A possible mechanism for wiggling protostellar jets from three-dimensional simulations in a stratified ambient medium

Elisabete M. De Gouveia Dal Pino, Mark Birkinshaw, Willy Benz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most collimated supersonic protostellar jets show a collimated wiggling, and knotty structure (e.g., the Haro 6-5B jet) and frequently reveal a long gap between this structure and the terminal bow shock. In a few cases, there is no evidence of such a terminal feature. We present three-dimensional smoothed particle hydrodynamical simulations that suggest that this morphology may be due to the interaction of the propagating cooling jet with a nonhomogeneous ambient medium. In regions where the ambient gas has an increasing density (and pressure) gradient, we find that it tends to compress the cold, low-pressure cocoon of shocked material that surrounds the beam, destroy the bow shock-like structure at the head, and enhance beam focusing, wiggling, and internal traveling shocks. In ambient regions of decreasing density (and pressure), the flow widens and relaxes, becoming very faint. This could explain "invisible" segments in systems like the Haro 6-5B jet. The bow shock in these cases could be a relic of an earlier outflow episode, as previously suggested, or the place where the jet reappears after striking a denser portion of the ambient medium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L111-L114
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume460
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1996

Keywords

  • Hydrodynamics
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Stars: mass loss
  • Stars: pre-main-sequence

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