Friday, July 12, 2013

1307.3128 (Zhiwei Chen et al.)

CEN34 -- High-Mass YSO in M17 or Background Post-AGB Star?    [PDF]

Zhiwei Chen, Dieter Nuernberger, Rolf Chini, Yao Liu, Min Fang, Zhibo Jiang
We investigate the proposed high-mass young stellar object (YSO) candidate CEN34, thought to be associated with the star forming region M17. Its optical to near-infrared (550-2500 nm) spectrum reveals several photospheric absorption features, such as H{\alpha}, Ca triplet and CO bandheads but lacks any emission lines. The spectral features in the range 8375-8770{\AA} are used to constrain an effective temperature of 5250\pm250 (early-/mid-G) and a surface gravity of 2.0\pm0.3 (supergiant). The spectral energy distribution of CEN34 resembles the SED of a high-mass YSO or an evolved star. Moreover, the observed temperature and surface gravity are identical for high-mass YSOs and evolved stars. The radial velocity relative to LSR (V_LSR) of CEN34 as obtained from various photospheric lines is of the order of -60 km/s and thus distinct from the +25 km/s found for several OB stars in the cluster and for the associated molecular cloud. The SED modeling yields ~ 10^{-4} M_sun of circumstellar material which contributes only a tiny fraction to the total visual extinction (11 mag). In the case of a YSO, a dynamical ejection process is proposed to explain the V_LSR difference between CEN34 and M17. Additionally, to match the temperature and luminosity, we speculate that CEN34 had accumulated the bulk of its mass with accretion rate > 4x10^{-3} M_sun/yr in a very short time span (~ 10^3 yrs), and currently undergoes a phase of gravitational contraction without any further mass gain. However, all the aforementioned characteristics of CEN34 are compatible with an evolved star of 5-7 M_sun and an age of 50-100 Myrs, most likely a background post-AGB star with a distance between 2.0 kpc and 4.5 kpc. We consider the latter classification as the more likely interpretation. Further discrimination between the two possible scenarios should come from the more strict confinement of CEN34's distance.
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