Surveying the Giant H II Regions of the Milky Way with SOFIA. III. W49A

December 2021 • 2021ApJ...923..198D

Authors • De Buizer, James M. • Lim, Wanggi • Liu, Mengyao • Karnath, Nicole • Radomski, James T.

Abstract • We present our third set of results from our mid-infrared imaging survey of Milky Way Giant H II regions with our detailed analysis of W49A, one of the most distant, yet most luminous, GH II regions in the Galaxy. We used the FORCAST instrument on the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) to obtain 20 and 37 μm images of the entire ~5.'0 × 3.'5 infrared-emitting area of W49A at a spatial resolution of ~3″. Utilizing these SOFIA data in conjunction with previous multiwavelength observations from the near-infrared to radio, including Spitzer-IRAC and Herschel-PACS archival data, we investigate the physical nature of individual infrared sources and subcomponents within W49A. For individual compact sources, we used the multiwavelength photometry data to construct spectral energy distributions (SEDs) and fit them with massive young stellar object (MYSO) SED models and find 22 sources that are likely to be MYSOs. Ten new sources are identified for the first time in this work. Even at 37 μm we are unable to detect infrared emission from the sources on the western side of the extremely extinguished ring of compact radio emission sources known as the Welch Ring. Utilizing multiwavelength data, we derived luminosity-to-mass ratio and virial parameters of the extended radio subregions of W49A to estimate their relative ages and find that overall the subcomponents of W49A have a very small spread in evolutionary state compared to our previously studied GH II regions.


IPAC Authors

Wanggi Lim

Assistant Scientist