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Thanks to surveys in Local Group galaxies (Massey & Johnson 1998) and improvements in theoretical models (Meynet & Maeder 2005), the evolutionary status of WR stars is now understood well enough to use them as diagnostics to infer the properties of starburst regions.
For instance, in unresolved clusters or starburst knots of distant galaxies, the equivalent width of the ‘WR bumps’ is a good indicator of the age and upper mass limit of the stellar population (Pindao et al. The small spiral galaxy M33 is host to four giant H regions bright enough to have their own NGC number: NGC 604, the second most luminous starburst cluster in the Local Group; then, in decreasing order of Hα luminosity, NGC 595, 592 and 588.
More WR candidates were identified by interference filter imagery (taking advantage of their strong He emission) and spectroscopically confirmed by Massey & Conti (1983), Armandroff & Massey (1985, 1991) and Massey, Conti & Armandroff (1987).
The most detailed catalogue of WR stars (with spectral classification) and WR candidates in M33 is presented in Massey & Johnson (1998).
WR11, first noted as an emission-line star by DMS93, is not correctly identified in the original finding chart (their fig. A careful superposition of the 1991 emission-line image from the CFHT, which was originally used to identify WR candidates, with the more recent /ACS images, as well as an analysis of the location of the emission line in our more recent 2D spectra, clearly identifies WR11 as the brightest star in a very tight group of a half-a-dozen stars separated by less than 2 arcsec; its correct identification is now shown in Fig. The only emission feature visible in the spectrum of WR11 is a broad (FWHM = 37 Å) He 4686 line.
Because the group of stars in which WR11 stands is unresolved in ground-based spectrum, the true equivalent width of the line is certainly much higher, making WR11 a genuine WN star.
The equivalent widths listed in this table as EW (WR) refer to the entire emission lines in the ‘WR bump’ between 46 Å.
The data were extracted from the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre's web interface.
We used the B600 grating, which, combined with the slitwidth of 1.5 arcsec, provided a spectral resolution of ∼9 Å.
Exposure times were 900 s for NGC 592, 2700 s for NGC 6 s for NGC 595.
We have also used archival The overwhelming majority of stars in the Universe display absorption lines in their visible range spectrum.
Emission lines in stellar spectra are therefore notable exceptions which betray fascinating properties such as the presence of unusually strong chromospheric activity, rapid rotation or, in the case of interest to this paper, strong mass loss and high luminosity.