Direct constraint on the distance of γ2 Velorum from AMBER/VLTI observations

F. Millour, R.G. Petrov, O. Chesneau, D. Bonneau, L. Dessart, C. Bechet, I. Tallon-Bosc, M. Tallon, E. Thiébaut, F. Vakili, F. Malbet, D. Mourard, P. Antonelli, U. Beckmann, Y. Bresson, A. Chelli, M. Dugué, G. Duvert, S. Gennari, L. Glück, P. Kern, S. Lagarde, E. Le Coarer, F. Lisi, K. Perraut, P. Puget, F. Rantakyrö, S. Robbe-Dubois, A. Roussel, E. Tatulli, G. Weigelt, G. Zins, M. Accardo, B. Acke, K. Agabi, E. Altariba, B. Arezki, E. Aristidi, C. Baffa, J. Behrend, T. Blöcker, S. Bonhomme, S. Busoni, F. Cassaing, J.-M. Clausse, J. Colin, C. Connot, A. Delboulbé, A. Domiciano de Souza, T. Driebe, P. Feautrier, D. Ferruzzi, T. Forveille, E. Fossat, R. Foy, D. Fraix-Burnet, A. Gallardo, E. Giani, C. Gil, A. Glentzlin, M. Heiden, M. Heininger, O. Hernandez Utrera, K.-H. Hofmann, D. Kamm, M. Kiekebusch, S. Kraus, D. Le Contel, J.-M. Le Contel, T. Lesourd, B. Lopez, M. Lopez, Y. Magnard, A. Marconi, G. Mars, G. Martinot-Lagarde, P. Mathias, P. Mège, J.-L. Monin, D. Mouillet, E. Nussbaum, K. Ohnaka, J. Pacheco, C. Perrier, Y. Rabbia, S. Rebattu, F. Reynaud, A. Richichi, A. Robini, M. Sacchettini, D. Schertl, M. Schöller, W. Solscheid, A. Spang, P. Stee, P. Stefanini, D. Tasso, L. Testi, O. von der Lühe, J.-C. Valtier, M. Vannier, and N. Ventura

Astronomy & Astrophysics, vol.464, pg.107-118 (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 46m 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 theWR+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 mas and a position angle of
, compatible with the expected one. Our analysis thus implies that the binary system lies at a distance of pc, in agreement with recent spectrophotometric estimates, but significantly larger than the Hipparcos value of pc.

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