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RCW 49 at Mid-Infrared Wavelengths: A Glimpse from the Spitzer Space Telescope


Churchwell, E and Whitney, BA and Babler, BL and Indebetouw, R and Meade, MR and Watson, C and Wolff, MJ and Wolfire, MG and Bania, TM and Benjamin, RA and Clemens, DP and Cohen, M and Devine, KE and Dickey, JM and Heitsch, F and Jackson, JM and Kobulnicky, HA and Marston, AP and Mathis, JS and Mercer, EP and Stauffer, JR and Stolovy, SR, RCW 49 at Mid-Infrared Wavelengths: A Glimpse from the Spitzer Space Telescope, The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 154, (1) pp. 322-327. ISSN 0067-0049 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1086/422504


The luminous, massive star formation region RCW 49, located in the southern Galactic plane, was imaged with the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) on the Spitzer Space Telescope as part of the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire (GLIMPSE) program. The IRAC bands contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) features at 3.3, 6.2, 7.7, and 8.6 μm, as well as the Brα line. These features are the major contributors to the diffuse emission from RCW 49 in the IRAC bands. The Spitzer IRAC images show that the dust in RCW 49 is distributed in a network of fine filaments, pillars, knots, sharply defined boundaries, bubbles, and bow shocks. The regions immediately surrounding the ionizing star cluster and W-R stars are evacuated of dust by stellar winds and radiation. The IRAC images of RCW 49 suggest that the dust in RCW 49 has been sculpted by the winds and radiation from the embedded luminous stars in the inner 5′ (inner ∼6 pc) of the nebula. At projected angular radii φ > 5′ from the central ionizing cluster, the azimuthally averaged infrared intensity falls off as ∼φ-3. Both high-resolution radio and mid-IR images suggest that the nebula is density bounded along its western boundary. The filamentary structure of the dust in RCW 49 suggests that the nebula has a small dust filling factor and, as a consequence, the entire nebula may be slightly density bounded to H-ionizing photons.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
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:Dickey, JM (Professor John Dickey)
ID Code:35934
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:85
Deposited By:Physics
Deposited On:2005-09-20
Last Modified:2011-11-29

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