Physical parameters of red supergiants in dwarf irregular galaxies in the Local Group

Britavskiy, N. E., Bonanos, A. Z., Herrero, A., Cervino, M., García Álvarez, O., Boyer, M. L., Masseron, T., Mehner, A., McQuinn, K. B. W. 2019. Physical parameters of red supergiants in dwarf irregular galaxies in the Local Group. Astronomy and Astyrophysics 631 DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201935212

Increasing the statistics of evolved massive stars in the Local Group enables investigating their evolution at different metallicities. During the late stages of stellar evolution, the physics of some phenomena, such as episodic and systematic mass loss, are not well constrained. For example, the physical properties of red supergiants (RSGs) in different metallicity regimes remain poorly understood. Thus, we initiated a systematic study of RSGs in dwarf irregular galaxies (dIrrs) in the Local Group.

Aims. We aim to derive the fundamental physical parameters of RSGs and characterize the RSG population in nearby dIrrs.

Methods. The target selection is based on 3.6 mu m and 4.5 mu m photometry from archival Spitzer Space Telescope images of nearby galaxies. We selected 46 targets in the dIrrs IC 10, IC 1613, Sextans B, and the Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte (WLM) galaxy that we observed with the GTC-OSIRIS and VLT-FORS2 instruments. We used several photometric techniques together with a spectral energy distribution analysis to derive the luminosities and effective temperatures of known and newly discovered RSGs.

Results. We identified and spectroscopically confirmed 4 new RSGs, 5 previously known RSGs, and 5 massive asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. We added known objects from previous observations. In total, we present spectral classification and fundamental physical parameters of 25 late-type massive stars in the following dIrrs: Sextans A, Sextans B, IC 10, IC 1613, Pegasus, Phoenix, and WLM. This includes 17 RSGs and 8 AGB stars that have been identified here and previously.

Conclusions. Based on our observational results and PARSEC evolutionary models, we draw the following conclusions: (i) a trend to higher minimum effective temperatures at lower metallicities and (ii) the maximum luminosity of RSGs appears to be constant at log(L/L-circle dot) approximate to 5.5, independent of the metallicity of the host environment (up to [Fe/H] approximate to -1 dex).

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