Probing the close environment of massive young stars with spectro-astrometry

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Grave, J. M. C. ; Kumar, M. S. N. (2006)

Aims: We test the technique of spectro-astrometry as a potential method to investigate the close environment of massive young stars. Method: Archival VLT near infrared K band spectra (R=8900) of three massive young stellar objects and one Wolf-Rayet star are examined for spectro-astrometric signatures. The young stellar objects display emission lines such as Brackett gamma, CO 2-0 and CO 3-1 that are characteristic of ionised regions and molecular disks respectively. Two of the sample sources also display emission lines such as NIII and MgII that are characteristic of high temperatures. Results: Most of the emission lines show spectro-astrometric signal at various levels resulting in different positional displacements. The shapes and magnitudes of the positional displacements imply the presence of large disk/envelopes in emission and expanding shells of ionised gas. The results obtained for the source 18006-2422nr766 in particular provide larger estimates (> 300AU) on CO emitting regions indicating that in MYSOs CO may arise from inner regions of extended dense envelopes as well. Conclusions: The overall results from this study demonstrate the utility of spectro-astrometry as a potential method to constrain the sizes of various physical entities such as disks/envelopes, UCHII regions and/or ionised shells in the close environment of a massive young star.
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