Slingshot mechanism in Orion: Kinematic evidence for ejection of protostars by filaments
Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy,
2 Dept. of Astronomy, Ohio State University, 140 W. 18th Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Received: 16 December 2015
Accepted: 22 March 2016
By comparing three constituents of Orion A (gas, protostars, and pre-main-sequence stars), both morphologically and kinematically, we derive the following conclusions. The gas surface density near the integral-shaped filament (ISF) is very well represented by a power law, Σ(b) = 37 M⊙ pc-2(b/pc)−5/8, for the entire range to which we are sensitive, 0.05 pc < b < 8.5 pc, of projected separation from the filament ridge. Essentially all Class 0 and Class I protostars lie superposed on the ISF or on identifiable filament ridges farther south, while almost all pre-main-sequence (Class II) stars do not. Combined with the fact that protostars are moving ≲ 1 km s-1 relative to the filaments, while stars are moving several times faster, this implies that protostellar accretion is terminated by a slingshot-like “ejection” from the filaments. The ISF is the third in a series of identifiable star bursts that are progressively moving south, with separations of several Myr in time and 2–3 pc in space. This, combined with the observed undulations in the filament (both spatial and velocity), suggest that repeated propagation of transverse waves through the filament is progressively digesting the material that formerly connected Orion A and B into stars in discrete episodes. We construct a simple, circularly symmetric gas density profile ρ(r) = 17 M⊙ pc-3(r/pc)−13/8 consistent with the two-dimensional data. The model implies that the observed magnetic fields in this region are subcritical on spatial scales of the observed undulations, suggesting that the transverse waves propagating through the filament are magnetically induced. Because the magnetic fields are supercritical on scales of the filament as a whole (as traced by the power law), the system as a whole is relatively stable and long lived. Protostellar “ejection” (i.e., the slingshot) occurs because the gas accelerates away from the protostars, not the other way around. The model also implies that the ISF is kinematically young, which is consistent with several other lines of evidence. In contrast to the ISF, the southern filament (L1641) has a broken power law, which matches the ISF profile for 2.5 pc < b < 8.5 pc, but is shallower closer in. L1641 is kinematically older than the ISF.
Key words: ISM: clouds / stars: formation / ISM: structure
© ESO, 2016