Compact mid-IR sources east of Galactic Center source IRS5

Perger, M.; Moultaka, J.; Eckart, A.; Viehmann, T.; Schödel, R.; Muzic, K.
Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 478, Issue 1, January IV 2008, pp.127-135


Aims:Mid-infrared observations of the Galactic Center show among the extended mini-spiral a number of compact sources. Their nature is of interest because they represent an interaction of luminous stars with the mini-spiral material or mass losing sources that are enshrouded in dust and gas shells. Characterizing their nature is necessary to obtain a complete picture of the different stellar populations and the star formation history of the cental stellar cluster in general. Prominent compact MIR sources in the Galactic Center are either clearly offset from the mini-spiral (e.g. the M2 super-giant IRS 7 and the bright dust enshrouded IRS 3) or have been identified earlier with bright bow shock sources (e.g. IRS 21, 1W, 10W and IRS 5). There are, however, four less prominent compact sources east of IRS 5, the natures of which were unclear until now.
Methods: We present near-infrared K-band long slit spectroscopy of the four sources east of IRS 5 obtained with the ISAAC spectrograph at the ESO VLT in July 2005. We interpret the data in combination with high angular resolution NIR and MIR images obtained with ISAAC and NACO at the ESO VLT.
Results: The K'-band images and proper motions show that the sources are multiple. For all but one source we find dominant contributions from late type stars with best overall fits to template stars with temperatures below 5000 K.
Conclusions: The brightest sources contained in IRS 5NE, 5E and 5S may be asymptotic giant branch stars and a part of the MIR excess may be due to dust shells produced by the individual sources. However, in all cases an interaction with the mini-spiral cannot be excluded and their broad band infrared SEDs indicate that they could be lower luminosity counterparts of the identified bow shock sources. In fact, IRS 5SE is associated with a faint bow shock and its spectrum shows contributions from a hotter early type star which supports such a classification.