EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 432, Number 1, March II 2005
Page(s) 149 - 160
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034439
Published online 22 February 2005

A&A 432, 149-160 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034439

Jet rotation: Launching region, angular momentum balance and magnetic properties in the bipolar outflow from RW Aur

J. Woitas1, F. Bacciotti2, T. P. Ray3, A. Marconi2, D. Coffey3 and J. Eislöffel1

1  Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany
    e-mail: woitas@tls-tautenburg.de
2  INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
3  School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland

(Received 3 October 2003 / Accepted 28 October 2004 )

Using STIS on board the HST we have obtained a spectroscopic map of the bipolar jet from RW Aur with the slit parallel to the jet axis and moved across the jet in steps of $0\farcs07$. After applying a velocity correction due to uneven slit illumination we find signatures of rotation within the first 300 AU of the jet (1 $\farcs$5 at the distance of RW Aur). Both lobes rotate in the same direction (i.e. with different helicities), with toroidal velocities in the range 5-30 km s -1 at 20 and 30 AU from the symmetry axis in the blueshifted and redshifted lobes, respectively. The sense of rotation is anti-clockwise looking from the tip of the blue lobe (PA 130 $^{\circ}$ north to east) down to the star. Rotation is more evident in the [OI] and [NII] lines and at the largest sampled distance from the axis. These results are consistent with other STIS observations carried out with the slit perpendicular to the jet axis, and with theoretical simulations.

Using current magneto-hydrodynamic models for the launch of the jets, we find that the mass ejected in the observed part of the outflow is accelerated from a region in the disk within about 0.5 AU from the star for the blue lobe, and within 1.6 AU from the star for the red lobe. Using also previous results we estimate upper and lower limits for the angular momentum transport rate of the jet. We find that this can be a large fraction (two thirds or more) of the estimated rate transported through the relevant portion of the disk. The magnetic lever arm (defined as the ratio $r_{\rm A}/r_0$ between the Alfvèn and footpoint radii) is in the range 3.5-4.6 (with an accuracy of 20-25%), or, alternatively, the ejection index $\xi = {\rm d}\ln ( \dot{M}_{{\rm acc}} ) / {\rm d} r $ is in the range 0.025-0.046 (with similar uncertainties). The derived values are in the range predicted by the models, but they also suggest that some heating must be provided at the base of the flow.

Finally, using the general disk wind theory we derive the ratio $B_{\phi} / B_{\rm p}$ of the toroidal and poloidal components of the magnetic field at the observed location (i.e. about 80-100 AU above the disk). We find this quantity to be $3.8 \pm 1.1$ at 30 AU from the axis in the red lobe and $-8.9 \pm 2.7$ at 20 AU from the axis in the blue lobe (assuming cylindrical coordinates centred on the star and with positive z along the blue lobe). The toroidal component appears to be dominant, which would be consistent with magnetic collimation of the jet. The field appears to be more tightly wrapped on the blue side.

Key words: ISM: Herbig-Haro objects -- ISM: jets and outflows -- stars: formation -- stars: pre-main sequence -- stars: individual: RW Aur

SIMBAD Objects

© ESO 2005

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