Letter | Published:

A parsec-scale optical jet from a massive young star in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Nature volume 554, pages 334336 (15 February 2018) | Download Citation

Abstract

Highly collimated parsec-scale jets, which are generally linked to the presence of an accretion disk, are commonly observed in low-mass young stellar objects1,2. In the past two decades, a few of these jets have been directly (or indirectly) observed from higher-mass (larger than eight solar masses) young stellar objects3,4,5,6,7, adding to the growing evidence that disk-mediated accretion also occurs in high-mass stars8,9,10,11, the formation mechanism of which is still poorly understood. Of the observed jets from massive young stars, none is in the optical regime (massive young stars are typically highly obscured by their natal material), and none is found outside of the Milky Way. Here we report observations of HH 1177, an optical ionized jet that originates from a massive young stellar object located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The jet is highly collimated over its entire measured length of at least ten parsecs and has a bipolar geometry. The presence of a jet indicates ongoing, disk-mediated accretion and, together with the high degree of collimation, implies that this system is probably formed through a scaled-up version of the formation mechanism of low-mass stars. We conclude that the physics that govern jet launching and collimation is independent of stellar mass.

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Acknowledgements

R.K. acknowledges financial support from the Emmy Noether Research Program, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under grant number KU 2849/3-1.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

    • Anna F. McLeod
  2. Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

    • Megan Reiter
  3. Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

    • Rolf Kuiper
  4. UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

    • Pamela D. Klaassen
    •  & Christopher J. Evans

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Contributions

A.F.M. is the Principal Investigator of the MUSE observing programme 096.C-0137(A), which obtained the data used in this work. A.F.M. reduced and analysed the data and wrote the initial manuscript. R.K. provided the theoretical interpretation of the data; C.J.E. analysed the stellar spectrum to determine a first spectral classification. M.R. and P.D.K. provided input concerning the young stellar object jet, pillar observations and jet mass loss rates. All authors commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anna F. McLeod.

Reviewer Information Nature thanks A. Guzman and B. Reipurth for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature25189

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