Detection of Magnetic Massive Stars in the Open Cluster NGC 3766

M. Virginia McSwain

Lehigh University

A growing number of observations indicate that magnetic fields are present among a small fraction of massive O- and B-type stars, yet the origin of these fields remains unclear. Here we present the results of a VLT/FORS1 spectropolarimetric survey of 15 B-type members of the open cluster NGC 3766. We have detected two magnetic B stars in the cluster, including one with a large field of nearly 2 kG, and we find marginal detections of two additional stars. There is no correlation between the observed longitudinal field strengths and the projected rotational velocity, suggesting that a dynamo origin for the fields is unlikely. We also use the Oblique Dipole Rotator model to simulate populations of magnetic stars with uniform or slightly varying magnetic flux on the ZAMS. None of the models successfully reproduces our observed range in $B_ell$ and the expected number of field detections, and we rule out a purely fossil origin for the observed fields.

Reference: ApJ in press, astro-ph/0807.1932
Status: Manuscript has been accepted