Proper motions of five OB stars with candidate dusty bow shocks in the Carina Nebula

Megan M. Kiminki, Nathan Smith, Megan Reiter, John Bally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We constrain the proper motions of five OB stars associated with candidate stellar wind bow shocks in the Carina Nebula using Hubble Space Telescope ACS imaging over 9-10 yr baselines. These proper motions allow us to directly compare each star's motion to the orientation of its candidate bow shock. Although these stars are saturated in our imaging, we assess their motion by the shifts required to minimize residuals in their airy rings. The results limit the direction of each star's motion to sectors less than 90° wide. None of the five stars are moving away from the Carina Nebula's central clusters as runaway stars would be, confirming that a candidate bow shock is not necessarily indicative of a runaway star. Two of the five stars are moving tangentially relative to the orientation of their candidate bow shocks, both of which point at the OB cluster Trumpler 14. In these cases, the large-scale flow of the interstellar medium, powered by feedback from the cluster, appears to dominate over the motion of the star in producing the observed candidate bow shock. The remaining three stars all have some component of motion towards the central clusters, meaning that we cannot distinguish whether their candidate bow shocks are indicators of stellar motion, of the flow of ambient gas or of density gradients in their surroundings. In addition, these stars' lack of outward motion hints that the distributed massive-star population in Carina's South Pillars region formed in place, rather than migrating out from the association's central clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2469-2481
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • H II regions
  • Open clusters and associations: individual: Carina Nebula
  • Proper motions
  • Stars: early-type
  • Stars: kinematics and dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Proper motions of five OB stars with candidate dusty bow shocks in the Carina Nebula'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this