BAT99 126: A multiple Wolf-Rayet system in the Large Magellanic Cloud with a massive near-contact binary
Context. BAT99 126 is a multiple system in the Large Magellanic Cloud containing a Wolf-Rayet (WR) star, which has a reported spectroscopic (orbital) period of 25.5 days and a photometric (orbital) period of 1.55 days, and hence is potentially one of the shortest WR binaries known to date. Such short-period binary systems that contain a WR star in low-metallicity environments are prime candidate progenitors of black-hole (BH) mergers.
Aims: By thoroughly analysing the spectroscopic and photometric data, we aim to establish the true multiplicity of BAT99 126, to characterise the orbit(s) of the system, to measure the physical properties of its individual components, and to determine the overall evolutionary status of the system.
Methods: Using newly acquired high resolution spectra taken with the Ultra-violet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph mounted on the Very Large Telescope, we measured radial velocities via cross-correlation and line-profile fitting, and performed a spectral analysis of the individual components using model atmosphere codes. We estimated the age of the system and derived an evolutionary scenario for the 1.55-day system.
Results: BAT99 126 comprises at least four components. The 1.55-day photometric signal originates in an eclipsing binary that consists of two O-type stars of spectral types O4 V and O6.5 V, which are both rapid rotators (300 km s-1 and 230 km s-1, respectively). From the broad emission lines of the WR star, we derived a spectral type WN2.5-3. We further reject the previously reported 25.5-d period for the WR star and find that there is no detectable orbital motion within our uncertainties. The presence of additional narrow Si III and O II lines in the composite spectrum corresponds to a fourth component, a B1 V star. There is clear evidence that the B-type star shows a radial velocity variation; however, the data do not allow for a determination of the orbital parameters. The configurations of the B-type star, the WR star, and possible additional undetected components remain unknown. We derived masses for the O-type components of 36 ± 5 M⊙ and 15 ± 2 M⊙, respectively, and estimated the age of the system to be 4.2 Myr. We find evidence of previous or ongoing mass-transfer between the two O-type components and infer initial masses of 23 M⊙ for the O4 V star and 29 M⊙ for the O6.5 V star. The O+O binary likely went through a phase of conservative mass transfer and is currently a near-contact system. Conclusion. We show that BAT99 126 is a multiple - quadruple or higher-order - system with a total initial mass of at least 160 M⊙. The 1.55-day O+O binary most likely will not evolve towards a BH+BH merger, but instead will merge before the collapse of the components to BHs.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- February 2021
- stars: massive;
- binaries: spectroscopic;
- binaries: eclipsing;
- stars: Wolf-Rayet;
- Magellanic Clouds;
- stars: individual: BAT99 126;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 14+2 pages, 12+1 figures, accepted in A&