Generation of radiative knots in a randomly pulsed protostellar jet I. Dynamics and energetics

Astronomy and Astrophysics (Impact Factor: 4.38). 12/2009; 511(1). DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200913595
Source: arXiv


HH objects are characterized by a complex knotty morphology detected mainly along the axis of protostellar jets in a wide range of bands. Evidence of interactions between knots formed in different epochs have been found, suggesting that jets may result from the ejection of plasma blobs from the source. We aim at investigating the physical mechanism leading to the irregular knotty structure observed in jets in different bands and the complex interactions occurring among blobs of plasma ejected from the stellar source. We perform 2D axisymmetric HD simulations of a randomly ejected pulsed jet. The jet consists of a train of blobs which ram with supersonic speed into the ambient medium. The initial random velocity of each blob follows an exponential distribution. We explore the ejection rate parameter to derive constraints on the physical properties of protostellar jets by comparison of model results with observations. Our model takes into account radiative losses and thermal conduction. We find that the mutual interactions of blobs ejected at different epochs and with different speed lead to a variety of plasma components not described by current models. The main features characterizing the random pulsed jet scenario are: single high speed knots, showing a measurable proper motion in nice agreement with observations; irregular chains of knots aligned along the jet axis and possibly interacting with each other; reverse shocks interacting with outgoing knots; oblique shocks produced by the reflection of shocks at the jet cocoon. All these structures concur to determine the morphology of the jet in different bands. We also find that the thermal conduction plays a crucial role in damping out HD instabilities that would develop within the cocoon and that contribute to the jet breaking. Comment: 10 pages, 10 figures, accepted for publication in A&A

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