HST FUV Spectroscopy of Super Star Cluster A in the Green Pea Analog Mrk 71: Revealing the Presence of Very Massive Stars

Linda J. Smith, M. S. Oey, Svea Hernandez, Jenna Ryon, Claus Leitherer, Stephane Charlot, Gustavo Bruzual, Daniela Calzetti, You Hua Chu, Matthew J. Hayes, Bethan L. James, Anne E Jaskot, Göran Östlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mrk 71 is a low-metallicity (Z = 0.16 Z ) starburst region in the local dwarf galaxy NGC 2366, hosting two super star clusters (SSCs A and B), and it is recognized as a Green Pea (GP) analog with SSC A responsible for the GP properties. We present STIS and FOS far-ultraviolet (FUV) spectra of the embedded SSC Mrk 71-A obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. The STIS FUV spectrum shows the characteristic features of very massive stars (VMS; masses >100 M ) and we derive an age of 1 ± 1 Myr by comparison with the Charlot & Bruzual suite of spectral population synthesis models with upper mass limits of 300 and 600 M . We compare the STIS spectrum with all known SSC spectra exhibiting VMS signatures: NGC 5253-5, R136a, NGC 3125-A1, and the z = 2.37 Sunburst cluster. We find that the cluster mass-loss rates and wind velocities, as characterized by the C iv P Cygni profiles and the He ii emission line strengths, are very similar over Z = 0.16-0.4 Z. This agrees with predictions that the optically thick winds of VMS will be enhanced near the Eddington limit and show little metallicity dependence. We find very strong damped Lyα absorption with N(H i) =1022.2 cm−2 associated with Mrk 71-A. We discuss the natal environment of this young SSC in terms of radiatively driven winds, catastrophic cooling, and recent models where the cluster is surrounded by highly pressurized clouds with large neutral columns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number194
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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