Direct constraint on the distance of γ$^2$ Velorum from AMBER/VLTI observations
Le Coarer, E
Domiciano de Souza, A
Hernandez Utrera, O
Le Contel, D
Le Contel, J-M
von der Lühe, O
Astronomy and Astrophysics
© ESO 2007
Context. Interferometry can provide spatially resolved observations of massive star binary systems and their colliding winds, which thus far have been studied mostly with spatially unresolved observations. Aims. We present the first AMBER/VLTI observations, taken at orbital phase 0.32, of the Wolf-Rayet and O (WR+O) star binary system γ2 Velorum and use the interferometric observables to constrain its properties. Methods. The AMBER/VLTI instrument was used with the telescopes UT2, UT3, and UT4 on baselines ranging from 46 m to 85 m. It delivered spectrally dispersed visibilities, as well as differential and closure phases, with a resolution R = 1500 in the spectral band 1.95−2.17 µm. We interpret these data in the context of a binary system with unresolved components, neglecting in a first approximation the wind-wind collision zone flux contribution. Results. Using WR- and O-star synthetic spectra, we show that the AMBER/VLTI observables result primarily from the contribution of the individual components of the WR+O binary system. We discuss several interpretations of the residuals, and speculate on the detection of an additional continuum component, originating from the free-free emission associated with the wind-wind collision zone (WWCZ), and contributing at most to the observed K-band flux at the 5% level. Based on the accurate spectroscopic orbit and the Hipparcos distance, the expected absolute separation and position angle at the time of observations were 5.1 ± 0.9 mas and 66 ± 15◦, respectively. However, using theoretical estimates for the spatial extent of both continuum and line emission from each component, we infer a separation of 3.62+0.11 −0.30 mas and a position angle of 73+9 −11 ◦, compatible with the expected one. Our analysis thus implies that the binary system lies at a distance of 368+38 −13 pc, in agreement with recent spectrophotometric estimates, but significantly larger than the Hipparcos value of 258+41 −31 pc.
The AMBER project5 was founded by the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Max Planck Institute für Radioastronomie (MPIfR) in Bonn, the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (OAA) in Firenze, the French Region “Provence Alpes Côte D’Azur” and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The CNRS funding has been made through the Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers (INSU) and its Programmes Nationaux (ASHRA, PNPS, PNP). The OAA co-authors acknowledge partial support from MIUR grants to the Arcetri Observatory: A LBT interferometric arm, and analysis of VLTI interferometric data and From Stars to Planets: accretion, disk evolution and planet formation and from INAF grants to the Arcetri Observatory Stellar and Extragalactic Astrophysics with Optical Interferometry. C. Gil work was supported in part by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia through project POCTI/CTE-AST/55691/2004 from POCTI, with funds from the European program FEDER.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from EDP Sciences via the DOI in this record.
Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2007, Vol. 464, Number 1, pp. 107-118