A rotating protostellar jet launched from the innermost disk of HH 212

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The central problem in forming a star is the angular momentum in the circumstellar disk, which prevents material from falling into the central stellar core. An attractive solution to the angular momentum problem appears to be the ubiquitous (low-velocity and poorly collimated) molecular outflows and (high-velocity and highly collimated) protostellar jets accompanying the earliest phase of star formation that remove angular momentum at a range of disk radii1. Previous observations have suggested that outflowing material carries away the excess angular momentum via magneto-centrifugally driven winds from the surfaces of circumstellar disks down to 10 au scales2,3,4,5,6, allowing the material in the outer disk to be transported to the inner disk. Here we show that highly collimated protostellar jets remove the residual angular momenta at the 0.05 au scale, enabling the material in the innermost region of the disk to accrete towards the central protostar. This is supported by the rotation of the jet measured down to 10 au from the protostar in the HH 212 protostellar system. The measurement implies a jet launching radius of 0 . 0 5 0 . 02 + 0 . 05  au on the disk, based on the magneto-centrifugal theory of jet production, which connects the properties of the jet measured at large distances with those at its base through energy and angular momentum conservation7.

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Figure 1: ALMA SiO J = 8–7 maps (green images) of the jet at a spatial resolution of 24 au (0.06″), on top of the dust continuum map (orange image) of the accretion disk at 352 GHz (ref. 19).
Figure 2: A zoom-in to the innermost part of the jet in SiO within 120 au (0.03″) of the central source, at an angular resolution of 8 au (0.02″), on top of the continuum map of the disk.
Figure 3: Jet (Gaussian deconvolved) width measured for the new knots within 100 au of the source.
Figure 4: Position–velocity diagrams cut across the knots (N1–N3 and S1–S3) in the jet.


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The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a partnership of the European Southern Observatory (representing its member states), the National Science Foundation (USA) and National Institutes of Natural Sciences (Japan), together with National Research Council Canada, National Science Council and Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Taiwan) and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (Republic of Korea) in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by the European Southern Observatory, Associated Universities Inc./National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. C.-F.L. acknowledges grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan (MoST 104-2119-M-001-015-MY3) and Academia Sinica (Career Development Award). Z.-Y.L. is supported in part by grants from the National Aeronatics and Space Administration (NNX14AB38G) and the National Science Foundation (AST 1313083).

Author information

C.-F.L. led the project, analysis, discussion and drafted the manuscript. P.T.P.H. and Z.-Y.L. commented on the manuscript and participated in the discussion. N.H., Q.Z. and H.S. contributed to the scientific discussion.

Correspondence to Chin-Fei Lee.

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Supplementary Figures 1–2 and Supplementary Tables 1–4. (PDF 261 kb)

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Lee, C., Ho, P., Li, Z. et al. A rotating protostellar jet launched from the innermost disk of HH 212. Nat Astron 1, 0152 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41550-017-0152

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