About me

I am an astronomer and Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy & Physics at Saint Mary's University, in Halifax, Canada. I was previously a Plaskett Fellow at NRC Herzberg in Victoria, an Excellence Initiative fellow at Radboud University Nijmegen (NL) and a research fellow in astrophysics at the University of Surrey, near London (UK), where I also held 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 with Chris Evans.

Research

I am generally interested in the internal kinematics and dynamics of star clusters, with a focus in recent years on old globular clusters. I use a mix kinematic data, dynamical models, and statistical techniques to probe the formation and evolution of these systems as well as their stellar and black hole content. Through my earlier work on the dynamics of young massive clusters I have also maintained an interest in massive stars and binaries.

Dynamical modelling of globular clusters

Some of my recent work has focused on using and testing distribution function based multimass dynamical models and applying them to real data. These 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. They are very useful to infer the mass distribution within clusters, their global (initial) stellar mass function, their content of dark stellar remnants, including stellar-mass black holes, and also to address claims for the presence of intermediate-mass black holes in the centre of globular clusters (e.g. Gieles et al. 2018, Zocchi et al. 2017, Zocchi et al. 2020, Hénault-Brunet et al. 2019, Hénault-Brunet et al. 2020). I am also interested in how data from upcoming and future facilities (like GIRMOS, CASTOR, and TMT) can further shed light on the dark side of globular clusters.

Multiple populations in globular clusters

I have also worked on 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 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 have also worked on testing these predictions with a combination of new and archival data (e.g. Cordero, Hénault-Brunet et al. 2017).

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).

Publications

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

  1. On the black hole content and initial mass function of 47 Tuc
    Hénault- Brunet, V., Gieles, M., Strader, J., Peuten, M., Balbinot, E., Douglas, K.E.K.
    2020, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  2. Globular cluster number density profiles using Gaia DR2
    de Boer, T.J.L., Gieles, M., Balbinot, E., Hénault- Brunet, V., Sollima, A., Watkins, L.L., Claydon, I.
    2019, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  3. Linking the rotation of a cluster to the spins of its stars: the kinematics of NGC 6791 and NGC 6819 in 3D
    Kamann, S., Bastian, N. J., Gieles, M., Balbinot, E., Hénault- Brunet, V.
    2019, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  4. Mass modelling globular clusters in the Gaia era: a method comparison using mock data from an N-body simulation of M4
    Hénault- Brunet, V., Gieles, M., Sollima, A., Watkins, L. L., Zocchi, A., Claydon, I., Pancino, E., Baumgardt, H.
    2019, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  5. The effect of stellar-mass black holes on the central kinematics of omega Cen: a cautionary tale for IMBH interpretations
    Zocchi, A., Gieles, M., Hénault- Brunet, V.
    2019, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  6. Space astrometry of the very massive ~150 Msun candidate runaway star VFTS682
    Renzo, M., de Mink, S. E., Lennon, D. J., Platais, I., van der Marel, R. P., Laplace, E., Bestenlehner, J. M., Evans, C. J., Hénault- Brunet, V., et al.
    2018, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  7. A-type stars in the Canada-France Imaging Survey I. The stellar halo of the Milky Way traced to large radius by blue horizontal branch stars
    Thomas, G.F., McConnachie, A.W., Ibata, R.A., Cote, P., Martin, N., Starkenburg, E. Carlberg, R., Chapman, S., Fabbro, S. Famaey, B., Fantin, N., Gwyn, S., Hénault- Brunet, V., et al.
    2018, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  8. The Unexpected Kinematics of Multiple Populations in NGC 6362: Do Binaries Play a Role?
    Dalessandro, E., Mucciarelli, A., Bellazzini, M., Sollima, A., Vesperini, E., Hong, J., Hénault- Brunet, V., Ferraro, F. R., Ibata, R., Lanzoni, B., Massari, D., Salaris, M.
    2018, The Astrophysical Journal
  9. Concurrent formation of supermassive stars and globular clusters: implications for early self-enrichment
    Gieles, M., Charbonnel, C., Krause, M.G.H., Hénault- Brunet, V., Agertz, O. et al.
    2018, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  10. An excess of massive stars in the local 30 Doradus starburst
    Schneider et al. 2017, Science
  11. Mass models of NGC 6624 without an intermediate-mass black hole
    Gieles, M., Balbinot, E., Yaaqib, R., Hénault- Brunet, V., Zocchi, A. et al.
    2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  12. Differences in the rotational properties of multiple stellar populations in M13: a faster rotation for the `extreme' chemical subpopulation
    Cordero, M.J., Hénault-Brunet, V., et al.
    2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  13. Testing lowered isothermal models with direct N -body simulations of globular clusters - II: Multimass models
    Peuten, M., Zocchi, A., Gieles, M., Hénault-Brunet, V..
    2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  14. Radial anisotropy in omega Cen limiting the room for an intermediate-mass black hole
    Zocchi, A., Gieles, M., Hénault-Brunet, V..
    2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  15. The spectral variability of a sample of WC 9 stars on time-scales of days to weeks
    Desforges, S., St-Louis, N., Chené, A.-N., de la Chevrotière, A., Hénault-Brunet, V..
    2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  16. The Tarantula Massive Binary Monitoring. I. Observational campaign and OB-type spectroscopic binaries
    Almeida, L.A., Sana, H., Taylor, W. et al.
    2017, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  17. Testing lowered isothermal models with direct N-body simulations of globular clusters
    Zocchi, A., Gieles, M., Hénault-Brunet, V., Varri, A.L. /br> 2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  18. A stellar-mass black hole population in the globular cluster NGC 6101?
    Peuten, M., Zocchi, A., Gieles, M., Gualandris, A. Hénault-Brunet, V.,
    2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  19. No evidence for younger stellar generations within the intermediate age massive clusters NGC 1783, NGC 1696 and NGC 411
    Cabrera-Ziri et al.
    2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  20. Chemistry and Kinematics of Red Supergiant Stars in the Young Massive Cluster NGC 2100
    Patrick, L.R., Evans, C.J., Davies, B., Kudritzki, R.-P., Hénault-Brunet, V. et al.
    2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  21. Multiple populations in globular clusters: constraints from kinematics and dynamics
    Hénault-Brunet, V.
    2015, proceedings of IAUS 316
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. >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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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, .-H., Gruendl, R. A., Hamann, W.-R., Hénault- Brunet, V., & Todt, H.
    2012, The Astrophysical Journal
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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

Students/opportunities

I will be recruiting new graduate students (MSc, PhD) for a start in September 2021 (application deadline February 2021). Do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or would like more information.

Current group members:
* Nolan Dickson (MSc candidate)
* Tashveena Surdha (Honours Thesis)
* Abigail Battson (undergraduate research student; Dean of Science Summer Research Award)
* Peter Smith (undergraduate research student)
* Remy Arsenault (undergraduate research student)

Contact

Dr. Vincent Hénault-Brunet
vincent.henault [at] smu.ca
Department of Astronomy & Physics
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS, B3H 3C3
Canada