Extended CH3OH maser flare excited by a bursting massive YSO
1 INAF, Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
4 Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland
5 Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
Received: 20 February 2017
Accepted: 19 March 2017
Aims. Recently, substantial flaring in the 6.7 GHz methanol maser line has been observed toward the high-mass young stellar object (YSO) S255 NIRS 3, where an accretion burst was also detected in the IR. Our goal is to study the change in the properties of the 6.7 GHz masers between the pre- and outburst phases, and investigate the connection between the maser and the accretion burst.
Methods. With the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA) and the European VLBI Network (EVN), we performed observations of the 6.7 GHz masers (covering a range in angular resolution from a few milliarcseconds to ≈1′′) during the burst phase and compared these observations with pre-burst measurements at similar spatial scales.
Results. The accretion burst and the subsequent increase in IR luminosity are very likely the origin of the 6.7 GHz maser flare. Since most maser centers operate in the unsaturated regime, a change by a relatively small factor (≈5) in the flux of pumping photons has produced an exponential growth in the maser intensity. The main pre-burst maser cluster is no longer detected during the burst. Compared to the pre-burst phase, flaring 6.7 GHz masers emit across a different VLSR range that is more strongly redshifted, and the emission extends over a larger area at larger separation from the high-mass YSO. In particular, the outburst peak emission originates from a remarkably extended (0.̋2–0.̋3) maser plateau at a radial distance of 500–1000 AU from the source.
Conclusions. Both the maser flare and the extraordinarily large extent of the maser structure can be a natural consequence of the burst in the accretion luminosity of the high-mass YSO. Our results strongly support models that predict IR radiative pumping for the 6.7 GHz CH3OH masers.
Key words: ISM: kinematics and dynamics / masers / stars: formation / techniques: high angular resolution / stars: individual: S255 NIRS3
© ESO, 2017