Yellow and Red Supergiants in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Kathryn F. Neugent, Philip Massey, Brian Skiff, Georges Meynet

Lowell Observatory, Lowell Observatory, Lowell Observatory, Geneva University

Due to their transitionary nature, yellow supergiants provide a critical challenge for evolutionary modeling. Previous studies within M31 and the SMC show that the Geneva evolutionary models do a poor job at predicting the lifetimes of these short-lived stars. Here we extend this study to the LMC while also investigating the galaxy's red supergiant content. This task is complicated by contamination by Galactic foreground stars that color and magnitude criteria alone cannot weed out. Therefore, we use proper motions and the LMC's large systemic radial velocity (~278 km/s) to separate out these foreground dwarfs. After observing nearly 2,000 stars, we identified 317 probable yellow supergiants, 6 possible yellow supergiants and 505 probable red supergiants. Foreground contamination of our yellow supergiant sample was ~80%, while that of the the red supergiant sample was only 3%. By placing the yellow supergiants on the H-R diagram and comparing them against the evolutionary tracks, we find that new Geneva evolutionary models do an exemplary job at predicting both the locations and the lifetimes of these transitory objects.

Reference: Accepted for publication in the ApJ
Status: Manuscript has been accepted