Sunday, May 19, 2013

1305.3527 (Clemens Thum et al.)

Millimeter Recombination Lines from LkHalpha 101    [PDF]

Clemens Thum, Roberto Neri, Alejandro Baez--Rubio, Melanie Krips
We present new millimeter observations of the ionized wind from the massive young stellar object LkHalpha101, made with the IRAM interferometer and 30m telescope. Several recombination lines, including higher order transitions, were detected for the first time at radio wavelengths in this source. From three alpha-transitions we derive an accurate value for the stellar velocity and, for the first time, an unambiguous expansion velocity of the wind which is 55 km/s, much slower than reported previously, and the mass loss rate is 1.8e-6 solar masses per year. The wide band continuum spectra and the interferometer visibilities show that the density of the wind falls off more steeply than compatible with constant-velocity expansion. We argue that these properties indicate that the wind is launched from a radially narrow region of the circumstellar disk, and we propose that slow speed and a steep density gradient are characteristic properties of the evolutionary phase where young stars of intermediate and high mass clear away the gaseous component of their accretion disks. The recombination lines are emitted close to local thermal equilibrium, but the higher order transitions appear systematically broader and weaker than expected, probably due to impact broadening. Finally, we show that LkHalpha101 shares many properties with MWC349, the only other stellar wind source where radio recombination lines have been detected, some of them masing. We argue that LkHalpha101 evades masing at millimeter wavelengths because of the disk's smaller size and unfavorable orientation. Some amplification may however be detectable at shorter wavelengths.
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