EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 485, Number 3, July III 2008
Page(s) 765 - 772
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200809621
Published online 06 May 2008

A&A 485, 765-772 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200809621

Diagnostics of inhomogeneous stellar jets

Convolution effects and data reconstruction
F. De Colle1, C. del Burgo1, and A. C. Raga2

1  Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland
    e-mail: fdc@cp.dias.ie
2  Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ap.P. 70543, 04510 DF, Mexico
    e-mail: raga@nucleares.unam.mx

Received 20 February 2008 / Accepted 29 April 2008

Context. In the interpretation of stellar jet observations, the physical parameters are usually determined from emission line ratios, obtained from spectroscopic observations or using the information contained in narrow band images. The basic hypothesis in the interpretation of the observations is that the emitting region is homogeneous along the line of sight. Actually, stellar jets are in general not homogeneous, and therefore line of sight convolution effects may lead to the main uncertainty in the determination of the physical parameters.
Aims. This paper is aimed at showing the systematic errors introduced when assuming an homogeneous medium, and studying the effect of an inhomogeneous medium on plasma diagnostics for the case of a stellar jet. In addition, we explore how to reconstruct the volumetric physical parameters of the jet (i.e., with dependence both across and along the line of sight).
Methods. We use standard techniques to determine the physical parameters, i.e., the electron density, temperature and hydrogen ionisation fraction across the jet, and a multi-Gaussian method to invert the Abel transform and determine the reconstructed physical structure.
Results. When assuming an homogeneous medium the physical parameters, integrated along the line of sight, do not represent the average of the true values, and do not have a clear physical interpretation. We show that when some information is available on the emissivity profile across the jet, it is then possible to derive the volumetric electron density, temperature and ionisation fraction.

Key words: ISM: Herbig-Haro objects -- ISM: jets and outflows -- techniques: image processing -- methods: data analysis -- stars: pre-main sequence

© ESO 2008