The massive star binary fraction in young open clusters - II. NGC 6611 (Eagle Nebula)

H. Sana [1,2], E. Gosset [3], C.J. Evans [4]

1. European Southern Observatory, Chile
2. Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3. Liege University, Belgium
4. UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, UK

Based on a set of over 100 medium- to high-resolution optical spectra collected from 2003 to 2009, we investigate the properties of the O-type star population in NGC 6611 in the core of the Eagle Nebula (M16). Using a much more extended data set than previously available, we revise the spectral classification and multiplicity status of the nine O-type stars in our sample. We confirm two suspected binaries and derive the first SB2 orbital solutions for two systems. We further report that two other objects are displaying a composite spectrum, suggesting possible long-period binaries. Our analysis is supported by a set of Monte-Carlo simulations, allowing us to estimate the detection biases of our campaign and showing that the latter do not affect our conclusions. The absolute minimal binary fraction in our sample is f_min=0.44 but could be as high as 0.67 if all the binary candidates are confirmed. As in NGC 6231 (see Paper I), up to 75% of the O star population in NGC 6611 are found in an O+OB system, thus implicitly excluding random pairing from a classical IMF as a process to describe the companion association in massive binaries. No statistical difference could be further identified in the binary fraction, mass-ratio and period distributions between NGC 6231 and NGC 6611, despite the difference in age and environment of the two clusters.

Reference: MNRAS
Status: Manuscript has been accepted