Astrophys. J., 719, 1784-1795 (2010/August-3)
Yellow supergiants in the Small Magellanic Cloud: putting current evolutionary theory to the test.
NEUGENT K.F., MASSEY P., SKIFF B., DROUT M.R., MEYNET G. and OLSEN K.A.G.
Abstract (from CDS):
The yellow supergiant content of nearby galaxies provides a critical test of massive star evolutionary theory. While these stars are the brightest in a galaxy, they are difficult to identify because a large number of foreground Milky Way stars have similar colors and magnitudes. We previously conducted a census of yellow supergiants within M31 and found that the evolutionary tracks predict a yellow supergiant duration an order of magnitude longer than we observed. Here we turn our attention to the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), where the metallicity is 10x lower than that of M31, which is important as metallicity strongly affects massive star evolution. The SMC's large radial velocity (∼160 km/s) allows us to separate members from foreground stars. Observations of ∼500 candidates yielded 176 near-certain SMC supergiants, 16 possible SMC supergiants, along with 306 foreground stars, and provide good relative numbers of yellow supergiants down to 12 M☉. Of the 176 near-certain SMC supergiants, the kinematics predicted by the Besanon model of the Milky Way suggest a foreground contamination of ≤4%. After placing the SMC supergiants on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (HRD) and comparing our results to the Geneva evolutionary tracks, we find results similar to those of the M31 study: while the locations of the stars on the HRD match the locations of evolutionary tracks well, the models overpredict the yellow supergiant lifetime by a factor of 10. Uncertainties about the mass-loss rates on the main sequence thus cannot be the primary problem with the models.
galaxies: individual: SMC - galaxies: stellar content - Magellanic Clouds - stars: evolution - supergiants
VizieR on-line data:
<Available at CDS (J/ApJ/719/1784): table1.dat table2.dat table3.dat refs.dat>
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