Lowell Observatory Colloquia

The Brief Lives of Massive Stars as Witnessed by Interferometry

Christian Hummel

USNO, March 28, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.

Massive stars present the newest and perhaps most challenging opportunity for long baseline interferometry to excel. Large distances require high angular resolution both to study the means of accreting enough mass in a short time and to split new-born multiples into their components for the determination of their fundamental parameters. Dust obscuration of young stellar objects require interferometry in the infrared, while post-mainsequence stellar phases require high-precision measurements to challenge stellar evolution models. I will summarize our work on a massive YSO in NGC 3603 including modeling mid-IR interferometric observations, as well as recent sub-mm imaging and spectroscopy with APEX. We find some evidence for a disk in the MIR, resolve multiple cores in the sub-mm with emission line spectra untypical for hot cores. I also report on the derivation of masses and luminosities of a massive O-type supergiant (Zeta Orionis) in another star forming region in Orion. The small radial velocity semi-amplitudes coupled with few usable (i.e. wind-free) lines have made this work very challenging and forced us to base the mass determination on a photometric distance estimate. As a rapidly evolving application of interferometry, massive stars have a bright future.

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