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Molecular clouds toward RCW49 and westerlund 2: Evidence for cluster formation triggered by cloud-cloud collision


Furukawa, N and Dawson, JR and Ohama, A and Kawamura, A and Mizuno, N and Onishi, T and Fukui, Y, Molecular clouds toward RCW49 and westerlund 2: Evidence for cluster formation triggered by cloud-cloud collision, The Astrophysical Journal: An International Review of Astronomy and Astronomical Physics, 696, (2) pp. L115-L119. ISSN 0004-637X (2009) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2009 The American Astronomical Society.

DOI: doi:10.1088/0004-637X/696/2/L115


We have made CO(J = 2-1) observations toward the H ii region RCW 49 and its ionizing source, the rich stellar cluster Westerlund 2, with the NANTEN2 submillimeter telescope. These observations have revealed that two molecular clouds in velocity ranges of 11 to +9 km s1 and 11 to 21 km s1, respectively, show remarkably good spatial correlations with the Spitzer IRAC mid-infrared image of RCW 49, as well a velocity structures indicative of localized expansion around the bright central regions and stellar cluster. This strongly suggests that the two clouds are physically associated with RCW 49. We obtain a new kinematic distance estimate to RCW 49 and Wd2 of 5.4+1.11.4 kpc, based on the mean velocity and velocity spread of the associated gas. We argue that the acceleration of the gas by stellar winds from Westerlund 2 is insufficient to explain the entire observed velocity dispersion of the molecular gas, and suggest a scenario in which a collision between the two clouds ~4 Myr ago may have triggered the formation of the stellar cluster.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:H II regions; ISM: clouds; ISM: individual (RCW 49); open clusters and associations: individual (Westerlund 2)
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:Galactic astronomy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Dawson, JR (Dr Joanne Dawson)
ID Code:75003
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:140
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2011-12-23
Last Modified:2012-04-13

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