Infrared observations of the flaring maser source G358.93-0.03 -- SOFIA confirms an accretion burst from a massive young stellar object

5 Jan 2021  ·  B. Stecklum, V. Wolf, H. Linz, A. Caratti o Garatti, S. Schmidl, S. Klose, J. Eislöffel, Ch. Fischer, C. Brogan, R. Burns, O. Bayandina, C. Cyganowski, M. Gurwell, T. Hunter, N. Hirano, K. -T. Kim, G. MacLeod, K. M. Menten, M. Olech, G. Orosz, A. Sobolev, T. K. Sridharan, G. Surcis, K. Sugiyama, J. van der Walt, A. Volvach, Y. Yonekura ·

Class II methanol masers are signs of massive young stellar objects (MYSOs). Recent findings show that MYSO accretion bursts cause flares of these masers... Thus, maser monitoring can be used to identify such bursts. Burst-induced SED changes provide valuable information on a very intense phase of high-mass star formation. In mid-January 2019, a maser flare of the MYSO G358.93-0.03 was reported. ALMA and SMA imaging resolved the core of the star forming region and proved the association of the masers with the brightest continuum source MM1. However, no significant flux rise of the (sub)mm dust continuum was found. Thus, we performed NIR imaging with GROND and IFU spectroscopy with FIFI-LS aboard SOFIA to detect possible counterparts to the (sub)mm sources, and compare their photometry to archival measurements. The comparison of pre-burst and burst SEDs is of crucial importance to judge whether a luminosity increase due to the burst is present and if it triggered the maser flare. The FIR fluxes of MM1 measured with FIFI-LS exceed those from Herschel significantly, which clearly confirms the presence of an accretion burst. The second epoch data, taken about 16 months later, still show increased fluxes. Our RT modeling yielded major burst parameters and suggests that the MYSO features a circumstellar disk which might be transient. From the multi-epoch SEDs, conclusions on heating and cooling time-scales could be drawn. Circumstances of the burst-induced maser relocation have been explored. The verification of the accretion burst from G358 is another confirmation that Class II methanol maser flares represent an alert for such events. The few events known to date already indicate that there is a broad range in burst strength and duration as well as environmental characteristics. The G358 event is the shortest and least luminous MYSO accretion burst so far. read more

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Solar and Stellar Astrophysics