12 New Galactic Wolf-Rayet Stars Identified via 2MASS+Spitzer/GLIMPSE

Jon Mauerhan, Schuyler Van Dyk, Pat Morris

IPAC, Caltech

We report new results from our effort to identify obscured Wolf-Rayet stars in the Galaxy. Candidates were selected by their near-infrared (2MASS) and mid-infrared (Spitzer/GLIMPSE) color excesses, which are consistent with free-free emission from ionized stellar winds and thermal excess from hot dust. We have confirmed 12 new Wolf-Rayet stars in the Galactic disk, including 9 of the nitrogen subtype (WN), and 3 of the carbon subtype (WC); this raises the total number of Wolf-Rayet stars discovered with our approach to 27. We classify one of the new stars as a possible dust-producing WC9d+OBI colliding-wind binary, as evidenced by an infrared excess resembling that of known WC9d stars, the detection of OBI features superimposed on the WC9 spectrum, and hard X-ray emission detected by XMM-Newton. A WC8 star in our sample appears to be a member of the stellar cluster Danks 1, in contrast to the rest of the confirmed Wolf-Rayet stars that generally do not appear to reside within dense stellar clusters. Either the majority of the stars are runaways from clusters, or they formed in relative isolation. We briefly discuss prospects for the expansion and improvement of the search for Wolf-Rayet stars throughout the Milky Way Galaxy.

Reference: PASP, in press
Status: Manuscript has been accepted

Weblink: http://arxiv.org/abs/0905.2443


Email: mauerhan@ipac.caltech.edu