A bow shock of heated dust surrounding galactic center source IRS 8

T. R. Geballe, F. Rigaut, J. R. Roy, B. T. Draine

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High-resolution images in the H and K bands obtained by the Gemini North Telescope of the peculiar Galactic center source, IRS 8, reveal a central pointlike object enveloped in a remarkable bow shock, whose apex is located 0″.2 to the northeast. The H-K′ color of the bow shock is considerably redder than that of the central star. A United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) K-band spectrum reveals that the combined spectrum of the point source and bow shock is nearly featureless and that no shocked line emission (e.g., from H2) is physically associated with the bow. We interpret the bow as resulting from the interaction of the envelope or wind of the central star of IRS 8 with the extension of the northern arm of Sgr A West and/or the circumnuclear disk, and its emission as coming from radiatively heated, and possibly shock heated, dust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-775
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Feb 20 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxy: center
  • Infrared: ISM
  • Infrared: stars
  • Shock waves
  • Stars: winds, outflows


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