Journal Article

Mid-infrared diagnostics of metal-rich H <span class="smallCaps">ii</span> regions from VLT and <i>Spitzer</i> spectroscopy of young massive stars in W31*

J. P. Furness, P. A. Crowther, P. W. Morris, C. L. Barbosa, R. D. Blum, P. S. Conti and S. D. van Dyk

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 403, issue 3, pages 1433-1447
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Mid-infrared diagnostics of metal-rich H ii regions from VLT and Spitzer spectroscopy of young massive stars in W31*

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We present near-infrared Very Large Telescope/Infrared Spectrograph and Array Camera and mid-infrared (mid-IR) Spitzer/Infrared Spectrograph spectroscopy of the young massive cluster in the W31 star-forming region. H-band spectroscopy provides refined classifications for four cluster member O stars with respect to Blum et al. In addition, photospheric features are detected in the massive young stellar object (massive YSO) #26. Spectroscopy permits estimates of stellar temperatures and masses, from which a cluster age of ∼0.6 Myr and distance of 3.3 kpc are obtained, in excellent agreement with Blum et al. IRS spectroscopy reveals mid-IR fine structure line fluxes of [Ne ii–iii] and [S iii–iv] for four O stars and five massive YSOs. In common with previous studies, stellar temperatures of individual stars are severely underestimated from the observed ratios of fine-structure lines, despite the use of contemporary stellar atmosphere and photoionization models. We construct empirical temperature calibrations based upon the W31 cluster stars of known spectral type, supplemented by two inner Milky Way ultracompact (UC) H ii regions whose ionizing star properties are established. Calibrations involving [Ne iii] 15.5 μm/[Ne ii] 12.8 μm, [S iv] 10.5 μm/[Ne ii] 12.8 μm or [Ar iii] 9.0 μm/[Ne ii] 12.8 μm have application in deducing the spectral types of early to mid O stars for other inner Milky Way compact and UC H ii regions. Finally, evolutionary phases and time-scales for the massive stellar content in W31 are discussed, due to the presence of numerous young massive stars at different formation phases in a ‘coeval’ cluster.

Keywords: stars: early-type; stars: fundamental parameters; H ii regions; open clusters and associations: individual: W31 (G10.2–0.3); infrared: ISM

Journal Article.  10415 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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