Candidate X-Ray-emitting OB Stars in MYStIX Massive Star-forming Regions

Matthew S. Povich, Heather A. Busk, Eric D. Feigelson, Leisa K. Townsley, Michael A. Kuhn

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13 Scopus citations


Massive O-type and early B-type (OB) stars in the nearby Galaxy remain incompletely cataloged due to high extinction, bright visible and infrared nebular emission in H ii regions, and high field star contamination. These difficulties are alleviated by restricting the search to stars with X-ray emission. Using the X-ray point sources from the Massive Young Star-forming Complex Study in Infrared and X-Rays (MYStIX) survey of OB-dominated regions, we identify 98 MYStIX candidate OB (MOBc) stars by fitting their 1-8 μm spectral energy distributions (SEDs) with reddened stellar atmosphere models. We identify 27 additional MOBc stars based on JHK S photometry of X-ray stars lacking SED fitting. These candidate OB stars indicate that the current census of stars earlier than B1, taken across the 18 MYStIX regions studied, is less than 50% complete. We also fit the SEDs of 239 previously published OB stars to measure interstellar extinction and bolometric luminosities, revealing six candidate massive binary systems and five candidate O-type (super)giants. As expected, candidate OB stars have systematically higher extinction than previously published OB stars. Notable results for individual regions include identification of the OB population of a recently discovered massive cluster in NGC 6357, an older OB association in the M17 complex, and new massive luminous O stars near the Trifid Nebula. In several relatively poorly studied regions (RCW 38, NGC 6334, NGC 6357, Trifid, and NGC 3576), the OB populations may increase by factors of ≳2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number61
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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