Volume 387, Number 3, June I 2002
|Page(s)||977 - 992|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||17 May 2002|
The history of mass dispersal around Herbig Ae/Be stars
Observatorio Astronómico Nacional (IGN), Campus Universitario, Apdo. 1143, 28800 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
2 Escuela Universitaria de Optica, Departamento de Matemática Aplicada (Biomatemática), Av. Arcos de Jalón s/n, 28037 Madrid, Spain
3 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Enrico Fermi, 5 50125 Firenze, Italy
Corresponding author: A. Fuente, email@example.com
Accepted: 21 March 2002
We present a systematic study of the material surrounding intermediate-mass stars. Our sample includes 34 Herbig Ae/Be (HAEBE) stars of different ages and luminosities. This is a quite complete representation of the whole class of HAEBE stars and consequently, our conclusions should have a solid statistical meaning. In addition, we have observed 2 intermediate-mass protostars and included published data on 15 protostellar objects in order to determine the evolution of the circumstellar material in the early stages of stellar evolution. All the HAEBE stars have been classified according with the three Types already defined in Fuente et al. ([CITE]): Type I stars are immersed in a dense clump and have associated bipolar outflows, their ages are ~0.1 Myr; Type II stars are still immersed in the molecular cloud though not in a dense clump, their ages are between ~a few 0.1 to ~a few Myr; Type III stars have completely dispersed the surrounding material and are located in a cavity of the molecular cloud, their ages are >1 Myr. Our observations are used to reconstruct the evolution of the circumstellar material around intermediate-mass stars and investigate the mass dispersal mechanisms at the different stages of the stellar evolution. Our results can be summarized as follows: intermediate-mass stars disperse ≥90% of the mass of the parent clump during the protostellar phase. During this phase, the energetic outflows sweep out the gas and dust forming a biconical cavity while the equatorial material is infalling to feed the circumstellar disk and eventually the protostar. In this way, the density structure of the parent clump remains well described by a density law with although a large fraction of the mass is dispersed. In ~a few 0.1 Myr, the star becomes visible and the outflow fades. Some material is dispersed from ~a few 0.1 to ≥1 Myr. Since the outflow declines and the stars are still too cold to generate UV photons, stellar winds are expected to be the only dispersal mechanism at work. In 1 Myr an early-type star (B0-B5) and in ≥1 to 10 Myr a late-type star (later than B6) meets the ZAMS. Now the star is hot enough to produce UV photons and starts excavating the molecular cloud. Significant differences exist between early-type and late-type stars at this evolutionary stage. Only early-type stars are able to create large ( pc) cavities in the molecular cloud, producing a dramatic change in the morphology of the region. This difference is easily understood if photodissociation plays an important role in the mass dispersal around these objects.
Key words: stars: formation / stars: pre-main sequence / ISM: abundances / ISM: molecules
© ESO, 2002
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