R. Blomme

Royal Observatory of Belgium, Bruxelles, Brussels Capital, Belgium

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Publications (94)140.17 Total impact

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    W. Farah · M. Gebran · F. Paletou · R. Blomme
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    ABSTRACT: This work addresses a procedure to estimate fundamental stellar parameters such as T eff , logg, [Fe/H], and v sin i using a dimensionality reduction technique called Principal Component Analysis (PCA), applied to a large database of synthetic spectra. This technique shows promising results for inverting stellar parameters of observed targets from Gaia ESO Survey.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015
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    ABSTRACT: In the framework of the Gaia-ESO survey we have determined the fundamental parameters of a large number of B-type stars in the Galactic, young open cluster NGC 3293. The determination of the stellar parameters is based on medium-resolution spectra obtained with FLAMES/GIRAFFE at ESO-VLT. As a second step, we adopted the accurate parameters to determine the chemical abundances of these hot stars. We present a comparison of our results with those obtained by the 'VLT-FLAMES survey of massive stars' (Evans et al. 2005). Our study increases the number of objects analysed and provides an extended view of this cluster.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
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    ABSTRACT: As part of the Gaia-ESO Survey (GES), a number of clusters will be observed that were chosen specifically for their massive-star content. We report on the procedures we followed to determine the stellar parameters from the massive-star spectra of this survey. We intercompare the results from the different techniques used by the nodes of our group to determine these parameters and discuss some of the problems encountered. We present preliminary results for NGC 6705, NGC 3293, and Trumpler 14. We study microturbulence in A-type stars, we use the repeat observation to investigate binarity, and we determine cluster membership from the radial velocity information. The large number of massive-star spectra obtained by the Gaia-ESO Survey will allow us to critically test stellar evolution modelling.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
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    ABSTRACT: The Gaia-ESO Survey (GES) is a large public spectroscopic survey at the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope. A key aim is to provide precise radial velocities (RVs) and projected equatorial velocities (v sin i) for representative samples of Galactic stars, that will complement information obtained by the Gaia astrometry satellite. We present an analysis to empirically quantify the size and distribution of uncertainties in RV and v sin i using spectra from repeated exposures of the same stars. We show that the uncertainties vary as simple scaling functions of signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) and v sin i, that the uncertainties become larger with increasing photospheric temperature, but that the dependence on stellar gravity, metallicity and age is weak. The underlying uncertainty distributions have extended tails that are better represented by Student's t-distributions than by normal distributions. Parametrised results are provided, that enable estimates of the RV precision for almost all GES measurements, and estimates of the v sin i precision for stars in young clusters, as a function of S/N, v sin i and stellar temperature. The precision of individual high S/N GES RV measurements is 0.22-0.26 km/s, dependent on instrumental configuration.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the analysis of UVES and GIRAFFE spectra acquired by the Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey in the fields of young clusters whose population includes pre-main sequence (PMS) stars. Both methods that have been extensively used in the past and new ones developed in the contest of the Gaia-ESO survey enterprise are available and used. The internal precision of these quantities is estimated by inter-comparing the results obtained by such different methods, while the accuracy is estimated by comparison with independent external data, like effective temperature and surface gravity derived from angular diameter measurements, on a sample of benchmarks stars. Specific strategies are implemented to deal with fast rotation, accretion signatures, chromospheric activity, and veiling. The analysis carried out on spectra acquired in young clusters' fields during the first 18 months of observations, up to June 2013, is presented in preparation of the first release of advanced data products. Stellar parameters obtained with the higher resolution and larger wavelength coverage from UVES are reproduced with comparable accuracy and precision using the smaller wavelength range and lower resolution of the GIRAFFE setup adopted for young stars, which allows us to provide with confidence stellar parameters for the much larger GIRAFFE sample. Precisions are estimated to be $\approx$ 120 K r.m.s. in Teff, $\approx$0.3 dex r.m.s. in logg, and $\approx$0.15 dex r.m.s. in [Fe/H], for both the UVES and GIRAFFE setups.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    E Aydi · M Gebran · R Monier · F Royer · A Lobel · R Blomme
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    ABSTRACT: This work describes a procedure to derive several fundamental parameters such as the effective temperature, surface gravity, equatorial rotational velocity and microturbulent velocity. In this work, we have written a numerical procedure in Python which finds the best fit between a grid of synthetic spectra and the observed spectra by minimizing a standard chi-square. LTE model atmospheres were calculated using the ATLAS9 code and were used as inputs to the spectrum synthesis code SYNSPEC48 in order to compute a large grid of synthetic Balmer line profiles. This new procedure has been applied to a large number of new observations (GIRAFFE spectra) of B and A stars members of the young open cluster NGC3293. These observations are part of the GAIA ESO Survey. Takeda's procedure was also used to derive rotational velocities and microturbulent velocities. The results have been compared to previous determinations by other authors and are found to agree with them. As a first result, we concluded that using this procedure, an accuracy of ± 200 K could be achieved in effective temperature and ± 0.2 dex in surface gravities.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Dec 2014
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    ABSTRACT: The Gaia-ESO Survey is obtaining high-quality spectroscopic data for about 10^5 stars using FLAMES at the VLT. UVES high-resolution spectra are being collected for about 5000 FGK-type stars. These UVES spectra are analyzed in parallel by several state-of-the-art methodologies. Our aim is to present how these analyses were implemented, to discuss their results, and to describe how a final recommended parameter scale is defined. We also discuss the precision (method-to-method dispersion) and accuracy (biases with respect to the reference values) of the final parameters. These results are part of the Gaia-ESO 2nd internal release and will be part of its 1st public release of advanced data products. The final parameter scale is tied to the one defined by the Gaia benchmark stars, a set of stars with fundamental atmospheric parameters. A set of open and globular clusters is used to evaluate the physical soundness of the results. Each methodology is judged against the benchmark stars to define weights in three different regions of the parameter space. The final recommended results are the weighted-medians of those from the individual methods. The recommended results successfully reproduce the benchmark stars atmospheric parameters and the expected Teff-log g relation of the calibrating clusters. Atmospheric parameters and abundances have been determined for 1301 FGK-type stars observed with UVES. The median of the method-to-method dispersion of the atmospheric parameters is 55 K for Teff, 0.13 dex for log g, and 0.07 dex for [Fe/H]. Systematic biases are estimated to be between 50-100 K for Teff, 0.10-0.25 dex for log g, and 0.05-0.10 dex for [Fe/H]. Abundances for 24 elements were derived: C, N, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Y, Zr, Mo, Ba, Nd, and Eu. The typical method-to-method dispersion of the abundances varies between 0.10 and 0.20 dex.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    E. Aydi · M. Gebran · R. Monier · F. Royer · A. Lobel · R. Blomme
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    ABSTRACT: This work describes a procedure to derive several fundamental parameters such as the effective temperature, surface gravity, equatorial rotational velocity and microturbulent velocity. In this work, we have written a numerical procedure in Python which finds the best fit between a grid of synthetic spectra and the observed spectra by minimizing a standard chi-square. LTE model atmospheres were calculated using the ATLAS9 code and were used as inputs to the spectrum synthesis code SYNSPEC48 in order to compute a large grid of synthetic Balmer line profiles. This new procedure has been applied to a large number of new observations (GIRAFFE spectra) of B and A stars members of the young open cluster NGC3293. These observations are part of the GAIA ESO Survey. Takeda's procedure was also used to derive rotational velocities and microturbulent velocities. The results have been compared to previous determinations by other authors and are found to agree with them. As a first result, we concluded that using this procedure, an accuracy of +-200 K could be achieved in effective temperature and +-0.2 dex in surface gravities.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Chemically inhomogeneous populations are observed in most globular clusters, but not in open clusters. Cluster mass seems to play a key role in the existence of multiple populations. Studying the chemical homogeneity of the most massive open clusters is necessary to better understand the mechanism of their formation and determine the mass limit under which clusters cannot host multiple populations. Here we studied NGC6705, that is a young and massive open cluster located towards the inner region of the Milky Way. This cluster is located inside the solar circle. This makes it an important tracer of the inner disk abundance gradient. This study makes use of BVI and ri photometry and comparisons with theoretical isochrones to derive the age of NGC6705. We study the density profile of the cluster and the mass function to infer the cluster mass. Based on abundances of the chemical elements distributed in the first internal data release of the Gaia-ESO Survey, we study elemental ratios and the chemical homogeneity of the red clump stars. Radial velocities enable us to study the rotation and internal kinematics of the cluster. The estimated ages range from 250 to 316Myr, depending on the adopted stellar model. Luminosity profiles and mass functions show strong signs of mass segregation. We derive the mass of the cluster from its luminosity function and from the kinematics, finding values between 3700 M$_{\odot}$ and 11 000 M$_{\odot}$. After selecting the cluster members from their radial velocities, we obtain a metallicity of [Fe/H]=0.10$\pm$0.06 based on 21 candidate members. Moreover, NGC6705 shows no sign of the typical correlations or anti-correlations between Al, Mg, Si, and Na, that are expected in multiple populations. This is consistent with our cluster mass estimate, which is lower than the required mass limit proposed in literature to develop multiple populations.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    E. R. Parkin · J. M. Pittard · Y. Nazé · R. Blomme
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    ABSTRACT: X-ray and radio data recently acquired as part of a project to study Cyg OB2#9 are used to constrain physical models of the binary system, providing in-depth knowledge about the wind-wind collision and the thermal, and non-thermal, emission arising from the shocks. We use a three-dimensional, adaptive mesh refinement simulation (including wind acceleration, radiative cooling, and the orbital motion of the stars) to model the gas dynamics of the wind-wind collision. The simulation output is used as the basis for radiative transfer calculations considering the thermal X-ray emission and the thermal/non-thermal radio emission. To obtain good agreement with the X-ray observations, our initial mass-loss rate estimates require a down-shift by a factor of roughly 7.7 to $6.5\times10^{-7}$ and $7.5\times10^{-7}$ solar mass per year for the primary and secondary star, respectively. Furthermore, the low gas densities and high shock velocities in Cyg OB2#9 are suggestive of unequal electron and ion temperatures, and the X-ray analysis indicates that an (immediately post-shock) electron-ion temperature ratio of $\simeq 0.1$ is also required. The radio emission is dominated by (non-thermal) synchrotron emission. A parameter space exploration provides evidence against models assuming equipartition between magnetic and relativistic energy densities. However, fits of comparable quality can be attained with models having stark contrasts in the ratio of magnetic-to-relativistic energy densities. The radio models also reveal a subtle effect whereby inverse Compton cooling leads to an increase in emissivity as a result of the synchrotron characteristic frequency being significantly reduced. Finally, using the results of the radio analysis, we estimate the surface magnetic field strengths to be $\approx 0.3-52\;$G. (Abridged)
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: The Gaia-ESO Survey is a large public spectroscopic survey that aims to derive radial velocities and fundamental parameters of about 10^5 Milky Way stars in the field and in clusters. Observations are carried out with the multi-object optical spectrograph FLAMES, using simultaneously the medium resolution (R~20,000) GIRAFFE spectrograph and the high resolution (R~47,000) UVES spectrograph. In this paper, we describe the methods and the software used for the data reduction, the derivation of the radial velocities, and the quality control of the FLAMES-UVES spectra. Data reduction has been performed using a workflow specifically developed for this project. This workflow runs the ESO public pipeline optimizing the data reduction for the Gaia-ESO Survey, performs automatically sky subtraction, barycentric correction and normalisation, and calculates radial velocities and a first guess of the rotational velocities. The quality control is performed using the output parameters from the ESO pipeline, by a visual inspection of the spectra and by the analysis of the signal-to-noise ratio of the spectra. Using the observations of the first 18 months, specifically targets observed multiple times at different epochs, stars observed with both GIRAFFE and UVES, and observations of radial velocity standards, we estimated the precision and the accuracy of the radial velocities. The statistical error on the radial velocities is sigma~0.4 km s^-1 and is mainly due to uncertainties in the zero point of the wavelength calibration. However, we found a systematic bias with respect to the GIRAFFE spectra (~0.9 km s^-1) and to the radial velocities of the standard stars (~0.5 kms^-1) retrieved from the literature. This bias will be corrected in the future data releases, when a common zero point for all the setups and instruments used for the survey will be established.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: Context. The derivation of radial velocities from large numbers of spectra that typically result from survey work, requires automation. However, except for the classical cases of slowly rotating late-type spectra, existing methods of measuring Doppler shifts require fine-tuning to avoid a loss of accuracy due to the idiosyncrasies of individual spectra. The radial velocity spectrometer (RVS) on the Gaia mission, which will start operating very soon, prompted a new attempt at creating a measurement pipeline to handle a wide variety of spectral types. Aims: The present paper describes the theoretical background on which this software is based. However, apart from the assumption that only synthetic templates are used, we do not rely on any of the characteristics of this instrument, so our results should be relevant for most telescope-detector combinations. Methods: We propose an approach based on the simultaneous use of several alternative measurement methods, each having its own merits and drawbacks, and conveying the spectral information in a different way, leading to different values for the measurement. A comparison or a combination of the various results either leads to a "best estimate" or indicates to the user that the observed spectrum is problematic and should be analysed manually. Results: We selected three methods and analysed the relationships and differences between them from a unified point of view; with each method an appropriate estimator for the individual random error is chosen. We also develop a procedure for tackling the problem of template mismatch in a systematic way. Furthermore, we propose several tests for studying and comparing the performance of the various methods as a function of the atmospheric parameters of the observed objects. Finally, we describe a procedure for obtaining a knowledge-based combination of the various Doppler-shift measurements.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    Full-text · Dataset · Dec 2013
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    M. Gebran · R. Monier · F. Royer · A. Lobel · R. Blomme
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    ABSTRACT: A programme to observe all A dwarfs in open clusters brighter than V=6.5 mag of various ages and in the field was initiated several years ago. In this work we present the current status of microturbulent velocity for A and F dwarfs. We have performed high resolution high signal-to-noise spectroscopy of stars well distributed in mass along the Main Sequence. Microturbulent velocities are derived iteratively by fitting grids of synthetic spectra calculated in LTE to observed spectra of 61 A field stars, 55 A and 58 F in open clusters (Pleiades, Coma Berenices, Hyades and the Ursa Major moving group). We compared our results to recent works and found a good agreement with their analytical formulation for the standard microturbulence. Our results show a broad maximum for microturbulent velocities in the range A5V to about A9V and a decrease (to $\sim 1$ km/s) for cooler and hotter stars as indicated in Smalley (2004).We also present a comparison to preliminary science results of Lobel et al. (2013) for the Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013
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    R. Blomme · M. De Becker · D. Volpi · G. Rauw
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    ABSTRACT: The colliding winds in a massive binary system generate synchrotron emission due to a fraction of electrons that have been accelerated to relativistic speeds around the shocks in the colliding-wind region. We studied the radio light curve of 9 Sgr = HD 164794, a massive O-type binary with a 9.1-yr period. We investigated whether the radio emission varies consistently with orbital phase and we determined some parameters of the colliding-wind region. We reduced a large set of archive data from the Very Large Array (VLA) to determine the radio light curve of 9 Sgr at 2, 3.6, 6 and 20 cm. We also constructed a simple model that solves the radiative transfer in the colliding-wind region and both stellar winds. The 2-cm radio flux shows clear phase-locked variability with the orbit. The behaviour at other wavelengths is less clear, mainly due to a lack of observations centred on 9 Sgr around periastron passage. The high fluxes and nearly flat spectral shape of the radio emission show that synchrotron radiation dominates the radio light curve at all orbital phases. The model provides a good fit to the 2-cm observations, allowing us to estimate that the brightness temperature of the synchrotron radiation emitted in the colliding-wind region at 2 cm is at least 4 x 10^8 K. The simple model used here already allows us to derive important information about the colliding-wind region. We propose that 9 Sgr is a good candidate for more detailed modelling, as the colliding-wind region remains adiabatic during the whole orbit thus simplifying the hydrodynamics.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: Cyg OB2 #9 is one of a small set of non-thermal radio emitting massive O-star binaries. The non-thermal radiation is due to synchrotron emission in the colliding-wind region. Cyg OB2 #9 was only recently discovered to be a binary system and a multi-wavelength campaign was organized to study its 2011 periastron passage. We report here on the results of the radio observations obtained in this monitoring campaign. We used the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA) radio interferometer to obtain 6 and 20 cm continuum fluxes. The observed radio light curve shows a steep drop in flux sometime before periastron. The fluxes drop to a level that is comparable to the expected free-free emission from the stellar winds, suggesting that the non-thermal emitting region is completely hidden at that time. After periastron passage, the fluxes slowly increase. We introduce a simple model to solve the radiative transfer in the stellar winds and the colliding-wind region, and thus determine the expected behaviour of the radio light curve. From the asymmetry of the light curve, we show that the primary has the stronger wind. This is somewhat unexpected if we use the astrophysical parameters based on theoretical calibrations. But it becomes entirely feasible if we take into account that a given spectral type - luminosity class combination covers a range of astrophysical parameters. The colliding-wind region also contributes to the free-free emission, which can help to explain the high values of the spectral index seen after periastron passage. Combining our data with older Very Large Array (VLA) data allows us to derive a period P = 860.0 +- 3.7 days for this system. With this period, we update the orbital parameters that were derived in the first paper of this series.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the binarity of luminous blue variable stars observed with a set of techniques and instruments. Among them, observations at high angular resolution with the VLT-NACO, the VLTI-AMBER and with spectrographs such as the VLT-XSHOOTER allowed us to find several LBV stars as binaries or having a potential companion. In particular the LBV Pistol Star clearly presents radial velocity variations and line profiles modifications (double peak appearance). In addition, the absorption component of the P Cygni lines varies as well with the time indicating a potential wind structure variability. Our observations also show directly for the first time a companion to at least one of the observed LBVs (HD 168625). This one seems to affect the environment of the system. This system is known to be surrounded by several rings similar to those of SN1987A, possibly indicating a future supernova occurrence for this Galactic object. These results show that Eta Car is no longer unique.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Dec 2012
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    ABSTRACT: Context. Nonthermal radio emission in massive stars is expected to arise in wind-wind collisions occurring inside a binary system. One such case, the O-type star Cyg OB2 #9, was proven to be a binary only four years ago, but the orbital parameters remained uncertain. The periastron passage of 2011 was the first one to be observable under good conditions since the discovery of binarity. Aims: In this context, we have organized a large monitoring campaign to refine the orbital solution and to study the wind-wind collision. Methods: This paper presents the analysis of optical spectroscopic data, as well as of a dedicated X-ray monitoring performed with Swift and XMM-Newton. Results: In light of our refined orbital solution, Cyg OB2 #9 appears as a massive O+O binary with a long period and high eccentricity; its components (O5-5.5I for the primary and O3-4III for the secondary) have similar masses and similar luminosities. The new data also provide the first evidence that a wind-wind collision is present in the system. In the optical domain, the broad Hα line varies, displaying enhanced absorption and emission components at periastron. X-ray observations yield the unambiguous signature of an adiabatic collision, because as the stars approach periastron, the X-ray luminosity closely follows the 1/D variation expected in that case. The X-ray spectrum appears, however, slightly softer at periastron, which is probably related to winds colliding at slightly lower speeds at that time. Conclusions: It is the first time that such a variation has been detected in O+O systems, and the first case where the wind-wind collision is found to remain adiabatic even at periastron passage. Based on observations collected at OHP, with Swift, and with XMM-Newton.Tables 1 and 2 are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
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    ABSTRACT: Using optical long baseline interferometry, we resolved for the first time the two wide components of HD167971, a candidate hierarchical triple system known to efficiently accelerate particles. Our multi-epoch VLTI observations provide direct evidence for a gravitational link between the O8 supergiant and the close eclipsing O + O binary. The separation varies from 8 to 15 mas over the three-year baseline of our observations, suggesting that the components evolve on a wide and very eccentric orbit (most probably e>0.5). These results provide evidence that the wide orbit revealed by our study is not coplanar with the orbit of the inner eclipsing binary. From our measurements of the near-infrared luminosity ratio, we constrain the spectral classification of the components in the close binary to be O6-O7, and confirm that these stars are likely main-sequence objects. Our results are discussed in the context of the bright non-thermal radio emission already reported for this system, and we provide arguments in favour of a maximum radio emission coincident with periastron passage. HD167971 turns out to be an efficient O-type particle accelerator that constitutes a valuable target for future high angular resolution radio imaging using VLBI facilities.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012