The Massive Star Population of Cygnus OB2

Nicholas J. Wright, Janet E. Drew, Michael Mohr-Smith

Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire

We have compiled a significantly updated and comprehensive census of massive stars in the nearby Cygnus OB2 association by gathering and homogenising data from across the literature. The census contains 169 primary OB stars, including 52 O-type stars and 3 Wolf-Rayet stars. Spectral types and photometry are used to place the stars in a Hertzprung-Russell diagram, which is compared to both non-rotating and rotating stellar evolution models, from which stellar masses and ages are calculated. The star formation history and mass function of the association are assessed, and both are found to be heavily influenced by the evolution of the most massive stars to their end states. We find that the mass function of the most massive stars is consistent with a `universal' power-law slope of $Gamma = 1.3$. The age distribution inferred from stellar evolutionary models with rotation and the mass function suggest the majority of star formation occurred more or less continuously between 1 and 7~Myr ago, in agreement with studies of low- and intermediate mass stars in the association. We identify a nearby young pulsar and runaway O-type star that may have originated in Cyg~OB2 and suggest that the association has already seen its first supernova. Finally we use the census and mass function to calculate the total mass of the association of $16500^{+3800}_{-2800}$~M$_odot$, at the low end, but consistent with, previous estimates of the total mass of Cyg~OB2. Despite this Cyg~OB2 is still one of the most massive groups of young stars known in our Galaxy making it a prime target for studies of star formation on the largest scales.

Reference: MNRAS, accepted
Status: Manuscript has been accepted