The W3~IRS5 Cluster: Radio Continuum and Water Maser Observations

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Session 49 -- Star Formation
Display presentation, Thursday, January 13, 9:30-6:45, Salons I/II Room (Crystal Gateway)

[49.09] The W3~IRS5 Cluster: Radio Continuum and Water Maser Observations

M. J Claussen (NRAO-AOC), R. A. Gaume, K. J. Johnston (NRL), T. L. Wilson (MPIfR)

High-sensitivity and angular resolution observations of the radio continuum toward W3~IRS~5, along with observations of strong water masers have been made with the VLA. At least seven distinct radio continuum sources have been discovered, which are most likely a cluster of B0.5 - B0 stars with ionized stellar winds. This is in contrast to previous interpretations of observational data, which suggested that IRS~5 is a single massive protostar with bolometric luminosity of $2\times 10^5$ L\sun. The spatial distribution of the water masers roughly follows that of the radio sources; and these masers show a gradient in radial velocity similar to that found in a larger-scale molecular outflow. We suggest that previously observed, multi-component absorption in CO infrared transitions traces outflows from the several stellar wind sources, rather than episodic outbursts from a single source.

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