The ionizing star clusters of giant H II regions in NGC 2403.
DRISSEN L., ROY J.-R., MOFFAT A.F.J. and SHARA M.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present the results of a study on the massive star population down to about MV~-3.1, or 12-15 M☉, of the most luminous giant H II regions in the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 2403, based on Hubble Space Telescope images and ground-based spectrograms. Particular emphasis is placed on the distribution of the Wolf-Rayet and red supergiant stars and the information they provide about the recent star-forming history of these large complexes. We find direct evidence for the presence of Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars in five of the six giant H II regions investigated; 25-40 WR stars are inferred for the sole NGC 2403-I giant H II region. Red supergiant (RSG) stars are mainly distributed over a more extended halo, while the young blue stars and most WR stars are in or close to a compact core. One appears to be seeing young cores of O and WR stars surrounded by older halos containing red supergiants. We propose a scenario in which RSG stars belonging to an early phase of star formation were followed by a more recent burst corresponding to a very blue mean sequence. Delayed trigger with preheating over several 100 pc by the first generation of massive stars allowed the build-up of the required confinement for the production of parsec-scale cluster cores with luminosity up to a few times 106L☉. Finally, we present some interesting objects found in the field of NGC 2403 outside the giant H II regions, such as field WR stars, globular clusters and background galaxies.
Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 2403 - ISM: H II Regions - Stars: Evolution - Stars: Wolf-Rayet