The standard model of low-mass star formation applied to massive stars: multiwavelength modelling of IRAS 20126+4104

Katharine G. Johnston, Eric Keto, Thomas P. Robitaille, Kenneth Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In order to investigate whether massive stars form similarly to their low-mass counterparts, we have used the standard envelope plus disc geometry successfully applied to low-mass protostars to model the near-IR to submillimetre spectral energy distribution (SED) and several mid-IR images of the embedded massive star IRAS 20126+4104. We have used a Monte Carlo radiative transfer dust code to model the continuum absorption, emission and scattering through two azimuthally symmetric dust geometries, the first consisting of a rotationally flattened envelope with outflow cavities, and the second which also includes a flared accretion disc. Our results show that the envelope plus disc model reproduces the observed SED and images more accurately than the model without a disc, although the latter model more closely reproduces the morphology of the mid-IR emission within a radius of 1.1 arcsec or similar to 1800 au. We have put forward several possible causes of this discontinuity, including inner truncation of the disc due to stellar irradiation or precession of the outflow cavity. Our best-fitting envelope plus disc model has a disc radius of 9200 au. We find that it is unlikely that the outer regions of such a disc would be in hydrostatic or centrifugal equilibrium, however we calculate that the temperatures within the disc would keep it stable to fragmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2953-2968
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume415
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2011

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