Radio jets from young stellar objects

Publication date: 
Main author: 
Anglada G.
IAA authors: 
Anglada, G.
Anglada G., Rodríguez L.F., Carrasco-González C.
Astronomy and Astrophysics Review
Publication type: 
Jets and outflows are ubiquitous in the process of formation of stars since outflow is intimately associated with accretion. Free–free (thermal) radio continuum emission in the centimeter domain is associated with these jets. The emission is relatively weak and compact, and sensitive radio interferometers of high angular resolution are required to detect and study it. One of the key problems in the study of outflows is to determine how they are accelerated and collimated. Observations in the cm range are most useful to trace the base of the ionized jets, close to the young central object and the inner parts of its accretion disk, where optical or near-IR imaging is made difficult by the high extinction present. Radio recombination lines in jets (in combination with proper motions) should provide their 3D kinematics at very small scale (near their origin). Future instruments such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and the Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) will be crucial to perform this kind of sensitive observations. Thermal jets are associated with both high and low mass protostars and possibly even with objects in the substellar domain. The ionizing mechanism of these radio jets appears to be related to shocks in the associated outflows, as suggested by the observed correlation between the centimeter luminosity and the outflow momentum rate. From this correlation and that of the centimeter luminosity with the bolometric luminosity of the system it will be possible to discriminate between unresolved HII regions and jets, and to infer additional physical properties of the embedded objects. Some jets associated with young stellar objects (YSOs) show indications of non-thermal emission (negative spectral indices) in part of their lobes. Linearly polarized synchrotron emission has been found in the jet of HH 80–81, allowing one to measure the direction and intensity of the jet magnetic field, a key ingredient to determine the collimation and ejection mechanisms. As only a fraction of the emission is polarized, very sensitive observations such as those that will be feasible with the interferometers previously mentioned are required to perform studies in a large sample of sources. Jets are present in many kinds of astrophysical scenarios. Characterizing radio jets in YSOs, where thermal emission allows one to determine their physical conditions in a reliable way, would also be useful in understanding acceleration and collimation mechanisms in all kinds of astrophysical jets, such as those associated with stellar and supermassive black holes and planetary nebulae. © 2018, The Author(s).
ADS Bibcode: 
ISM: Herbig–Haro objects; Radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; Radiation mechanisms: thermal; Radio lines: stars; Stars: pre-main sequence