VLT/NACO near-infrared imaging and spectroscopy of N88A in the SMC


G. Testor (1), J.L. Lemaire (1,2), M. Heydari-Malayeri (1), L. E. Kristensen (3), S.Diana (2), D. Field (4)

1 - LERMA, UMR 8112 du CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon, France
2 - Universit'e de Cergy-Pontoise, 95031 Cergy Cedex, France
3 - Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, Niels Bohrweg 2, 2333 CA Leiden, The Netherlands
4 - Department of Physics and Astronomy, Arhus University, 8000 Arhus C, Denmark.

We present near-infrared imaging and spectroscopic high spatial resolution observations of the SMC region N88 containing the bright, excited, extincted and compact H II region N88A of size ~ 1 pc. To investigate its stellar content and reddening, N88 was observed using spectroscopy and imagery in the JHKs- and L'-band at a spatial resolution of ~ 0.1-0.3", using the VLT UT4 equipped with the NAOS adaptive optics system. In order to attempt to establish if the origin of the infra-red (IR) excess is due to bright nebulosity, circumstellar material and/or local dust, we used Ks vs J-K colour-magnitude (CM) and JHK colour-colour (CC) diagrams, as well as L' imagery. Our IR-data reveal in the N88 area an IR-excess fraction of >= 30 per cent of the detected stars, as well as an unprecedently detailed morphology of N88A. It consists of an embedded cluster of ~ 3.5" (~1 pc) in diameter, of at least thirteen resolved stars superposed with an unusual bright continuum centered on a very bright star. The four brightest stars in this cluster lie red-ward of H-K >= 0.45 mag, and could be classified as young stellar object (YSO) candidates. Four other probable YSO candidates are also detected in N88 along a south-north bow-shaped thin H_2 filament at ~ 7" east of the young central bright star. At 0.2" east of this star, a heavily embedded core is detected in the L'-band that could be a massive class I protostar candidate. The 2.12 ┬Ám H_2 image of N88A resembles a shell of diameter ~ 3" (~ 0.9 pc) centered on the bright star. The line ratios of H_2 2-1 S(1) and 1-0 S(0) relative to 1-0 S(1), as well as the presence of high v lines, are indicative of photodissociation regions, rather than shocks.

Reference: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Status: Manuscript has been accepted

Weblink: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0911.5490

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Email: gerard.testor@obspm.fr