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Astron. Astrophys. 320, 594-604 (1997)


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Star formation in the S 235 A-B complex

Marcello Felli 1, Leonardo Testi 2, Riccardo Valdettaro 1 and Jun-Jie Wang 1, 3

1 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Astronomia e Scienza dello Spazio, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Largo E. Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy
3 Beijing Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, P.R. China

Received 27 March 1996 / Accepted 3 June 1996

Abstract

We present near infrared broad band (J,H and K) and narrow band (H2  S [FORMULA] and Br [FORMULA]) images, and high resolution molecular observations (C34 S(2-1), (3-2), (5-4) and 13 CO(2-1)) around the highly variable H2 O maser located between the S 235 A and B optical nebulosities. These observations are part of an on-going search for the sources of excitation of H2 O masers in regions of star formation or, alternatively, for the earliest evolutionary phases of massive stars.

We confirm the presence of a highly obscured stellar cluster between S 235 A and B and, from the colour-colour analysis, we show that the cluster contains many sources with infrared excess, which are believed to be Young Stellar Objects (YSOs) in an early evolutionary stage.

Diffuse Br [FORMULA] emission is found mainly in the vicinity of S 235 A, and unresolved Br [FORMULA] emission is found coincident with S 235 B. Hot molecular hydrogen emission is distributed around the S 235 A nebula, especially in a belt-like region to the south of S 235 A, at the edge of the HII region.

The driving source of the H2 O maser does not appear to be either the YSO inside S 235 A or S 235 B, but is identified with a faint near infrared member of the cluster, with a large (H-K) colour excess, located near the position of the maser. A hot dust envelope around an early type star may be the source of the near IR emission. This identification is supported by the coincidence of the maser and the near IR source with the center of a high density and compact molecular core observed in C34 S and 13 CO. The lack of radio continuum emission from the area around the maser suggests that the star powering the maser and responsible for the near IR emission must be in a very early evolutionary stage, highly obscured even at K band and surrounded by an envelope with such a high density that any radio continuum emission is strongly self-absorbed. In any case the evolutionary status of such a star is much earlier than those of the exciting stars of S 235 A and S 235 B. Strong variability of the maser emission and large velocity differences of the maser features with respect to the molecular cloud velocity imply the presence of highly collimated, energetic and short duration jet activity in this YSO. The more evolved members of the cluster S 235 A and S 235 B lie on the sides of the molecular core, suggesting that star formation in the cluster is not coeval but proceeds from the outside towards the core of the molecular cloud.

Key words: ISM: molecules – star formation – infrared: stars – ISM: individuals: S 235 – infrared: ISM: lines – radio lines: ISM

Send offprint requests to: M. Felli

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: June 30, 1998

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