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Discovery of twin Wolf-Rayet stars powering double ring nebulae

Mauerhan, Jon C. and Wachter, Stefanie and Morris, Patrick W. and Van Dyk, Schuyler D. and Hoard, D. W. (2010) Discovery of twin Wolf-Rayet stars powering double ring nebulae. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 724 (1). L78-L83. ISSN 2041-8205.

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We have spectroscopically discovered a pair of twin, nitrogen-type, hydrogen-rich, Wolf-Rayet stars (WN8–9h) that are both surrounded by circular, mid-infrared-bright nebulae detected with the Spitzer Space Telescope and MIPS instrument. The emission is probably dominated by a thermal continuum from cool dust, but also may contain contributions from atomic line emission. There is no counterpart at shorter Spitzer/IRAC wavelengths, indicating a lack of emission from warm dust. The two nebulae are probably wind-swept stellar ejecta released by the central stars during a prior evolutionary phase. The nebulae partially overlap on the sky and we speculate on the possibility that they are in the early stage of a collision. Two other evolved massive stars have also been identified within the area subtended by the nebulae, including a carbon-type Wolf-Rayet star (WC8) and an O7–8 III–I star, the latter of which appears to be embedded in one of the larger WN8–9h nebulae. The derived distances to these stars imply that they are coeval members of an association lying 4.9 ± 1.2 kpc from Earth, near the intersection of the Galaxy’s Long Bar and the Scutum-Centaurus spiral arm. This new association represents an unprecedented display of complex interactions between multiple stellar winds, outflows, and the radiation fields of evolved massive stars.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Van Dyk, Schuyler D.0000-0001-9038-9950
Hoard, D. W.0000-0002-6800-6519
Additional Information:© 2010 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 August 23; accepted 2010 September 3; published 2010 November 2. We thank the referee, Dr. Wolf-Rainer Hamann, for helping to improve this manuscript. This research is based on observations made at the Hale Telescope, Palomar Observatory, a continuing collaboration between Caltech, NASA/JPL, and Cornell University.
Subject Keywords:circumstellar matter – stars: Wolf-Rayet
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:PACS: 97.30.Eh; 97.20.Rp; 98.38.Dq; 98.38.Cp; 98.38.Jw; 97.20.Jg
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20101215-111434361
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Jon C. Mauerhan et al 2010 ApJ 724 L78 doi: 10.1088/2041-8205/724/1/L78
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:21378
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:15 Dec 2010 20:59
Last Modified:17 Nov 2019 02:04

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