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Tim Kendall's Extreme Astrophysics

Clustering of massive young stellar objects: the case of MWC 1080

16 Feb 2019, 16:04 UTC
Clustering of massive young stellar objects: the case of MWC 1080
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MWC 1080 is a young star with about 8 times the mass of our Sun and about 10,000 times the luminosity of the Sun. It has an age of less than 1 Myr and distance ~2 kpc. MWC 1080 is embedded in a dark cloud and illuminates a bright nebulosity. Previous studies reported a handful of young low-mass stars associated with MWC 1080. For the first time MWC 1080 has now been observed with high-spatial resolution from the ground using adaptive optics. An alternative image from the Palomar telescope is here.

The new adaptive optics observations reveal that the nebulosity is quite symmetric and is shaped like an hourglass viewed from its side. The color gradients (blue to red) visible in the adaptive optics image are typical signatures of scattered light and indicate that the hourglass is actually a hollow structure illuminated from within by MWC 1080. Fast bipolar outflows have removed cloud material along the axis of the hourglass and cleared the view to less massive stars associated with MWC 1080. The new observations suggest that up to 100 faint, young low-mass objects cluster around MWC 1080, i.e. ten times as many stars as had previously been assumed. The ...

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