NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016B-0294

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Program Information for 2016B-0294


PI: William Chick, U. of Wyoming, wchick@uwyo.edu
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, Laramie, WY, 82071 USA

CoI: Henry Kobulnicky, U. of Wyoming
CoI: Matthew Povich, Cal Poly Pomona

Title: Characterization of Bowshock-Supporting Massive Runaway Stars

Abstract: A small but significant fraction of early-type massive stars have been observed to be high-velocity runaway stars moving rapidly away from their origin. When these stars encounter nebular gas they create arc-shaped shock fronts of heated and compressed gas and dust. Using the distinct infrared emission morphology of the warm dust, these bowshock nebulae have been shown to reveal the location of previously unknown massive early-type stars. Our team has discovered more than 400 previously undocumented bowshock nebula candidates along the Galactic Plane by visual inspection of the 22 and 24 micron images from the WISE and Spitzer Space Telescope. A pilot study conducted on the brightest subset of our candidates using the 2.3 m Wyoming Infrared Observatory showed than more than 95% of the targeted nebulae were powered by massive stars. We request GEMINI GMOS-N optical spectroscopy to classify a more complete subset of the central stars within the nebulae at fainter magnitudes than our pilot study. The requested spectra will allow us to measure their radial velocities to identify runaway candidates. With 5.84 hours we can obtain spectra for 8 stars and statistically assess the characteristics of the stars that power these nebulae.

Program Type: Standard/Galactic

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2016B):  GEM-NQ/GMOSN -- 9.4hrs band 3 (GN-2016B-Q-65)


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016B-0294

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