Volume 559, November 2013
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||31 October 2013|
High-resolution radio emission from RCW 49/Westerlund 2
1 Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía, CCT-La Plata (CONICET), C.C.5, 1894 Villa Elisa, Argentina
2 Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, UNLP, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
3 Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science, PO Box 76, NSW 1710 Epping, Australia
4 Escuela Politécnica Superior de Jaén, Universidad de Jaén, Campus Las Lagunillas, Edif. A3, 23071 Jaén, Spain
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
5 National Research Council of Canada, Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics, Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, PO Box 248, Penticton, BC V2A 6J9, Canada
6 Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Received: 27 May 2013
Accepted: 14 August 2013
Aims. The HII region RCW 49 and its ionizing cluster form an extensive, complex region that has been widely studied at infrared (IR) and optical wavelengths. The Molonglo 843 MHz and Australia Telescope Compact Array data at 1.4 and 2.4 GHz showed two shells. Recent high-resolution IR imaging revealed a complex dust structure and ongoing star formation. New high-bandwidth and high-resolution data of the RCW 49 field have been obtained to survey the radio emission at arcsec scale and investigate the small-scale features and nature of the HII region.
Methods. Radio observations were collected with the new 2-GHz bandwidth receivers and the CABB correlator of the Australia Telescope Compact Array [ATCA], at 5.5 and 9.0 GHz. In addition, archival observations at 1.4 and 2.4 GHz have been re-reduced and re-analyzed in conjunction with observations in the optical, IR, X-ray, and gamma-ray regimes.
Results. The new 2-GHz bandwidth data result in the most detailed radio continuum images of RCW 49 to date. The radio emission closely mimics the near-IR emission observed by Spitzer, showing pillars and filaments. The brightest continuum emission comes from the region known as the bridge. The overall flattish spectral index is typically consistent with a free-free emission mechanism. However, hints of nonthermal components are also present in the bridge. An interesting jet-like structure surrounded by a bubble feature whose nature is still unclear has been discovered close to the Westerlund 2 core. Two apparent bow shocks and a number of discrete sources have been detected as well in the surroundings of RCW 49. In addition, we also report on and discuss the possible detection of a hydrogen recombination line.
Conclusions. The radio results support an association between the cm continuum and molecular emission. The detection of the radio recombination line kinematically favors a RCW 49 distance of 6–7 kpc. If the negative spectral indices measured at the bridge should be confirmed to be caused by synchrotron emission, we propose a scenario where high-energy emission could be produced. Finally, the newly discovered jet-like structure appears to be an intriguing source that deserves a detailed study by itself.
Key words: stars: winds, outflows / ISM: individual objects: RCW 49 / open clusters and associations: individual: Westerlund 2 / radio continuum: ISM / gamma rays: stars
© ESO, 2013
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