EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 365, Number 2, January II 2001
Page(s) 165 - 173
Section Diffuse matter in space
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20000329

A&A 365, 165-173 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20000329

The origin of molecular protostellar outflows

I. Contopoulos1 and C. Sauty2 .

1  Physics Department, University of Crete, PO Box 2208, Heraklion 71003, Greece
2  Observatoire de Paris, Université de Paris 7, DAEC, 92190 Meudon, Paris, France

(Received 11 August 2000 / Accepted 4 October 2000 )

We study the geometry of the large scale magnetic field threading the centrifugally supported circumstellar disk that forms in the inner few hundred AU of a dynamically collapsing protostellar molecular cloud core. The disk is highly turbulent, therefore highly diffusive, thus unable by itself to sufficiently stretch and bend the large scale magnetic field so as to launch magnetically driven winds from its surface. However, when we take proper account of the fact that the magnetic field is already highly stretched and bent in the outside dynamically collapsing cloud core, we discover that this contributes to significant outward magnetic field bending around the outer edge of the inner protoplanetary disk too. We obtain the field geometry self-consistently under general simplifying approximations. We also show how this magnetic field geometry leads naturally to strong magneto-centrifugally driven outflows from the surface of the disk, with mass loss rates a significant fraction of the accretion rate onto the inner disk. Our simple picture describes naturally the origin of the molecular winds observed during the end stages of protostellar cloud collapse.

Key words: MHD -stars: winds, outflows -ISM: jets and outflows

Offprint request: I. Contopoulos

© ESO 2001