EDP Sciences
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Volume 487, Number 2, August IV 2008
Page(s) 605 - 610
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200810308
Published online 24 June 2008

A&A 487, 605-610 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200810308

The direction of outflows from filaments: constraints on core formation

S. Anathpindika and A. P. Whitworth

School of Physics & Astronomy, Cardiff University, 5 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AA, Wales, UK
    e-mail: [Sumedh.Anathpindika;Anthony.Whitworth]@astro.cf.ac.uk

Received 2 June 2008 / Accepted 18 June 2008

Context. It is generally presumed that the outflows from a YSO are directed close to its rotation axis (i.e. along its angular momentum vector and orthogonal to any attendant accretion disc). Many YSOs are formed from dense prestellar cores embedded in filaments, and therefore the relative orientations of outflows and filaments may place a useful constraint on the dynamics of core formation.
Aims. We explore this possibility, from the viewpoint of what it may tell us about the angular momentum delivered to a core forming in a filament. We stress that we are not here addressing the issue of the relationship of filaments and outflows to the prevailing magnetic field direction, although this is evidently also an interesting issue.
Methods. We use data from the literature and the SCUBA archive to estimate the projected angles between 45 observed outflows and the filaments which appear to contain their driving sources. The distribution of these angles is then compared with model predictions, so as to obtain a statistical constraint on the distribution of intrinsic angles between outflows and filaments.
Results. Using the limited data available, and neglecting any possible selection effects or correlations between nearby outflows, we infer that the observed outflows have a tendency to be orthogonal to the filaments that contain their driving sources. Specfically, in the cases where the directions of the filaments and outflows are well defined, we infer statistically that $72\%$ of outflows are within $45^{\rm o}$ of being orthogonal to the filament, and only $28\%$ are within $45^{\rm o}$ of being parallel to the filament.
Conclusions. This suggests that the prestellar cores which spawned the YSOs driving the observed outflows had angular momenta which were approximately orthogonal to the filaments out of which the cores formed. We briefly discuss the implications of this for two proposed core formation mechanisms.

Key words: star: formation -- stars: winds, outflows -- circumstellar matter

© ESO 2008