Astrophys. J., 744, 87 (2012/January-2)
Age spread in W3 Main: large binocular Telescope/LUCI near-infrared spectroscopy of the massive stellar content.
BIK A., HENNING Th., STOLTE A., BRANDNER W., GOULIERMIS D.A., GENNARO M., PASQUALI A., ROCHAU B., BEUTHER H., AGEORGES N., SEIFERT W., WANG Y. and KUDRYAVTSEVA N.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present near-infrared multi-object spectroscopy and JHKsimaging of the massive stellar content of the Galactic star-forming region W3 Main, obtained with LUCI at the Large Binocular Telescope. We confirm 15 OB stars in W3 Main and derive spectral types between O5V and B4V from their absorption line spectra. Three massive young stellar objects are identified by their emission line spectra and near-infrared excess. The color-color diagram of the detected sources allows a detailed investigation of the slope of the near-infrared extinction law toward W3 Main. Analysis of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram suggests that the Nishiyama extinction law fits the stellar population of W3 Main best (E(J - H)/E(H - Ks) = 1.76 and RKs = 1.44). From our spectrophotometric analysis of the massive stars and the nature of their surrounding H II regions, we derive the evolutionary sequence of W3 Main and we find evidence of an age spread of at least 2-3 Myr. While the most massive star (IRS2) is already evolved, indications for high-mass pre-main-sequence evolution are found for another star (IRS N1), deeply embedded in an ultracompact H II (UCH II) region, in line with the different evolutionary phases observed in the corresponding H II regions. We derive a stellar mass of W3 Main of (4±1)x103 M☉ by extrapolating from the number of OB stars using a Kroupa initial mass function and correcting for our spectroscopic incompleteness. We have detected the photospheres of OB stars from the more evolved diffuse H II region to the much younger UCH II regions, suggesting that these stars have finished their formation and cleared away their circumstellar disks very fast. Only in the hyper-compact H II region (IRS5) do the early-type stars seem to be still surrounded by circumstellar material.
H II regions - infrared: stars - stars: formation - stars: massive - techniques: spectroscopic
Tables: [OTN2004] W 3 IRS AN (Nos N5-N8) added.
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