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Title: The vast population of Wolf-Rayet and red supergiant stars in M101. I. Motivation and first results

Assembling a catalog of at least 10,000 Wolf-Rayet (W-R) stars is an essential step in proving (or disproving) that these stars are the progenitors of Type Ib and Type Ic supernovae. To this end, we have used the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to carry out a deep, He II optical narrowband imaging survey of the ScI spiral galaxy M101. Almost the entire galaxy was imaged with the unprecedented depth and resolution that only the HST affords. Differenced with archival broadband images, the narrowband images allow us to detect much of the W-R star population of M101. We describe the extent of the survey and our images, as well as our data reduction procedures. A detailed broadband-narrowband imaging study of a field east of the center of M101, containing the giant star-forming region NGC 5462, demonstrates our completeness limits, how we find W-R candidates, their properties and spatial distribution, and how we rule out most contaminants. We use the broadband images to locate luminous red supergiant (RSG) candidates. The spatial distributions of the W-R and RSG stars near NGC 5462 are strikingly different. W-R stars dominate the complex core, while RSGs dominate the complex halo. Future papers in this series willmore » describe and catalog more than a thousand W-R and RSG candidates that are detectable in our images, as well as spectra of many of those candidates.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Department of Astrophysics, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th Street, New York, NY 10024-5192 (United States)
  2. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, Hounsfield Road, Sheffield S3 7RH (United Kingdom)
  3. Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128 Succ. C-V, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7 (Canada)
  4. Département de Physique, Université Laval, Pavillon Vachon, Quebec City, QC G1K 7P4 (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22340060
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online); Journal Volume: 146; Journal Issue: 6; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CATALOGS; GALAXIES; IMAGES; RADIO TELESCOPES; REDUCTION; RESOLUTION; SPACE; SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION; SPIRAL CONFIGURATION; SUPERGIANT STARS; SUPERNOVAE; TELESCOPES; WOLF-RAYET STARS