Bispectrum speckle interferometry of the massive protostellar outflow source IRAS 23151+5912

G. Weigelt, H. Beuther, K.-H. Hofmann, M.R. Meyer, Th. Preibisch, D. Schertl, M.D. Smith, & E.T. Young

Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 447, pp.655-665 (2006)


We present bispectrum speckle interferometry of the massive protostellar object IRAS 23151+5912, in the near-infrared K' band. The reconstructed image shows the diffuse nebulosity north-east of two point-like sources in unprecedented detail. The comparison of our near-infrared image with mm continuum and CO molecular line maps shows that the brighter of the two point sources lies near the center of the mm peak, indicating that it is a high-mass protostar. The nebulosity coincides with the blue-shifted molecular outflow component. The most prominent feature in the nebulosity is a bow-shock-like arc. We assume that this feature is associated with a precessing jet which has created an inward-pointed cone in the swept-up material. We present numerical jet simulations that reproduce this and several other features observed in our speckle image of the nebulosity. Our data also reveal a linear structure connecting the central point source to the extended diffuse nebulosity. This feature may represent the innermost part of a jet that drives the strong molecular outflow (PA ∼ 80°) from IRAS 23151+5912. With the aid of radiative transfer calculations, we demonstrate that, in general, the observed inner structures of the circumstellar material surrounding high-mass stars are strongly influenced by the orientation and symmetry of the bipolar cavity.

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