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CAB Home » Radio astronomy » News » Publications - Discovery of Warm and Dense Molecular Gas Surrounding the Ring Nebula G79.29+0.46
Discovery of Warm and Dense Molecular Gas Surrounding the Ring Nebula G79.29+0.46

Rizzo, Jose Ricardo.; Jiménez-Esteban, F. M.; Ortiz, E.

We present for the first time the detection of mid-J CO line emission in the outskirts of an evolved massive star, which indicates the presence of warm and/or high-density molecular gas. Aiming to learn about the interplay between evolved massive stars and their surroundings, we have carried out CO J=2-->1, J=3-->2, and 13CO J=2-->1 line observations in a 4'×4' field around the ring nebula G79.29+0.46, which is illuminated by a strong LBV star candidate. The whole field shows extended predominant emission in both CO and 13CO J=2-->1 lines, which probably comes from the large cloud which contains the star-forming region DR 15. When this large-scale emission is removed, minor-scale features become evident, particularly in the CO J=3-->2 line, strikingly coincident with the ring nebula. The high critical density of CO J=3-->2 (some 104 cm-3) gives additional support for the association with the massive star, since high-density molecular gas has more chances to survive in such a harsh environment. This structure may have been produced by the cumulative effect of a strong steady wind in the LBV stage or earlier, which has compressed the surviving parent molecular cloud. In addition, immersed within this CO feature, we have also discovered a higher density clump (at least several ~105 cm-3), unresolved by the telescope and probably having a higher kinetic temperature. Toward the clump, the presence of a jump of 14-16 km s-1 in the gas velocity may indicate the existence of a shock front. This clump may have been created by at least one mass eruption, 103-104 yr ago. Thus, this work shows that not all the molecular gas is destroyed during massive star evolution, and consequently we are dealing with a new laboratory where one can learn about the mass-loss phenomena associated to the brief LBV stage.

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