Clustered star formation in W75 N

D. S. Shepherd, L. Testi, D. P. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We present 2″-7″ resolution 3 mm continuum and CO(J = 1-0) line emission and near-infrared Ks, H2, and [Fe II] images toward the massive star-forming region W75 N. The CO emission uncovers a complex morphology of multiple, overlapping outflows. A total flow mass of greater than 255 M extends 3 pc from end to end and is being driven by at least four late to early-B protostars. More than 10% of the molecular cloud has been accelerated to high velocities by the molecular flows (>5.2 km s-1 relative to vLSR and the mechanical energy in the outflowing gas is roughly half the gravitational binding energy of the cloud. The W75 N cluster members represent a range of evolutionary stages, from stars with no apparent circumstellar material to deeply embedded protostars that are actively powering massive outflows. Nine cores of millimeter-wavelength emission highlight the locations of embedded protostars in W75 N. The total mass of gas and dust associated with the millimeter cores ranges from 340 to 11 M. The infrared reflection nebula and shocked H2 emission have multiple peaks and extensions which, again, suggests the presence of several outflows. Diffuse H2 emission extends about 0.6 pc beyond the outer boundaries of the CO emission while the [Fe II] emission is only detected close to the protostars. The infrared line emission morphology suggests that only slow, nondissociative J-type shocks exist throughout the parsec-scale outflows. Fast, dissociative shocks, common in jet-driven low-mass outflows, are absent in W75 N. Thus, the energetics of the outflows from the late to early B protostars in W75 N differ from their low-mass counterparts - they do not appear to be simply scaled-up versions of low-mass outflows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-894
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Feb 20 2003


  • H II regions
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • ISM: molecules
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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