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The distances to star-clusters hosting Red Supergiants: $χ$ Per, NGC 7419, and Westerlund 1

Davies, B and Beasor, ER (2019) The distances to star-clusters hosting Red Supergiants: $χ$ Per, NGC 7419, and Westerlund 1. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, 486 (1). pp. 10-14. ISSN 1745-3933

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Galactic, young massive star clusters are approximately coeval aggregates of stars, close enough to resolve the individual stars, massive enough to have produced large numbers of massive stars, and young enough for these stars to be in a pre-supernova state. As such these objects represent powerful natural laboratories in which to study the evolution of massive stars. To be used in this way, it is crucial that accurate and precise distances are known, since this affects both the inferred luminosities of the cluster members and the age estimate for the cluster itself. Here we present distance estimates for three star clusters rich in Red Supergiants ($\chi$ Per, NGC 7419 and Westerlund 1) based on their average astrometric parallaxes $\bar{\pi}$ in Gaia Data Release 2, where the measurement of $\bar{\pi}$ is obtained from a proper-motion screened sample of spectroscopically-confirmed cluster members. We determine distances of $d=2.25^{+0.16}_{-0.14}$kpc, $d=3.00^{+0.35}_{-0.29}$kpc, and $d=3.87^{+0.95}_{-0.64}$kpc for the three clusters respectively. We find that the dominant source of error is that in Gaia's zero-point parallax offset $\pi_{\rm ZP}$, and we argue that more precise distances cannot be determined without an improved characterization of this quantity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2019 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 20 May 2019 10:17
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 09:23
DOI or ID number: 10.1093/mnrasl/slz050
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10728
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