References of "De Becker, Michaël"
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See detailA radio-map of the colliding winds in the very massive binary system HD93129A
Benaglia, Paula; Marcote, Benito; Moldon, Javier et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (in press)

Radio observations are an effective tool to discover particle acceleration regions in colliding-wind binaries, through detection of synchrotron radiation; these regions are natural laboratories for the ... [more ▼]

Radio observations are an effective tool to discover particle acceleration regions in colliding-wind binaries, through detection of synchrotron radiation; these regions are natural laboratories for the study of relativistic particles.Wind-collision region (WCR) models can reproduce the radio continuum spectra of massive binaries that contain both thermal and non-thermal radio emission; however, key constraints for models come from high-resolution imaging. Only five WCRs have been resolved to date at radio frequencies at milliarcsec (mas) angular scales. The source HD93129A, prototype of the very few known O2 I stars, is a romising target for study: recently, a second massive, early-type star about 50 mas away was discovered, and a non-thermal radio source detected in the region. Preliminary long-baseline array data suggest that a significant fraction of the radio emission from the system comes from a putative WCR. We sought evidence that HD93129A is a massive binary system with colliding stellar winds that produce non-thermal radiation, through spatially resolved images of the radio emitting regions. Methods.We completed observations with the Australian Long Baseline Array (LBA) to resolve the system at mas angular resolutions and reduced archival Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) data to derive the total radio emission. We also compiled optical astrometric data of the system in a homogeneous way. We reduced historical Hubble Space Telescope data and obtained absolute and relative astrometry with milliarcsec accuracy. The astrometric analysis leads us to conclude that the two stars in HD93129A form a gravitationally bound system. The LBA data reveal an extended arc-shaped non-thermal source between the two stars, indicative of a WCR. The wind momentum-rate ratio of the two stellar winds is estimated. The ATCA data show a point source with a change in flux level between 2003-4 and 2008-9, that is modeled with a non-thermal power-law spectrum with spectral indices of - 1:03 +/- 0:09 and -1:21 +/- 0:03 respectively. The mass-loss rates derived from the deduced thermal radio emission and from the characteristics of the WCR are consistent with estimates derived by other authors. [less ▲]

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See detailTentative insight into the multiplicity of the persistent dust maker WR 106 from X-ray observations
De Becker, Michaël ULg

in New Astronomy (2015), 41

This paper presents the results of the analysis of the very first dedicated X-ray observation with XMM-Newton of WR 106. This carbon-rich WC9d Wolf–Rayet star belongs to the category of persistent dust ... [more ▼]

This paper presents the results of the analysis of the very first dedicated X-ray observation with XMM-Newton of WR 106. This carbon-rich WC9d Wolf–Rayet star belongs to the category of persistent dust makers (WCd stars). The issue of the multiplicity of these dust makers is pivotal to understand the dust formation process, and in this context X-ray observations may allow to reveal an X-ray emission attributable to colliding-winds in a binary system. The main result of this analysis is the lack of detection of X-rays coming from WR 106. Upper limits on the X-ray flux are estimated, but the derived numbers are not sufficient to provide compelling constraints on the existence or not of a colliding-wind region. Detailed inspection of archive data bases reveals that persistent dust makers have been poorly investigated by the most sensitive X-ray observatories. Certainly, the combination of several approaches to indirectly constrain their multiplicity should be applied to lift a part of the veil on the nature of these persistent dust makers. [less ▲]

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See detailLong-term XMM-Newton investigation of two particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries in NGC6604: HD168112 and HD167971
De Becker, Michaël ULg

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2015), 451(1), 5589-5599

The long-term (over more than one decade) X-ray emission from two massive stellar systems known to be particle accelerators is investigated using XMM-Newton. Their X-ray properties are interpreted taking ... [more ▼]

The long-term (over more than one decade) X-ray emission from two massive stellar systems known to be particle accelerators is investigated using XMM-Newton. Their X-ray properties are interpreted taking into account recent information about their multiplicity and orbital parameters. The two targets, HD168112 and HD167971 appear to be overluminous in X-rays, lending additional support to the idea that a significant contribution of the X-ray emission comes from colliding-wind regions. The variability of the X-ray flux from HD168112 is interpreted in terms of varying separation expected to follow the 1/D rule for adiabatic shocked winds. For HD167971, marginal decrease of the X-ray flux in September 2002 could tentatively be explained by a partial wind eclipse in the close pair. No long-term variability could be demonstrated despite the significant difference of separation between 2002 and 2014. This suggests the colliding-wind region in the wide orbit does not contribute a lot to the total X-ray emission, with a main contribution coming from the radiative shocked winds in the eclipsing pair. The later result provides evidence that shocks in a colliding-wind region may be efficient particle accelerators even in the absence of bright X-ray emission, suggesting particle acceleration may operate in a wide range of conditions. Finally, in hierarchical triple O-type systems, thermal X-rays do not necessarily constitute an efficient tracer to detect the wind-wind interaction in the long period orbit. [less ▲]

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See detailL'influence des conditions astrophysiques sur la chimie interstellaire
De Becker, Michaël ULg

Learning material (2015)

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See detailTowards an extension of the catalogue of particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries
De Becker, Michaël ULg

Conference (2015, May 05)

Particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries (PACWBs) constitute a class of massive stars known to be able to accelerate charged particles up to relativistic velocities. The latter property is identified ... [more ▼]

Particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries (PACWBs) constitute a class of massive stars known to be able to accelerate charged particles up to relativistic velocities. The latter property is identified mainly through the detection of synchrotron radiation in the radio domain, and in a few cases thanks to the detection of non-thermal radiation in the high energy domain. The catalogue of PACWBs contains about 40 objects, covering a wide parameter space in terms of stellar wind and orbital parameters. So far, there is no evidence for a strict criterion to justify the occurrence of a particle acceleration process only in a small fraction of the colliding-wind binaries population, admitting the possibility that it might be a frequent property among massive stars. In this contribution, I address the issue of the frequency of particle accelerators among massive binaries, and I discuss observation strategies aiming at identifying new members of the catalogue. [less ▲]

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See detailA spectroscopic investigation of the O-type star population in four Cygnus OB associations. II. Determination of the fundamental parameters
Mahy, Laurent ULg; Rauw, Grégor ULg; De Becker, Michaël ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 577

Aims: Having established the binary status of nineteen O-type stars located in four Cygnus OB associations, we now determine their fundamental parameters to constrain their properties and their ... [more ▼]

Aims: Having established the binary status of nineteen O-type stars located in four Cygnus OB associations, we now determine their fundamental parameters to constrain their properties and their evolutionary status. We also investigate their surface nitrogen abundances, which we compare with other results from the literature obtained for galactic O-type stars. Methods: Using optical spectra collected for each object in our sample and some UV data from the archives, we apply the CMFGEN atmosphere code to determine their main properties. For the binary systems, we have disentangled the components to obtain their individual spectra and investigate them as if they were single stars. Results: We find that the distances of several presumably single O-type stars seem poorly constrained because their luminosities are not in agreement with the "standard" luminosities of stars with similar spectral types. The ages of these O-type stars are all less than 7 Myr. Therefore, the ages of these stars agree with those, quoted in the literature, of the four associations, except for Cyg OB8 for which the stars seem older than the association itself. However, we point out that the distance of certain stars is debatable relative to values found in the literature. The N content of these stars put in perspective with N contents of several other galactic O-type stars seems to draw the same five groups as found in the "Hunter" diagram for the O and B-type stars in the LMC even though their locations are obviously different. We determine mass-loss rates for several objects from the Halpha line and UV spectra. Finally, we confirm the "mass discrepancy" especially for O stars with masses smaller than 30 Msun;. [less ▲]

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See detailSearch for magnetic fields in particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries
Neiner, C.; Grunhut, J.; Leroy, B. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 575

Some colliding-wind massive binaries, called particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries (PACWB), exhibit synchrotron radio emission, which is assumed to be generated by a stellar magnetic field ... [more ▼]

Some colliding-wind massive binaries, called particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries (PACWB), exhibit synchrotron radio emission, which is assumed to be generated by a stellar magnetic field. However, no measurement of magnetic fields in these stars has ever been performed. We aim at quantifying the possible stellar magnetic fields present in PACWB to provide constraints for models. We gathered 21 high-resolution spectropolarimetric observations of 9 PACWB available in the ESPaDOnS, Narval and HarpsPol archives. We analysed these observations with the least squares deconvolution method. We separated the binary spectral components when possible. No magnetic signature is detected in any of the 9 PACWB stars and all longitudinal field measurements are compatible with 0 G. We derived the upper field strength of a possible field that could have remained hidden in the noise of the data. While the data are not very constraining for some stars, for several stars we could derive an upper limit of the polar field strength of the order of 200 G. We can therefore exclude the presence of strong or moderate stellar magnetic fields in PACWB, typical of the ones present in magnetic massive stars. Weak magnetic fields could however be present in these objects. These observational results provide the first quantitative constraints for future models of PACWB. [less ▲]

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See detailV444 Cygni X-ray and polarimetric variability: Radiative and Coriolis forces shape the wind collision region
Lomax, J. R.; Nazé, Yaël ULg; Hoffman, J. L. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2015), 573

We present results from a study of the eclipsing, colliding-wind binary V444 Cyg that uses a combination of X-ray and optical spectropolarimetric methods to describe the 3D nature of the shock and wind ... [more ▼]

We present results from a study of the eclipsing, colliding-wind binary V444 Cyg that uses a combination of X-ray and optical spectropolarimetric methods to describe the 3D nature of the shock and wind structure within the system. We have created the most complete X-ray light curve of V444 Cyg to date using 40 ks of new data from Swift, and 200 ks of new and archived XMM-Newton observations. In addition, we have characterized the intrinsic, polarimetric phase-dependent behavior of the strongest optical emission lines using data obtained with the University of Wisconsin's Half-Wave Spectropolarimeter. We have detected evidence of the Coriolis distortion of the wind-wind collision in the X-ray regime, which manifests itself through asymmetric behavior around the eclipses in the system's X-ray light curves. The large opening angle of the X-ray emitting region, as well as its location (i.e. the WN wind does not collide with the O star, but rather its wind) are evidence of radiative braking/inhibition occurring within the system. Additionally, the polarimetric results show evidence of the cavity the wind-wind collision region carves out of the Wolf-Rayet star's wind. [less ▲]

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See detailExperimental astrochemistry: from ground-based to space-borne laboratories (Foreword)
De Becker, Michaël ULg; Cottin, Hervé; Fleury-Frenette, Karl ULg et al

in Bulletin de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liège (2015, January), 84(4-6),

The investigation of the origin and evolution of molecules in space environments, either in interstellar or interplanetary conditions, constitutes a topic of high importance in modern space sciences. The ... [more ▼]

The investigation of the origin and evolution of molecules in space environments, either in interstellar or interplanetary conditions, constitutes a topic of high importance in modern space sciences. The presence of diversified and complex molecules motivates astrochemists to explore their formation mechanisms along with the physical conditions ruling these physico-chemical processes. Beside theoretical approaches aiming at simulating these processes, experimental techniques are nowadays frequently applied. Both laboratory and space experiment projects allow to reproduce to some extent the adequate conditions to understand some of these processes. The most recent results based on these techniques, and the prospects for future investigations, including the use of space platforms, were the scientific motivation of this workshop. These proceedings summarize a part of the content of this workshop, including abundant references to the relevant bibliography. [less ▲]

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See detailMassive stars: privileged sources of cosmic-rays for interstellar astrochemistry
De Becker, Michaël ULg

in Bulletin de la Société Royale des Sciences de Liège (2015, January), 84

Massive stars can be considered as crucial engines for interstellar physics. They are indeed the main providers of UV radiation field, and constitute a substantial source of chemical enrichment. On their ... [more ▼]

Massive stars can be considered as crucial engines for interstellar physics. They are indeed the main providers of UV radiation field, and constitute a substantial source of chemical enrichment. On their evolution time-scale (at most about 10 Myr), they typically stay close to their formation site, i.e. close to molecular clouds very rich in interstellar molecules. These stellar objects have also the property to be involved in particle acceleration processes leading to the production of high energy charged particles (cosmic-rays). After rejection in the interstellar medium, these particles will play a substantial role in processes such as those simulated in various facilities dedicated to experimental astrochemistry. This short contribution intends to put these particles, crucial for astrochemistry, in their adequate astrophysical context. [less ▲]

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See detailThe XMM-Newton view of the yellow hypergiant IRC+10420 and its surroundings
De Becker, Michaël ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg; Gosset, Eric ULg

in New Astronomy (2014), 29

Among evolved massive stars likely in transition to the Wolf-Rayet phase, IRC +10420 is probably one of the most enigmatic. It belongs to the category of yellow hypergiants and it is characterized by ... [more ▼]

Among evolved massive stars likely in transition to the Wolf-Rayet phase, IRC +10420 is probably one of the most enigmatic. It belongs to the category of yellow hypergiants and it is characterized by quite high mass loss episodes. Even though IRC+10420 benefited of many observations in several wavelength domains, it has never been a target for an X-ray observatory. We report here on the very first dedicated observation of IRC+10420 in X-rays, using the XMM-Newton satellite. Even though the target is not detected, we derive X-ray flux upper limits of the order of 1–3 ×10−14 erg cm−2 s−1 (between 0.3 and 10.0 keV), and we discuss the case of IRC+10420 in the framework of emission models likely to be adequate for such an object. Using the Optical/UV Monitor on board XMM-Newton, we present the very first upper limits of the flux density of IRC +10420 in the UV domain (between 1800 and 2250 Å and between 2050 and 2450 Å). Finally, we also report on the detection in this field of 10 X-ray and 7 UV point sources, and we briefly discuss their properties and potential counterparts at longer wavelengths. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat is the role of the VLTI in the study of particle acceleration in massive binaries?
De Becker, Michaël ULg

Conference (2014, March 12)

Among massive binaries, a fraction is known to accelerate particles up to relativistic energies. The acceleration process is believed to take place in the wind-wind interaction region, and most of these ... [more ▼]

Among massive binaries, a fraction is known to accelerate particles up to relativistic energies. The acceleration process is believed to take place in the wind-wind interaction region, and most of these systems are identified through the production of synchrotron radiation in the radio domain. Considering the crucial role played by binarity in the physics of particle acceleration, tools such as the VLTI appear to be highly relevant to explore the basic properties of this population of objects. A few recent results and prospects for future studies will be briefly presented. [less ▲]

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See detailThe feedback of massive stars on interstellar astrochemical processes
De Becker, Michaël ULg

in Astrophysics & Space Science (2014), 350(1), 237-243

Astrochemistry is a discipline that studies physico-chemical processes in astrophysical environments. Such environments are characterized by conditions that are substantially different from those existing ... [more ▼]

Astrochemistry is a discipline that studies physico-chemical processes in astrophysical environments. Such environments are characterized by conditions that are substantially different from those existing in usual chemical laboratories. Models which aim to explain the formation of molecular species in interstellar environments must take into account various factors, including many that are directly, or indirectly related to the populations of massive stars in galaxies. The aim of this paper is to review the influence of massive stars, whatever their evolution stage, on the physico-chemical processes at work in interstellar environments. These influences include the ultraviolet radiation field, the production of high energy particles, the synthesis of radionuclides and the formation of shocks that permeate the interstellar medium. [less ▲]

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See detailWR 138: new results from X-ray and optical spectroscopy
Palate, Matthieu ULg; Rauw, Grégor ULg; De Becker, Michaël ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 560

Massive-binary evolution models predict that some systems will go through an evolutionary phase where the original primary has become a supernova and left a compact object behind that then orbits a Wolf ... [more ▼]

Massive-binary evolution models predict that some systems will go through an evolutionary phase where the original primary has become a supernova and left a compact object behind that then orbits a Wolf-Rayet (WR) star. WR 138 is an X-ray bright WR star that has been described as a triple system, including a compact companion in a short-period orbit. Our goal is to search for spectroscopic evidence of a compact companion around WR 138. We used optical and X-ray spectra to search for signatures of a compact companion, which can be revealed by systematic variations in WR optical spectral lines induced by orbital motion of the compact companion or by hard, luminous X-rays from accretion onto this companion. The optical spectra display emission-line profile variations that are most probably caused by clumps inside the stellar winds. The radial velocities do not vary on a short time-scale compatible with the suggested orbital period of a putative compact companion. The X-ray spectra are found to be normal for a WN5-6+OB system with no indication of accretion by a compact companion. There is no evidence for the presence of a compact companion, and we therefore conclude that WR 138 is a normal long-period (P ~ 1521 d) eccentric WR+OB system. [less ▲]

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See detailThe X-ray under-luminosity of the O-type supergiants HD16691 and HD14947 revealed by XMM-Newton
De Becker, Michaël ULg

in New Astronomy (2013), 25

The members of the scarce category of Of^+ supergiants present properties that are intermediate between regular O-stars and Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars. Significant similarities between these transitional stars ... [more ▼]

The members of the scarce category of Of^+ supergiants present properties that are intermediate between regular O-stars and Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars. Significant similarities between these transitional stars and WN-type objects are now clearly established, at least in the visible and near-infrared domains, pointing to common stellar wind properties. In this study, we report on the first dedicated X-ray observations of HD16691 (O4If^+) and HD14947 (O5f^+), revealing a soft thermal spectrum in agreement with the expected X-ray emission from a single O-type star. However, the X-ray luminosity of our targets is slightly lower than expected for single O-type stars, suggesting that the particular properties of their stellar wind has also a significant impact on the X-ray emission of these objects on the way to the WN category. We argue that the X-ray under-luminosity of HD16691 and HD14947 may be interpreted as the signature in X-rays of the intermediate stage between O and WR stars, as a consequence of enhanced wind density. [less ▲]

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See detailCatalogue of particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries
De Becker, Michaël ULg; Raucq, Françoise ULg

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 558

Massive systems made of two or more stars are known to be the site for interesting physical processes -- including at least in some cases -- particle acceleration. Over the past decade, this topic ... [more ▼]

Massive systems made of two or more stars are known to be the site for interesting physical processes -- including at least in some cases -- particle acceleration. Over the past decade, this topic motivated a particular effort to unveil the properties of these systems and characterize the circumstances responsible for the acceleration of particles and the potential role of pre-supernova massive stars in the production of high energy particles in our Galaxy. Although previous studies on this topic were mostly devoted to processes in general, or to a few individual objects in particular, a unified target-oriented census of particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries (hereafter PACWBs) does not exist yet. This paper aims at making a general and unified census of these systems, emphasizing their main properties. A general discussion includes energetic considerations along with wind properties in relation with non-thermal emission processes that are likely at work in colliding-wind binaries. Finally, some guidelines for future observational and theoretical studies are drawn. [less ▲]

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See detailRecent results on the hierarchical triple system HD 150136
Gosset, Eric ULg; Berger, J. P.; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

in Bonanos, Alceste (Ed.) Massive Stars: From alpha to Omega (2013, June 01)

HD 150136 is a hierarchical triple system, non-thermal radio emitter, made of three O stars totalling some 130 solar masses. The 2.67-day inner orbit is rather well-known. Recent works derived a good ... [more ▼]

HD 150136 is a hierarchical triple system, non-thermal radio emitter, made of three O stars totalling some 130 solar masses. The 2.67-day inner orbit is rather well-known. Recent works derived a good approximation for the outer orbit with a period of 3000 days. We report here on interferometric observations that allow us to angularly resolve the outer orbit. First evidences for an astrometric displacement are given. The determination of the outer system orbit gives access to the inclinations of the systems and to the masses, including the one of the O3-O3.5 primary star. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Hot and Energetic Universe: Star formation and evolution
Sciortino, S.; Rauw, Grégor ULg; Audard, M. et al

Report (2013)

Stars over a wide range of masses and evolutionary stages are nowadays known to emit X-rays. This X-ray emission is a unique probe of the most energetic phenomena occurring in the circumstellar ... [more ▼]

Stars over a wide range of masses and evolutionary stages are nowadays known to emit X-rays. This X-ray emission is a unique probe of the most energetic phenomena occurring in the circumstellar environment of these stars, and provides precious insight on magnetic phenomena or hydrodynamic shocks. Owing to its large collecting area, Athena+ will open up an entirely new window on these phenomena. Indeed, Athena+ will not only allow us to study many more objects with an unprecedented spectral resolution, but will also pioneer the study of the dynamics of these objects via time-resolved high-resolution spectroscopy. In this way, Athena+ will be a unique tool to study accretion processes in TTauri stars, flaring activity in young stars, dynamos in ultra-cool dwarfs, small and large-scale structures in the winds of single massive stars, wind interactions in massive binary systems, hot bubbles in planetary nebula... All these studies will lead to a deeper understanding of yet poorly understood processes which have profound impact in star and planetary system formation as well as in feedback processes on Galactic scale. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Hot and Energetic Universe: A White Paper presenting the science theme motivating the Athena+ mission
Nandra, Kirpal; Barret, Didier; Barcons, Xavier et al

Report (2013)

This White Paper, submitted to the recent ESA call for science themes to define its future large missions, advocates the need for a transformational leap in our understanding of two key questions in ... [more ▼]

This White Paper, submitted to the recent ESA call for science themes to define its future large missions, advocates the need for a transformational leap in our understanding of two key questions in astrophysics: 1) How does ordinary matter assemble into the large scale structures that we see today? 2) How do black holes grow and shape the Universe? Hot gas in clusters, groups and the intergalactic medium dominates the baryonic content of the local Universe. To understand the astrophysical processes responsible for the formation and assembly of these large structures, it is necessary to measure their physical properties and evolution. This requires spatially resolved X-ray spectroscopy with a factor 10 increase in both telescope throughput and spatial resolving power compared to currently planned facilities. Feedback from supermassive black holes is an essential ingredient in this process and in most galaxy evolution models, but it is not well understood. X-ray observations can uniquely reveal the mechanisms launching winds close to black holes and determine the coupling of the energy and matter flows on larger scales. Due to the effects of feedback, a complete understanding of galaxy evolution requires knowledge of the obscured growth of supermassive black holes through cosmic time, out to the redshifts where the first galaxies form. X-ray emission is the most reliable way to reveal accreting black holes, but deep survey speed must improve by a factor ~100 over current facilities to perform a full census into the early Universe. The Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics (Athena+) mission provides the necessary performance (e.g. angular resolution, spectral resolution, survey grasp) to address these questions and revolutionize our understanding of the Hot and Energetic Universe. These capabilities will also provide a powerful observatory to be used in all areas of astrophysics. [less ▲]

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See detailThree-dimensional orbits of the triple-O stellar system HD 150136
Sana, H.; Le Bouquin, J.-B.; Mahy, Laurent et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 553

Context. HD 150136 is a triple hierarchical system and a non-thermal radio emitter. It is formed by an O3-3.5 V + O5.5-6 V close binary and a more distant O6.5-7 V tertiary. So far, only the inner orbital ... [more ▼]

Context. HD 150136 is a triple hierarchical system and a non-thermal radio emitter. It is formed by an O3-3.5 V + O5.5-6 V close binary and a more distant O6.5-7 V tertiary. So far, only the inner orbital properties have been reliably constrained. Aims. To quantitatively understand the non-thermal emission process, accurate knowledge of the physical and orbital properties of the object is crucial. Here, we aim to investigate the orbital properties of the wide system and to constrain the inclinations of the inner and outer binaries, and with these the absolute masses of the system components. Methods. We used the PIONIER combiner at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer to obtain the very first interferometric measurements of HD 150136. We combined the interferometric observations with new and existing high resolution spectroscopic data to derive the orbital solution of the outer companion in the three-dimensional space. Results. The wide system is clearly resolved by PIONIER, with a projected separation on the plane of the sky of about 9 milli-arcsec. The best-fit orbital period, eccentricity, and inclination are 8.2 yr, 0.73 and 108 degr. We constrain the masses of the three stars of the system to 63 +/- 10, 40 +/- 6, and 33 +/- 12 Msun for the O3-3.5 V, O5.5-6 V and O6.5-7 V components. Conclusions. The dynamical masses agree within errors with the evolutionary masses of the components. Future interferometric and spectroscopic monitoring of HD 150136 should allow one to reduce the uncertainties to a few per cent only and to accurately constrain the distance to the system. This makes HD 150136 an ideal system to quantitatively test evolutionary models of high-mass stars as well as the physics of non-thermal processes occurring in O-type systems. [less ▲]

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