10 MK gas in M17 and the Rosette Nebula: X-ray flows in galactic H II regions

Leisa K. Townsley, Eric D. Feigelson, Thierry Montmerle, Patrick S. Broos, You Hua Chu, Gordon P. Garmire

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We present the first high spatial resolution X-ray images of two high-mass star forming regions, the Omega Nebula (M17) and the Rosette Nebula (NGC 2237-2246), obtained with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer instrument. The massive clusters powering these H II regions are resolved at the arcsecond level into more than 900 (M17) and 300 (Rosette) stellar sources similar to those seen in closer young stellar clusters. However, we also detect soft diffuse X-ray emission on parsec scales that is spatially and spectrally distinct from the point-source population. The diffuse emission has luminosity LX ≃ 3.4 × 1033 ergs s -1 in M17 with plasma energy components at kT ≃ 0.13 and ≃0.6 keV (1.5 and 7 MK), while in Rosette it has LX ≃ 6 × 1032 ergs s-1 with plasma energy components at kT ≃ 0.06 and ≃0.8 keV (0.7 and 9 MK). This extended emission most likely arises from the fast O star winds thermalized either by wind-wind collisions or by a termination shock against the surrounding media. We establish that only a small portion of the wind energy and mass appears in the observed diffuse X-ray plasma; in these blister H II regions, we suspect that most of it flows without cooling into the low-density interstellar medium. These data provide compelling observational evidence that strong wind shocks are present in H II regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)874-905
Number of pages32
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Aug 20 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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