The parsec-scale environment and the evolutionary status of MWC 349A

Vladimir Strelnitski, John H. Bieging, Joseph Hora, Howard A. Smith, Peter Armstrong, Krister Lagergren, Gary Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We report on a study of the ∼10′ (∼5 pc in projection) environs of the peculiar, high-luminosity emission-line star MWC 349A in the IR, radio, and visible domains. Besides the recently discovered X-shaped, arcmin-scale IR nebula centered on MWC 349A ("X nebula"), with the kinematic age of ∼104 yr, we identify several young objects pointing toward an ongoing process of active star formation in this region and estimate some physical parameters of the newly discovered objects. The radiation of the X nebula is due to a geometrically and optically thin dust front heated to Td ≈ 60-70 K by the radiation of the central star. The bipolar dust front probably results from the interaction of a powerful stellar wind with the circumstellar disk. One of the related objects is an elongated, cold molecular cloud, ∼1 pc in size, adjacent to MWC 349A in projection and having the same radial velocity (V LSR ≈ +9 km s-1). The proximity of the molecular cloud may indicate that MWC 349A was born locally rather than being a runaway object ejected from the core of Cyg OB2 several Myr ago. If it is still associated with its natal cloud, MWC 349A may be a rare example of the observable pre-main-sequence stage of a ∼30 M ⊙star. If the association with the molecular cloud is an effect of projection, however, MWC 349A may already be an evolved star, even if it was born locally. We discuss future observations that may shed more light on the evolutionary status of this unique object.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number89
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 10 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • circumstellar matter
  • stars: emission-line, Be
  • stars: evolution
  • stars: individual (MWC 349, MWC 349A)
  • stars: winds, outflows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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