EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 471, Number 3, September I 2007
Page(s) 873 - 884
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20066921
Published online 09 July 2007

A&A 471, 873-884 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20066921

Jet-driven molecular outflows from class 0 sources: younger and stronger than they seem?

T. P. Downes1, 2 and S. Cabrit3

1  School of Mathematical Sciences, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland
    e-mail: turlough.downes@dcu.ie
2  National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland
3  LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, UMR 8112 du CNRS, 61 Av. de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France

(Received 11 December 2006 / Accepted 4 July 2007 )

Context.The momentum, age and momentum injection rate (thrust) of molecular outflows are key parameters in theories of star formation. Systematic biases in these quantities as inferred from CO line observations are introduced through simplified calculations. These biases were quantified for radially expanding flows. However, recent studies suggest that the youngest outflows may be better described by jet-driven bowshocks, where additional biases are expected.
Aims.We investigate quantitatively the biases in momentum, age, and thrust estimates in the case of young jet-driven molecular outflows, and propose more accurate methods of determining these quantities.
Methods.We use long-duration (1500 yr) high resolution numerical simulations in concert with the standard observational methods of inferring the relevant quantities to quantify the systematic biases in these calculations introduced, in particular, by dissociation, erroneous inclusion of transverse momentum, and hidden material at cloud velocity. Jet/ambient density contrasts of 0.1-1 are considered, leading to bow speeds of 60-135  km s-1.
Results.When mass-weighted velocities are used, lifetimes are overestimated by typically an order of magnitude. The molecular thrust is then underestimated by similar amounts. Using the maximum velocity in CO profiles gives better results, if empirical corrections for inclination are applied. We propose a new method of calculating the lifetime of an outflow which dramatically improves estimates of age and molecular thrust independent of inclination. Our results are applicable to younger flows which have not broken out of their parent cloud.
Conclusions.Published correlations between the molecular flow thrust and the source bolometric luminosity obtained with the maximum CO velocity method should remain valid. However, dissociation at the bow head may cause the observable thrust to underestimate the total flow thrust by a factor of up to 2-4, depending on the bow propagation speed and the magnetic field strength. Detailed evaluation of this effect would greatly help to better constrain the efficiency of the ejection mechanism in protostars.

Key words: hydrodynamics -- shock waves -- ISM: jets and outflows -- ISM: molecules

© ESO 2007

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