uniform metallicity.



Research Staff

Ben Davies, Post Doctorate; PhD in Astrophysics, University of Leeds; M.S. in Physics, 2003; University of Leeds; B.A. in Physics with Astrophysics, 2003, University of Leeds

Don Figer, Director; PhD in Astronomy, UCLA, 1995; M.S.in Astronomy, University of Chicago, 1992; B.A. in Physics, Math, Astronomy, Northwestern University, 1989

Lucy Hadfield, Post Doctorate; PhD in Astrophysics, University of Sheffield, 2006; MPhys in Physics with Astronomy, 2003

Zoltan Makai, Data Analyst; B.S.in Astronomy, University of Szeged, 2006

Maria Messineo, Post Doctorate; PhD in Astronomy, Leiden University, 2004; M.S. in Astronomy, Bologna University, 1997

Christine Trombley, Data Analyst; B.S. in Astrophysics and Physics, Michigan State University, 2007

Quingfeng Zhu, Post Doctorate; PhD in Astrophysics, University of Texas, 2006; M.S. Astrophysics, University of Science and Technology of China, 1999; B.S. in Physics, University of Science and Technology of China, 1996



New and current grants/contracts

    • The Pre-Supernova Mass-Loss of RSGs, Aug07-July10, $80,885

    • The Most Massive Stars, Feb06-Feb09, $795,528

    • Massive Star Clusters, Aug06-Sept08, $30,000

    • Mid-infrared spectroscopy of Luminous Blue Variables, $21,812


Selected Publications




Dr. Ben Davies was the lead researcher who discovered two “supernova factories”, rare clusters of Red Supergiant (RSG) stars, located in the Galactic Bar of the Milky Way. This image is a color composite of Cluster 1. Blue represents hot interstellar gas, stars show up as green and hot dust shows as red. The RSGs are the bright stars in the center.
Campbell, M.F., Sridharan, T.K., Beuther, H., Lacy, J.H., Hora, J.L., Zhu, Q., Kassis, M., Saito, M., DeBuizer, J.M., Fung, S.H., Johnson, L.C., 2008. Mid-Infrared Photometry and Spectra of Three High-Mass Protostellar Candidates at IRAS 18151-1208 and IRAS 20343+4129, AAS, 673, 954

Davies, B., Figer, D., Kudritzki, R. P., MacKenty, J., Law, C. J., Najarro, F., and Herrero, A. 2008. The Scutum Red Supergiant Clusters, Conference proceedings, Massive Stars as Cosmic Engines, IAU Symp 250, ed. F. Bresolin, P. A. Crowther, & J. Puls (Cambridge Univ. Press), in press

Davies, B., Figer, D., Kudritzki, R. P., MacKenty, J., Law, C. J., Najarro, F., and Herrero, A. 2007. A massive cluster of Red Supergiants at the base of the Scutum-Crux arm, ApJ 671, 781

Davies, B., Figer, D. F., Law, C. J., Kudritzki, R. P., Najarro, F., Herrero, A., and MacKenty, J. 2007. The cool supergiant population of the massive young star cluster RSGC1, ApJ, 676, 1016

Davies B., Oudmaijer R.D. & Sato K.C., 2007: Integral-Field Spectroscopy of the Post Red Supergiant IRC +10420: evidence for an axi-symmetric wind, ApJ, 671, 2059

Davies B., Vink J.S. & Oudmaijer R.D., 2007, Modelling the clumping-induced polarimetric variability of hot star winds, A&A 469, 1045D

Figer, D. 2008. Massive Star Formation in the Galactic Center, STScI May Symposium

Figer, D. 2008. Young Massive Clusters, Conference proceedings, Massive Stars as Cosmic Engines, IAU Symp 250, ed. F. Bresolin, P. A. Crowther, & J. Puls (Cambridge Univ. Press), in press






A ghostly ring stretches seven light-years around the corpse of a massive star called SGR 1900+14, as seen by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. This "stellar corpse'' is actually a magnetar, which still slowly pulsates with X-rays and continues to have a super-strong magnetic pull. Dr. Don Figer was a co-author on the study that was reported in the May 2008 publication of Nature.
Herrero, A., Marin-Franch, A., Lenorzer, A., Font, A., Najarro, F., Figer, D., and Davies, B. 2008. THE MASGOMAS PROJECT: A Spectroscopic Study of G61.48+0.09, Conference proceedings, Massive Stars as Cosmic Engines, IAU Symp 250, ed. F. Bresolin, P. A. Crowther, & J. Puls (Cambridge Univ. Press), in press

Mercer, A., Chizek, M., Lang, C. C., Figer, D. F., & Najarro, P 2007. High Resolution Radio Observations of the Nebulae of Luminous Blue Variable Stars, AAS, 101

Messineo, M. and Figer, D. 2008. Candidate Massive Galactic Stellar Clusters, Conference proceedings, Massive Stars as Cosmic Engines, IAU Symp 250, ed. F. Bresolin, P. A. Crowther, & J. Puls (Cambridge Univ. Press), in press

Patel M., Oudmaijer R.D., Vink J.S., Bjorkman J.E., Davies B., Groenewegen M.A.T., Miroshnichenko A.S. & Mottram J.C., 2008. Spectropolarimetry of the massive post-Red Supergiants IRC +10420 and HD 179821, MNRAS 385, 967

Slawson, R. W., Ninkov, Z., Horch, E. P., 2007. The stellar mass spectrum of the open cluster NGC 3293, Ap & SS, 312, 171

Zhu, Q., Kudritzki, R. P., Figer, D. F., Najarro, F., & Merritt, D. 2008. Radial Velocities of Stars in the Galactic Center, ApJ, in press



Zhu, Q., Lacy, J. H., Jaffe, D. T., Richter, M. J., & Greathouse, T. K. 2008. [NeII] Observations of Gas Motions in Compact and Ultracompact HII Regions, ApJ Supplement, in press


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