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Title: CONSTRAINTS ON THE SURFACE MAGNETIC FIELDS AND AGE OF A COOL HYPERGIANT: XMM-NEWTON X-RAY OBSERVATIONS OF VY CMa

The complex circumstellar ejecta of highly evolved, cool hypergiants are indicative of multiple, asymmetric mass-loss events. To explore whether such episodic, non-isotropic mass loss may be driven by surface magnetic activity, we have observed the archetypical cool hypergiant VY CMa with the XMM-Newton X-ray satellite observatory. The hypergiant itself is not detected in these observations. From the upper limit on the X-ray flux from VY CMa at the time of our observations (F {sub X,} {sub UL} ≈ 8 × 10{sup –14} erg cm{sup –2} s{sup –1}, corresponding to log L{sub X} /L {sub bol} ≤ –8), we estimate an average surface magnetic field strength fB ≤ 2 × 10{sup –3} G (where f is the filling factor of magnetically active surface regions). These X-ray results for VY CMa represent the most stringent constraints to date on the magnetic field strength near the surface of a hypergiant. VY CMa's mass loss is episodic, however, and the hypergiant may have been in a state of low surface magnetic activity during the XMM observations. The XMM observations also yield detections of more than 100 X-ray sources within ∼15' of VY CMa, roughly 50 of which have near-infrared counterparts. Analysis of X-ray hardnessmore » ratios and IR colors indicates that some of these field sources may be young, late-type stars associated with VY CMa, its adjacent molecular cloud complex, and the young cluster NGC 2362. Further study of the VY CMa field is warranted, given the potential to ascertain the evolutionary timescale of this enigmatic, massive star.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ; ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235 (United States)
  2. Center for Imaging Science, School of Physics and Astronomy, and Laboratory for Multiwavelength Astrophysics, Rochester Institute of Technology, 54 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623 (United States)
  3. Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, 116 Church Street SE, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (United States)
  4. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364281
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 800; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASYMMETRY; COLOR; COSMIC X-RAY SOURCES; DETECTION; GIANT STARS; HARDNESS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MASS TRANSFER; SATELLITES; STAR EVOLUTION; STELLAR WINDS; SURFACES; X RADIATION