EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 425, Number 2, October II 2004
Page(s) 553 - 567
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034352

A&A 425, 553-567 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034352

Sharpless 170 and the surrounding interstellar medium

R. S. Roger1, W. H. McCutcheon2, C. R. Purton1 and P. E. Dewdney1

1  National Research Council Canada, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, Penticton, BC V2A 6J9, Canada
    e-mail: robert.roger@hia.nrc.ca
2  Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada

(Received 18 September 2003 / Accepted 17 June 2004 )

Sharpless 170 is a diffuse HII region ionized by a single main sequence O-star located near the periphery of a small dense molecular cloud at a distance of ~2 kpc. We describe wide-field observations of the region in the radio continuum, in HI and CO-lines, and in the far-infrared which delineate the major ionized, atomic, molecular and dust components of the gas affected by the exciting star. From the thermal continuum emission we estimate the mass of ionized gas at ~350  $M_{\odot}$ within a radius of ~7 pc. The HI ( $\lambda$21 cm) and far-infrared observations show an extended low-density atomic component, of ~1000  $M_{\odot}$, within an irregular boundary surrounding the ionized gas of mean radius ~10 pc. Mean densities in the HI and HII are similar, in the range 9-16 nucleons cm -3. CO emission shows a molecular cloud of ~1150  $M_{\odot}$ within an area 6 pc  $\times$ 4 pc with densities ~2000 nucleons cm -3. A compact infrared component coincides with the cloud. The exciting star is located on the near side of the cloud, just inside the southern periphery.

Sh170 is an example of a young HII region with the ionized gas, seen in H $\alpha$ emission, streaming outward in the manner of a "champagne flow". Although the observed velocities of the HI are close to the mean velocity of the CO cloud, the morphology of the associated atomic hydrogen closely resembles that seen in the surrounds of other young HII regions which show clear evidence of expansion of their HI. We propose that much of the HI is a diffuse dissociation zone beyond the ionization front, in directions from the star within a wide annulus, approximately transverse to the line-of-sight, between the dense photon-bounded region on the far side of the star and the density-bounded ionized flow region on the near side. In this view, much of the associated atomic gas, like the ionized gas, has been eroded from the molecular cloud in a small fraction ( $\leq$10%) of the star's main sequence lifetime.

Key words: stars: individual: BD +63 2093p (AG+64 1262) -- Galaxy: open clusters and associations: individual: Sh 2-170 -- radio continuum: ISM -- radio lines: ISM -- infrared: ISM

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2004