Volume 527, March 2011
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||24 January 2011|
The structure of the magnetic field in the massive star-forming region W75N
Argelander-Institut für Astronomie der Universität Bonn,
Auf dem Hügel 71,
2 Instituto de Astronomía (UNA), Apdo Postal 70-264, Cd. Universitaria, 04510- Mexico DF, Mexico
3 Max-Planck Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
4 National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, Ministry of Science and Technology, Rama VI Rd., Bangkok 10400, Thailand
5 Instituto de Ciencias del Espacio (CSIC)-UB/IEEC, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
6 Physics Department, DePaul University, 2219 N. Kenmore Ave., Byrne Hall 211, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Accepted: 16 November 2010
Context. A debated topic in star formation theory is the role of magnetic fields during the protostellar phase of high-mass stars. It is still unclear how magnetic fields influence the formation and dynamics of massive disks and outflows. Most current information on magnetic fields close to high-mass protostars comes from polarized maser emissions, which allows us to investigate the magnetic field on small scales by using very long-baseline interferometry.
Aims. The massive star-forming region W75N contains three radio continuum sources (VLA 1, VLA 2, and VLA 3), at three different evolutionary stages, and associated masers, while a large-scale molecular bipolar outflow is also present. Very recently, polarization observations of the 6.7 GHz methanol masers at milliarsecond resolution have been able to probe the strength and structure of the magnetic field over more than 2000 AU around VLA 1. The magnetic field is parallel to the outflow, suggesting that VLA 1 is its powering source. The observations of H2O masers at 22 GHz can give more information about the gas dynamics and the magnetic fields around VLA 1 and VLA 2.
Methods. The NRAO Very Long Baseline Array was used to measure the linear polarization and the Zeeman-splitting of the 22 GHz water masers in the star-forming region W75N.
Results. We detected 124 water masers, 36 around VLA 1 and 88 around VLA 2 of W75N, which indicate two different physical environments around the two sources, where VLA 1 is in a more evolved state. The linear polarization of the masers confirms the tightly ordered magnetic field around VLA 1, which is aligned with the large-scale molecular outflow, and also reveals an ordered magnetic field around VLA 2, which is not parallel to the outflow. The Zeeman-splitting measured on 20 of the masers indicates strong magnetic fields around both sources (the averaged values are |BVLA1| ~ 700 mG and |BVLA2| ~ 1700 mG). The high values of the magnetic field strengths, which come from the shock compression of the gas, are consistent with the methanol and OH magnetic field strengths. Moreover, by studying the maser properties we were also able to determine that the water masers are pumped in C-shocks in both sources.
Key words: stars: formation / masers / polarization / magnetic fields / ISM: individual objects: W75N
© ESO, 2011
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