Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 437, 247-255 (2005/7-1)
The origin of massive O-type field stars. II. Field O stars as runaways.
DE WIT W.J., TESTI L., PALLA F. and ZINNECKER H.
Abstract (from CDS):
In two papers we try to confirm that all Galactic high-mass stars are formed in a cluster environment, by excluding that O-type stars found in the Galactic field actually formed there. In de Wit et al. (2004A&A...425..937D
) we presented deep K-band imaging of 5arcmin fields centred on 43 massive O-type field stars that revealed that the large majority of these objects are single objects. In this contribution we explore the possibility that the field O stars are dynamically ejected from young clusters, by investigating their peculiar space velocity distribution, their distance from the Galactic plane, and their spatial vicinity to known young stellar clusters. We (re-)identify 22 field O-type stars as candidate runaway OB-stars. The statistics show that 4±2% of all O-type stars with V<8m
can be considered as formed outside a cluster environment. Most are spectroscopically single objects, some are visual binaries. The derived percentage for O-type stars that form isolated in the field based on our statistical analyses is in agreement with what is expected from calculations adopting a universal cluster richness distribution with power index of β=1.7, assuming that the cluster richness distribution is continuous down to the smallest clusters containing one single star.
stars: early-type - stars: formation - Galaxy: stellar content - stars: kinematics
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