Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

Contributed Papers

Westerlund 1 as a Template for Massive Star Evolution

Ignacio Negueruelaa1, J. Simon Clarka2, Lucy J. Hadfielda3 p1 and Paul A. Crowthera3

a1 Departamento de Física, Ingeniería de Sistemas y Teoría de la Señal, Universidad de Alicante, Apdo. 99, E03080 Alicante, Spain email:

a2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, United Kingdom

a3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S3 7RH, United Kingdom


With a dynamical mass Mdyn ~ 1.3×105 Mxs2299 and a lower limit Mcl > 5 × 104 Mxs2299 from star counts, Westerlund 1 is the most massive young open cluster known in the Galaxy and thus the perfect laboratory to study massive star evolution. We have developed a comprehensive spectral classification scheme for supergiants based on features in the 6000–9000Å range, which allows us to identify > 30 very luminous supergiants in Westerlund 1 and ~ 100 other less evolved massive stars, which join the large population of Wolf-Rayet stars already known. Though detailed studies of these stars are still pending, preliminary rough estimates suggest that the stars we see are evolving to the red part of the HR diagram at approximately constant luminosity.


  • stars: early-type – stars: evolution – supergiants – stars: Wolf-Rayet – open clusters and associations: individual (Westerlund 1)


p1 Present address: Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, 54 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester NY, 14623, USA