Volume 635, March 2020
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||23 March 2020|
Protostellar Outflows at the EarliesT Stages (POETS)
IV. Statistical properties of the 22 GHz H2O masers
INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri,
Largo E. Fermi 5,
2 INAF – Istituto di Radioastronomia & Italian ALMA Regional Centre, Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
4 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
5 Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
6 South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), 2 Fir street, Black River Park, Observatory, Cape Town 7925, South Africa
Accepted: 11 February 2020
Context. 22 GHz water masers are the most intense and widespread masers in star-forming regions. They are commonly associated with protostellar winds and jets emerging from low- and high-mass young stellar objects (YSO).
Aims. We wish to perform for the first time a statistical study of the location and motion of individual water maser cloudlets, characterized by typical sizes that are within a few au, with respect to the weak radio thermal emission from YSOs.
Methods. For this purpose, we have been carrying out the Protostellar Outflows at the EarliesT Stages survey of a sample (38) of high-mass YSOs. The 22 GHz water maser positions and three-dimensional (3D) velocities were determined through multi-epoch Very Long Baseline Array observations with accuracies of a few milliarcsec (mas) and a few km s−1, respectively. The position of the ionized core of the protostellar wind, marking the YSO, was determined through sensitive radio continuum, multi-frequency Jansky Very Large Array observations with a typical error of ≈20 mas.
Results. The statistic of the separation of the water masers from the radio continuum shows that 84% of the masers are found within 1000 au from the YSO and 45% of them are within 200 au. Therefore, we can conclude that the 22 GHz water masers are a reliable proxy for locating the position of the YSO. The distribution of maser luminosity is strongly peaked towards low values, indicating that about half of the maser population is still undetected with the current Very Long Baseline Interferometry detection thresholds of 50–100 mJy beam−1. Next-generation, sensitive (at the nJy level) radio interferometers will have the capability to exploit these weak masers for an improved sampling of the velocity and magnetic fields around the YSOs. The average direction of the water maser proper motions provides a statistically-significant estimate for the orientation of the jet emitted by the YSO: 55% of the maser proper motions are directed on the sky within an angle of 30° from the jet axis. Finally, we show that our measurements of 3D maser velocities statistically support models in which water maser emission arises from planar shocks with propagation direction close to the plane of the sky.
Key words: ISM: jets and outflows / ISM: molecules / masers / radio continuum: ISM / techniques: interferometric
© ESO 2020
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