Wright, NJ and Wesson, R and Drew, JE and Barentsen, G and Barlow, MJ (2014) The ionized nebula surrounding the red supergiant W26 in Westerlund 1. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 437 (1). pp. 1-5. ISSN 1365-2966

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Abstract

We present Hα images of an ionized nebula surrounding the M2-5Ia red supergiant (RSG) W26 in the massive star cluster Westerlund 1. The nebula consists of a circumstellar shell or ring ∼0.1 pc in diameter and a triangular nebula ∼0.2 pc from the star that in high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope images shows a complex filamentary structure. The excitation mechanism of both regions is unclear since RSGs are too cool to produce ionizing photons and we consider various possibilities. The presence of the nebula, high stellar luminosity and spectral variability suggests that W26 is a highly evolved RSG experiencing extreme levels of mass-loss. As the only known example of an ionized nebula surrounding an RSG W26 deserves further attention to improve our understanding of the final evolutionary stages of massive stars.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article was accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2013, published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: circumstellar matter, stars, individual, W26, mass-loss, supergiants, winds, outflows
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB460 Astrophysics
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Physical and Geographical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2016 15:29
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2017 11:53
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/2629

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