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An HST Survey of Protostellar Outflow Cavities: Does Feedback Clear Envelopes?

Habel, Nolan M. and Megeath, S. Thomas and Booker, Joseph Jon and Fischer, William J. and Kounkel, Marina and Poteet, Charles and Furlan, Elise and Stutz, Amelia and Manoj, P. and Tobin, John J. and Nagy, Zsofia and Pokhrel, Riwaj and Watson, Dan (2021) An HST Survey of Protostellar Outflow Cavities: Does Feedback Clear Envelopes? Astrophysical Journal, 911 (2). Art. No. 153. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abded8.

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We study protostellar envelope and outflow evolution using Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS or WFC3 images of 304 protostars in the Orion molecular clouds. These near-IR images resolve structures in the envelopes delineated by the scattered light of the central protostars with 80 au resolution, and they complement the 1.2 μm to 870 μm spectral energy distributions (SEDs) obtained with the Herschel Orion Protostar Survey program. Based on their 1.60 μm morphologies, we classify the protostars into five categories: nondetections, point sources without nebulosity, bipolar cavity sources, unipolar cavity sources, and irregulars. We find point sources without associated nebulosity are the most numerous, and show through monochromatic Monte Carlo radiative transfer modeling that this morphology occurs when protostars are observed at low inclinations or have low envelope densities. We also find that the morphology is correlated with the SED-determined evolutionary class, with Class 0 protostars more likely to be nondetections, Class I protostars to show cavities, and flat-spectrum protostars to be point sources. Using an edge detection algorithm to trace the projected edges of the cavities, we fit power laws to the resulting cavity shapes, thereby measuring the cavity half-opening angles and power-law exponents. We find no evidence for the growth of outflow cavities as protostars evolve through the Class I protostar phase, in contradiction with previous studies of smaller samples. We conclude that the decline of mass infall with time cannot be explained by the progressive clearing of envelopes by growing outflow cavities. Furthermore, the low star formation efficiency inferred for molecular cores cannot be explained by envelope clearing alone.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Habel, Nolan M.0000-0002-2667-1676
Megeath, S. Thomas0000-0001-7629-3573
Booker, Joseph Jon0000-0001-7973-9032
Fischer, William J.0000-0002-3747-2496
Kounkel, Marina0000-0002-5365-1267
Poteet, Charles0000-0003-4845-7483
Furlan, Elise0000-0001-9800-6248
Stutz, Amelia0000-0003-2300-8200
Manoj, P.0000-0002-3530-304X
Tobin, John J.0000-0002-6195-0152
Nagy, Zsofia0000-0002-3632-1194
Pokhrel, Riwaj0000-0002-0557-7349
Watson, Dan0000-0001-8302-0530
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 July 20; revised 2020 December 13; accepted 2020 December 15; published 2021 April 28. This work was supported by NASA Origins of Solar Systems grant 13-OSS13-0094. Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with program #11548. Support for programs #11548, #14181, and #14695 was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. R.P. and S.T.M received funding from the NASA Astrophysical Data Analysis program (ADAP) 80NSSC18K1564. A.S. gratefully acknowledges funding support through Fondecyt Regular (project code 1180350) and from the Chilean Centro de Excelencia en Astrofísica y Tecnologías Afines (CATA) BASAL grant AFB-170002. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. Software: Astropy (The Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013), DrizzlePac (STSCI Development Team 2012), HO-CHUNK (Whitney & Hartmann 1992, 1993), Matplotlib (Hunter 2007), NumPy (Walt et al. 2011), SciPy (Oliphant 2007), TinyTim (Krist et al. 2011).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANAS 5-26555
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (FONDECYT)1180350
Subject Keywords:Protostars; Stellar feedback; Molecular clouds; Near infrared astronomy; Stellar jets; Early stellar evolution
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Protostars (1302); Stellar feedback (1602); Molecular clouds (1072); Near infrared astronomy (1093); Stellar jets (1607); Early stellar evolution (434)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210429-144553879
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Nolan M. Habel et al 2021 ApJ 911 153
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108886
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:30 Apr 2021 21:08
Last Modified:03 May 2021 18:04

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