The extraordinary outburst in the massive protostellar system NGC 6334 I-MM1 : strong increase in mid-infrared continuum emission
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In recent years, dramatic outbursts have been identified toward massive protostars via infrared and millimeter dust continuum and molecular maser emission. The longest lived outburst (>6 yr) persists in NGC 6334 I-MM1, a deeply embedded object with no near-IR counterpart. Using FORCAST and HAWC+ on SOFIA, we have obtained the first mid-IR images of this field since the outburst began. Despite being undetected in pre-outburst ground-based 18 μm images, MM1 is now the brightest region at all three wavelengths (25, 37, and 53 μm), exceeding the UCHII region MM3 (NGC 6334 F). Combining the SOFIA data with ALMA imaging at four wavelengths, we construct a spectral energy distribution of the combination of MM1 and the nearby hot core MM2. The best-fit Robitaille radiative transfer model yields a luminosity of (4.9 ± 0.8) × 104 L⊙. Accounting for an estimated pre-outburst luminosity ratio MM1:MM2 = 2.1 ± 0.4, the luminosity of MM1 has increased by a factor of 16.3 ± 4.4. The pre-outburst luminosity implies a protostar of mass 6.7 M⊙, which can produce the ionizing photon rate required to power the pre-outburst HCHII region surrounding the likely outbursting protostar MM1B. The total energy and duration of the outburst exceed the S255IR-NIRS3 outburst by a factor of 3, suggesting a different scale of event involving expansion of the protostellar photosphere (to 20 R⊙), thereby supporting a higher accretion rate (0.0023 M⊙ yr−1) and reducing the ionizing photon rate. In the grid of hydrodynamic models of Meyer et al., the combination of outburst luminosity and magnitude (3) places the NGC 6334 I-MM1 event in the region of moderate total accretion (~0.1–0.3 M⊙) and hence long duration (~40–130 yr).
Hunter , T R , Brogan , C L , De Buizer , J M , Towner , A P M , Dowell , C D , Macleod , G C , Stecklum , B , Cyganowski , C J , El-Abd , S J & McGuire , B A 2021 , ' The extraordinary outburst in the massive protostellar system NGC 6334 I-MM1 : strong increase in mid-infrared continuum emission ' , Astrophysical Journal Letters , vol. 912 , no. 1 , L17 . https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/abf6d9
Astrophysical Journal Letters
Copyright © 2021 American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/abf6d9.
DescriptionFinancial support for this work was provided by NASA through award #07_0156 issued by USRA. Based in part on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO program 089.C-0852(A).
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