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Astron. Astrophys. 353, 1055-1064 (2000)

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Shock excited far-infrared molecular emission around T Tau *

L. Spinoglio 1, T. Giannini 1,2,3, B. Nisini 2, M.E. van den Ancker 4, E. Caux 5, A.M. Di Giorgio 1, D. Lorenzetti 2, F. Palla 6, S. Pezzuto 1, P. Saraceno 1, H.A. Smith 7 and G.J. White 8,9

1 Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario, CNR, via Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, Italy
2 Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via Frascati 33, 00040 Monte Porzio, Italy
3 Istituto Astronomico, Università La Sapienza, via Lancisi 29, 00161 Roma, Italy
4 Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek", University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
5 CESR, B.P. 4346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 04, France
6 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
7 Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA, USA
8 Physics Department, Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
9 Stockholm Observatory, 133 36 Saltsjobaden, Sweden

Received 15 June 1999 / Accepted 27 September 1999


The first complete far-infrared spectrum of T Tau has been obtained with the LWS spectrometer on-board the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), which detected strong emission from high-J (J=14-25) CO, para- and ortho-H2O and OH transitions over the wavelength range from 40 to 190 µm. In addition the [OI]63µm, [OI]145µm and [CII]158µm atomic lines were also detected. Most of the observed molecular emission can be explained by a single emission region at T[FORMULA]300-900 K and n[FORMULA][FORMULA]cm-3, with a diameter of about 2-3 arcsec. This corresponds to a very compact region of 300 - 400 AU at the distance of 140 pc. A higher temperature component seems to be needed to explain the highest excitation CO and H2O lines. We derive a water abundance of 1-7 [FORMULA] and an OH abundance of [FORMULA] 3[FORMULA] with respect to molecular hydrogen, implying H2O and OH enhancements by more than a factor of 10 with respect to the expected ambient gas abundance.

The observed cooling in the various species amounts to 0.04 L[FORMULA], comparable to the mechanical luminosity of the outflow, indicating that the stellar winds could be responsible of the line excitation through shocks.

In order to explain the observed molecular cooling in T Tau in terms of C-type shock models, we hypothesise that the strong far-ultraviolet radiation field photodissociates water in favour of OH. This would explain the large overabundance of OH observed.

The estimated relatively high density and compactness of the observed emission suggest that it originates from the shocks taking place at the base of the molecular outflow emission, in the region where the action of the stellar winds from the two stars of the binary system is important.

Key words: infrared: ISM: lines and bands – ISM: jets and outflows – ISM: individual objects: T Tau – stars: pre-main sequence – stars: individual: T Tau – stars: formation

* Based on observations with ISO, an ESA project with instruments funded by ESA Member States (especially the PI countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) with the participation of ISAS and NASA

Send offprint requests to: L. Spinoglio (luigi@ifsi.rm.cnr.it)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: January 18, 2000