Massive star formation at high resolution
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 California Institute of Technology, 1201 East California Blvd, MS 105-24 Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Accepted: 7 June 2004
The characterisation of the stellar populations of ultra-compact Hii (UCHii) regions is one of the key means of understanding the formation and evolution of massive stars. Adaptive Optics (AO) assisted near-infrared (NIR) observations provide sufficient resolution and sensitivity to detect such populations at moderate extinction values. We present NIR high-resolution observations of G61.48+0.09, a morphologically complex UCHii region with two components, whose accessible stellar content in the NIR has been widely studied before. A polarimetric map in the K' band, as well as H2(1–0) S(1) and Brγ narrow-band images of the region have been obtained with the AO system ALFA at the Calar Alto Observatory's 3.5 m telescope. We also present high-resolution imaging of the same region in the L' band with NAOS+CONICA at the VLT (UT4). The study of the nebular scattered light points to an internal-illumination model for the eastern component (B2). This model is confirmed by the detection of a point-like source in the L'-band data. In the western component (B1) the observed NIR colours of star 82 are consistent with spectral types BIa or early OV, while star 83 is reproduced by a B0V. Therefore, we identify these objects as the main detected ionising sources. However, in terms of illumination, our polarimetric map indicates that these two stars are not the dominating illuminators of the reflection nebula. Illumination from multiple sources (possibly still undetected) seems to influence the polarisation pattern for this component. Geometric considerations in the calculation of the energetics of this region, combined with the knowledge of the detected stellar content, also points to the presence of other ionising sources. Our study reinforces the hypothesis that there is a champagne flow towards the south-west part of the region.
Key words: techniques: polarimetric / techniques: high angular resolution / stars: formation / ISM: Hii regions / ISM: reflection nebulae
Visiting Astronomer, German-Spanish Astronomical Centre, Calar Alto, operated by the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, jointly with the Spanish National Commission for Astronomy.
© ESO, 2004