Isolated, massive supergiants near the galactic center

M. P. Muno, G. C. Bower, A. J. Burgasser, F. K. Baganoff, M. R. Morris, W. N. Brandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We have carried out a pilot project to assess the feasibility of using radio, infrared, and X-ray emission to identify young, massive stars located between 1 and 25 pc from the Galactic center. We first compared catalogs compiled from the VLA, Chandra, and 2MASS. We identified two massive, young stars: the previously identified star that is associated with the radio H II region H2 and a newly identified star that we refer to as CXOGC J174516.1-290315. The infrared spectra of both stars exhibit very strong Brγ and He i lines and resemble those of massive supergiants that have evolved off of the main sequence but not yet reached the Wolf-Rayet phase. We estimate that each star has a bolometric luminosity ≃106 L⊙ These two stars are also associated with bright mid-infrared sources from the MSX survey, although the origin of this emission is uncertain. Likewise, the detection of these two sources in X-rays is surprising because stars at similar evolutionary states are not uniformly bright X-ray sources. Therefore, we suggest that both stars are in binary systems that contain either OB stars whose winds collide with those of the luminous supergiants or compact objects that are accreting from the winds of the supergiants. We also identify X-ray emission from a nitrogen-type Wolf-Rayet star and place upper limits on the X-ray luminosities of three more evolved, massive stars that previously have been identified between 1 and 25 pc from Sgr A*. Finally, we briefly discuss the implications that future searches for young stars will have for our understanding of the recent history of star formation near the Galactic center.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Feb 10 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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