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Uncovering multiple Wolf-Rayet star clusters and the ionized ISM in Mrk 178: the closest metal-poor Wolf-Rayet H II galaxy

Abstract : New integral field spectroscopy (IFS) has been obtained for the nearby metal-poor Wolf-Rayet (WR) galaxy Mrk 178 to examine the spatial correlation between its WR stars and the neighbouring ionized interstellar medium (ISM). The strength of the broad WR features and its low metallicity make Mrk 178 an intriguing object. We have detected the blue and red WR bumps in different locations across the field of view (∼300 pc × 230 pc) in Mrk 178. The study of the WR content has been extended, for the first time, beyond its brightest star-forming knot uncovering new WR star clusters. Using Large/Small Magellanic Cloud-template WR stars, we empirically estimate a minimum of ∼20 WR stars within the region sampled. Maps of the spatial distribution of the emission lines and of the physical-chemical properties of the ionized ISM have been created and analysed. Here, we refine the statistical methodology by Pérez-Montero et al. (2011) to probe the presence of variations in the ISM properties. An error-weighted mean of 12+log(O/H) = 7.72 ± 0.01 is taken as the representative oxygen abundance for Mrk 178. A localized N and He enrichment, spatially correlated with WR stars, is suggested by this analysis. Nebular He II λ4686 emission is shown to be spatially extended reaching well beyond the location of the WR stars. This spatial offset between WRs and He II emission can be explained based on the mechanical energy input into the ISM by the WR star winds, and does not rule out WR stars as the He II ionization source. We study systematic aperture effects on the detection and measurement of the WR features, using Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectra combined with the power of IFS. In this regard, the importance of targeting low metallicity nearby systems is discussed.
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Submitted on : Thursday, August 11, 2022 - 9:21:33 AM
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C. Kehrig, E. Pérez-Montero, J. M. Vílchez, J. Brinchmann, D. Kunth, et al.. Uncovering multiple Wolf-Rayet star clusters and the ionized ISM in Mrk 178: the closest metal-poor Wolf-Rayet H II galaxy. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2013, 432, pp.2731-2745. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stt630⟩. ⟨hal-03645517⟩

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