The role of evolutionary age and metallicity in the formation of classical Be circumstellar disks. I. New candidate Be stars in the LMC, SMC, and Milky Way.
WISNIEWSKI J.P. and BJORKMAN K.S.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present B, V, R, and Hα photometry of eight clusters in the Small Magellanic Cloud, five in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and three Galactic clusters and use two-color diagrams (2-CDs) to identify candidate Be star populations in these clusters. We find evidence that the Be phenomenon is enhanced in low-metallicity environments, based on the observed fractional early-type candidate Be star content of clusters of age 10-25 Myr. Numerous candidate Be stars of spectral types B0-B5 were identified in clusters of age 5-8 Myr, challenging the suggestion of Fabregat & Torrejon that classical Be stars should only be found in clusters at least 10 Myr old. These results suggest that a significant number of B-type stars must emerge onto the zero-age main sequence as rapid rotators. We also detect an enhancement in the fractional content of early-type candidate Be stars in clusters of age 10-25 Myr, suggesting that the Be phenomenon does become more prevalent with evolutionary age. We briefly discuss the mechanisms that might contribute to such an evolutionary effect. A discussion of the limitations of using the 2-CD technique to investigate the role evolutionary age and/or metallicity play in the development of the Be phenomenon is offered, and we provide evidence that other B-type objects of very different nature, such as candidate Herbig Ae/Be stars, may contaminate the claimed detections of Be stars via 2-CDs.