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MUSCLE W49: A multi-scale continuum and line exploration of the most luminous star formation region in the Milky Way. I. Data and the mass structure of the giant molecular cloud


Galván-Madrid, R; Liu, H B; Zhang, Z-Y; Pineda, J E; Peng, T-C; Zhang, Q; Keto, E R; Ho, P T P; Rodríguez, L F; Zapata, L; Peters, T; De Pree, C G (2013). MUSCLE W49: A multi-scale continuum and line exploration of the most luminous star formation region in the Milky Way. I. Data and the mass structure of the giant molecular cloud. Astrophysical Journal, 779(2):121-149.

Abstract

The Multi-scale Continuum and Line Exploration of W49 is a comprehensive gas and dust survey of the giant molecular cloud (GMC) of W49A, the most luminous star-formation region in the Milky Way. The project covers, for the first time, the entire GMC at different scales and angular resolutions. In this paper, we present (1) an all-configuration Submillimeter Array mosaic in the 230 GHz (1.3 mm) band covering the central ~3' × 3' (~10 pc, known as W49N), where most of the embedded massive stars reside and (2) Purple Mountain Observatory 14 m telescope observations in the 90 GHz band, covering the entire GMC with maps of up to ~35' × 35' in size, or ~113 pc. We also make use of archival data from the Very Large Array, JCMT-SCUBA, the IRAM 30 m telescope, and the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory BOLOCAM Galactic Plane Survey. We derive the basic physical parameters of the GMC at all scales. Our main findings are as follows. (1) The W49 GMC is one of the most massive in the Galaxy, with a total mass M gas ~ 1.1 × 106 M ☉ within a radius of 60 pc. Within a radius of 6 pc, the total gas mass is M gas ~ 2 × 105 M ☉. At these scales, only ~1% of the material is photoionized. The mass reservoir is sufficient to form several young massive clusters (YMCs) as massive as a globular cluster. (2) The mass of the GMC is distributed in a hierarchical network of filaments. At scales <10 pc, a triple, centrally condensed structure peaks toward the ring of HC H II regions in W49N. This structure extends to scales from ~10 to 100 pc through filaments that radially converge toward W49N and its less-prominent neighbor W49S. The W49A starburst most likely formed from global gravitational contraction with localized collapse in a "hub-filament" geometry. (3) Currently, feedback from the central YMCs (with a present mass M cl >~ 5 × 104 M ☉) is still not enough to entirely disrupt the GMC, but further stellar mass growth could be enough to allow radiation pressure to clear the cloud and halt star formation. (4) The resulting stellar content will probably remain as a gravitationally bound massive star cluster or a small system of bound clusters.

Abstract

The Multi-scale Continuum and Line Exploration of W49 is a comprehensive gas and dust survey of the giant molecular cloud (GMC) of W49A, the most luminous star-formation region in the Milky Way. The project covers, for the first time, the entire GMC at different scales and angular resolutions. In this paper, we present (1) an all-configuration Submillimeter Array mosaic in the 230 GHz (1.3 mm) band covering the central ~3' × 3' (~10 pc, known as W49N), where most of the embedded massive stars reside and (2) Purple Mountain Observatory 14 m telescope observations in the 90 GHz band, covering the entire GMC with maps of up to ~35' × 35' in size, or ~113 pc. We also make use of archival data from the Very Large Array, JCMT-SCUBA, the IRAM 30 m telescope, and the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory BOLOCAM Galactic Plane Survey. We derive the basic physical parameters of the GMC at all scales. Our main findings are as follows. (1) The W49 GMC is one of the most massive in the Galaxy, with a total mass M gas ~ 1.1 × 106 M ☉ within a radius of 60 pc. Within a radius of 6 pc, the total gas mass is M gas ~ 2 × 105 M ☉. At these scales, only ~1% of the material is photoionized. The mass reservoir is sufficient to form several young massive clusters (YMCs) as massive as a globular cluster. (2) The mass of the GMC is distributed in a hierarchical network of filaments. At scales <10 pc, a triple, centrally condensed structure peaks toward the ring of HC H II regions in W49N. This structure extends to scales from ~10 to 100 pc through filaments that radially converge toward W49N and its less-prominent neighbor W49S. The W49A starburst most likely formed from global gravitational contraction with localized collapse in a "hub-filament" geometry. (3) Currently, feedback from the central YMCs (with a present mass M cl >~ 5 × 104 M ☉) is still not enough to entirely disrupt the GMC, but further stellar mass growth could be enough to allow radiation pressure to clear the cloud and halt star formation. (4) The resulting stellar content will probably remain as a gravitationally bound massive star cluster or a small system of bound clusters.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:December 2013
Deposited On:11 Feb 2014 12:33
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:32
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN:0004-637X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/779/2/121

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