About me

I am a research fellow in astrophysics at the University of Surrey, near London (UK), where I have also been holding a postdoctoral fellowship grant from the FRQNT (Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Nature et Technologies).

I completed my PhD in 2013 at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, where I worked on the VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey under the guidance of Chris Evans. To conduct my PhD research, I was awarded a SUPA prize studentship and a Postgraduate Doctoral Scholarship from NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada).

I am from Montréal, Canada, where I completed my MSc in astrophysics at Université de Montréal and obtained my BSc in physics (first class honours) from McGill University.


I am generally interested in the internal kinematics and dynamics of star clusters, both young and old. I use a mix kinematic data, dynamical models, and statistical techniques to probe the formation and evolution of these systems. My work on young clusters has also resulted in a continued interest in massive stars, in particular massive binaries and runaway stars.

Multiple populations in globular clusters

Over the past two years, I have become increasingly interested in the problem of multiple stellar populations in globular clusters. The origin of chemically distinct populations of stars in these ancient systems is still mysterious and heavily debated.

My recent efforts have focused on exploring and highlighting the potential of stellar kinematics to probe the formation of multiple populations. In Hénault-Brunet et al. (2015), we performed N-body simulations and identified the differential rotation of subpopulations as a key signature to distinguish between the various formation scenarios proposed. I am now working on testing these predictions with a combination of archival data and new spectroscopic observations on VLT-FLAMES.

Mass modelling of star clusters in the Gaia era

As part of the Gaia Challenge series of workshop, I co-lead (with Mark Gieles) the working group on 'Collisional Systems'. Our goal is to improve methods to compare state-of-the-art dynamical models to various datasets (in particular from the Gaia satellite) and probe the structure and evolution of star clusters.

Some of the recent efforts of our working group have focused on testing the validity and applicability of distribution-function based dynamical models by comparing them to mock data from collisional N-body simulations. (e.g. Sollima et al. 2015). I am now working on fitting multi-mass lowered isothermal models to real data. These physically motivated models capture the trend towards equipartition of different mass species and the resulting mass segregation in systems that are dynamically evolved due to two-body relaxation. One of the goals of this comparison is to fit the mass-to-light ratio of metal-rich globular clusters - including the effect of mass segregation - and test claims for deviations from the canonical stellar initial mass function in these clusters.

Kinematics of young massive clusters

During my PhD, I used multi-object and IFU spectroscopic observations to study the kinematics of massive stars in the well-known young massive clusters R136. This work showed that this cluster has a low velocity dispersion, suggesting that it is bound and has not significantly suffered from primordial gas expulsion (Hénault-Brunet et al. 2012b). We also found evidence for rotation of this young cluster, suggesting that star clusters can form with a large fraction of their kinetic energy in rotation (Hénault-Brunet et al. 2012c). This dataset was also successfully used to improve methods to constrain the velocity dispersion of systems in which radial velocity measurements are polluted by the orbital motions of binary stars (Cottaar & Hénault-Brunet 2014).

Massive binary stars and runaways

I have worked on specific massive star systems over the years (e.g. the Be X-ray binary SXP 1062 and its associated supernova remnant (Hénault-Brunet et al. 2012a); the variable Wolf-Rayet star WR46 (Hénault-Brunet et al. 2011). I also continue to be involved in the VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey (PI: C.J. Evans) and the Tarantula Massive Binary Monitoring (TMBM) programme (PI: H. Sana), applying Bayesian statistics to characterise the properties of the population of O-type binaries and runaway stars in the 30 Doradus region of the Large Magellanic Cloud.


-> My full publication list on the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) <-

  1. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey XXI. Stellar spin rates of O-type spectroscopic binaries
    Ramírez-Agudelo, O.H., Sana, H., de Mink, S.E., Hénault-Brunet, V. et al.
    2015, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  2. Biases in the determination of dynamical parameters of star clusters: today and in the Gaia era
    Sollima, A., Baumgardt, H., Zocchi, A., Balbinot, E., Gieles, M. Hénault-Brunet, V., & Varri, A.L.
    2015, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  3. Multiple populations in globular clusters: the distinct kinematic imprints of different formation scenarios
    Hénault-Brunet, V., Gieles, M., Agertz, O., & Read, J.I.
    2015, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  4. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. XIX. B-type supergiants: Atmospheric parameters and nitrogen abundances to investigate the role of binarity and the width of the main sequence
    McEvoy, C. M., Dufton, P. L., Evans, C. J., Kalari, V. M., Markova, N., Simón-Díaz, S., Vink, J. S., Walborn, N. R., Crowther, P. A., de Koter, A., de Mink, S. E., Dunstall, P. R., Hénault-Brunet, V. , Herrero, A., Langer, N., Lennon, D. J., Maíz Apellániz, J., Najarro, F., Puls, J., Sana, H., Schneider, F. R. N., & Taylor, W. D.
    2015, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  5. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. XVIII. Classifications and radial velocities of the B-type stars
    Evans, C. J., Kennedy, M. B., Dufton, P. L., Howarth, I. D., Walborn, N. R., Markova, N., Clark, J. S., de Mink, S. E., de Koter, A., Dunstall, P. R., Hénault-Brunet, V. , Maíz Apellániz, J., McEvoy, C. M., Sana, H., Simón-Díaz, S., Taylor, W. D., & Vink, J. S.
    2015, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  6. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. XVII. Physical and wind properties of massive stars at the top of the main sequence
    Bestenlehner, J. M., Gräfener, G., Vink, J. S., Najarro, F., de Koter, A., Sana, H., Evans, C. J., Crowther, P. A., Hénault-Brunet, V. , Herrero, A., Langer, N., Schneider, F. R. N., Simón-Díaz, S., Taylor, W. D., & Walborn, N. R.
    2014, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  7. Binary-corrected velocity dispersions from single- and multi-epoch radial velocities: massive stars in R136 as a test case
    Cottaar, M. & Hénault-Brunet, V.
    2014, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  8. Long-term evolution of the neutron-star spin period of SXP 1062
    Sturm, R., Haberl, F., Oskinova, L. M., Schurch, M. P. E., Hénault-Brunet, V., Gallagher, J. S., & Udalski, A.
    2013, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  9. Studying the kinematics of the giant star-forming region 30 Doradus . I. The data
    Torres-Flores, S., Barbá, R., Maíz Apellániz, J., Rubio, M., Bosch, G., Hénault-Brunet, V., & Evans, C. J.
    2013, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  10. Discovery of X-Ray Emission from Young Suns in the Small Magellanic Cloud
    Oskinova, L. M., Sun, W., Evans, C. J., Hénault-Brunet, V., Chu, Y.-H., Gallagher, J. S., III, Guerrero, M. A., Gruendl, R. A., Güdel, M., Silich, S., Chen, Y., Nazé, Y., Hainich, R., & Reyes-Iturbide, J.
    2013, The Astrophysical Journal
  11. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. IX. The interstellar medium seen through diffuse interstellar bands and neutral sodium
    van Loon, J. Th., Bailey, M., Tatton, B. L., Maíz Apellániz, J., Crowther, P. A., de Koter, A., Evans, C. J., Hénault-Brunet, V., Howarth, I. D., Richter, P., Sana, H., Simón-Díaz, S., Taylor, W., & Walborn, N. R.
    2013, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  12. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. VIII. Multiplicity properties of the O-type star population
    Sana, H., de Koter, A., de Mink, S. E., Dunstall, P. R., Evans, C. J., Hénault-Brunet, V. , Maíz Apellániz, J., Ramírez-Agudelo, O. H., Taylor, W. D., Walborn, N. R., Clark, J. S., Crowther, P. A., Herrero, A., Gieles, M., Langer, N., Lennon, D. J., & Vink, J. S.
    2013, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  13. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. VII. A low velocity dispersion for the young massive cluster R136
    Hénault-Brunet, V. , Evans, C. J., Sana, H., Gieles, M., Bastian, N., Maíz Apellániz, J., Markova, N., Taylor, W. D., Bressert, E., Crowther, P. A., & van Loon, J. Th.
    2012, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  14. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. VI. Evidence for rotation of the young massive cluster R136
    Hénault-Brunet, V., Gieles, M., Evans, C. J., Sana, H., Bastian, N., Maíz Apellániz, J., Taylor, W. D., Markova, N., Bressert, E., de Koter, A., & van Loon, J. Th
    2012, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  15. A Rare Early-type Star Revealed in the Wing of the Small Magellanic Cloud
    Evans, C. J., Hainich, R., Oskinova, L. M., Gallagher, J. S., III, Chu, Y.-H., Gruendl, R. A., Hamann, W.-R., Hénault-Brunet, V., & Todt, H.
    2012, The Astrophysical Journal
  16. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. IV. Candidates for isolated high-mass star formation in 30 Doradus
    Bressert, E., Bastian, N., Evans, C. J., Sana, H., Hénault-Brunet, V., Goodwin, S. P., Parker, R. J., Gieles, M., Bestenlehner, J. M., Vink, J. S., Taylor, W. D., Crowther, P. A., Longmore, S. N., Gräfener, G., Maíz Apellániz, J., de Koter, A., Cantiello, M., & Kruijssen, J. M. D.
    2012, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  17. Discovery of a Be/X-ray pulsar binary and associated supernova remnant in the Wing of the Small Magellanic Cloud
    Hénault-Brunet, V. , Oskinova, L. M., Guerrero, M. A., Sun, W., Chu, Y.-H., Evans, C. J., Gallagher, J. S., III, Gruendl, R. A., & Reyes-Iturbide, J.
    2012, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

    -> Chandra press release
    -> ESA press release
  18. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey: The Fastest Rotating O-type Star and Shortest Period LMC Pulsar—Remnants of a Supernova Disrupted Binary?
    Dufton, P. L., Dunstall, P. R., Evans, C. J., Brott, I., Cantiello, M., de Koter, A., de Mink, S. E., Fraser, M., Hénault-Brunet, V., Howarth, I. D., Langer, N., Lennon, D. J., Markova, N., Sana, H., & Taylor, W. D.
    2011, The Astrophysical Journal
  19. New Constraints on the Origin of the Short-term Cyclical Variability of the Wolf-Rayet Star WR 46
    Hénault-Brunet, V., St-Louis, N., Marchenko, S. V., Pollock, A. M. T., Carpano, S., & Talavera, A.
    2011, The Astrophysical Journal
  20. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. III. A very massive star in apparent isolation from the massive cluster R136
    Bestenlehner, J. M., Vink, J. S., Gräfener, G., Najarro, F., Evans, C. J., Bastian, N., Bonanos, A. Z., Bressert, E., Crowther, P. A., Doran, E., Friedrich, K., Hénault-Brunet, V. et al.
    2011, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  21. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. II. R139 revealed as a massive binary system
    Taylor, W. D., Evans, C. J., Sana, H., Walborn, N. R., de Mink, S. E., Stroud, V. E., Alvarez-Candal, A., Barbá, R. H., Bestenlehner, J. M., Bonanos, A. Z., Brott, I., Crowther, P. A., de Koter, A., Friedrich, K., Gräfener, G., Hénault-Brunet, V., et al.
    2011, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  22. The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey. I. Introduction and observational overview
    Evans, C. J., Taylor, W. D., Hénault-Brunet, V., Sana, H. et al.
    2011, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  23. A Massive Runaway Star from 30 Doradus
    Evans, C. J., Walborn, N. R., Crowther, P. A., Hénault-Brunet, V., Massa, D., Taylor, W. D., Howarth, I. D., Sana, H., Lennon, D. J., & van Loon, J. Th.
    2010, The Astrophysical Journal


Vincent Hénault-Brunet
v.henault-brunet [at] surrey.ac.uk
Department of Physics
University of Surrey
Tel: +44 (0)1483-683758