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Astron. Astrophys. 352, L83-L86 (1999)

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Letter to the Editor

Multiplicity of the HH 111 jet source: Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS images and VLA maps

Bo Reipurth 1, Ka Chun Yu 1, Luis F. Rodríguez 2, Steve Heathcote 3 and John Bally 1

1 Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
2 Instituto de Astronomía, UNAM, Apdo. Postal 70-264, 04510 México, D.F., México
3 Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, Casilla 603, La Serena, Chile

Received 9 August 1999 / Accepted 11 October 1999


We have observed the region around the HH 111 jet source with NICMOS onboard the Hubble Space Telescope , using two filters, F160W and F205W, which besides stellar continuum transmit the [FeII] 1.64 µm and H2 2.12 µm emission lines, respectively. The jet can now be traced to within [FORMULA] of the VLA source. In the F205W filter we detect for the first time the driving source in the near-infrared as a faint and highly reddened star. Additionally, we detect in both filters a second source, called star B, about 3" further west, which appears to contribute significantly to the illumination of the blueshifted outflow cavity of the HH 111 jet. We present new 3.6 cm VLA maps, which show evidence that the HH 111 energy source drives a quadrupolar flow, suggesting that the source is a close binary with a projected separation of less than [FORMULA] (50 AU). We also detect star B at 3.6 cm, demonstrating that it is indeed a young star with its own (unresolved) signature of outflow. The two IR/VLA sources are located on either side of a highly opaque dust lane perpendicular to the HH 111 outflow axis, not inside it as one would expect. We speculate that the VLA 1 binary and the VLA 2 source are at their present locations because they originally formed an unstable non-hierarchical triple system from which VLA 2 was ejected. Such dynamic processes may help to terminate the main accretion phase of the young stars involved.

Key words: ISM: jets and outflows – stars: formation

Send offprint requests to: B. Reipurth

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: December 2, 1999