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Astron. Astrophys. 350, 917-927 (1999)

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The physical properties of the HH 30 jet from HST and ground-based data

Francesca Bacciotti 1,2, Jochen Eislöffel 3 and Thomas P. Ray 1

1 School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland (fran,tr@cp.dias.ie)
2 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
3 Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany (jochen@tls-tautenburg.de)

Received 12 April 1999 / Accepted 4 August 1999


We investigate the physical properties of the HH 30 jet by applying the spectroscopic diagnostic technique described in Bacciotti & Eislöffel (1999) to ground-based spectra and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) calibrated emission-line images. We derive the variation along the beam of the ionization fraction [FORMULA], of the total hydrogen density [FORMULA] and of the average excitation temperature [FORMULA], with a spatial sampling of [FORMULA] to [FORMULA] (depending on the dataset used) near the source of the flow and of [FORMULA] further out. In the jet [FORMULA] rapidly rises from 0.065 at [FORMULA] to 0.1 at [FORMULA], and then slowly increases up to 0.140 within 2" from the source. From [FORMULA] to [FORMULA], [FORMULA] decreases very slowly down to a value of 0.04. The slow recombination in the outermost collimated part is consistent with a flow opening angle of about 2o. At the beginning of the jet [FORMULA] is at least [FORMULA] 105 cm-3, but it decreases to 5 104 cm-3 within the first arcsecond and then slowly falls to 104 cm-3 at large distance from the source. On average [FORMULA] decreases from [FORMULA] 2 104 K to 104 K within the first arcsecond of the jet, then it slowly decays to 6000-7000 K. In the faint counter-jet, which appears to be substantially more excited than the jet, [FORMULA] rises from 0.07 up to 0.35 at 2-3" from the source, [FORMULA] decreases from about 8 104 cm-3 to a few 103 cm-3, while [FORMULA] is scattered around 1.2-1.3 104 K. A comparison between the observed and calculated line fluxes shows that the filling factor is of order unity in this flow . The emission-weighted jet width calculated with the parameters that we derive is in good agreement with the observed FWHM; we find, however, that the jet radius apparently goes to zero at the source location, defining an initial full opening angle of about 10o. The intensity peaks, i.e. the knots, are clearly correlated with local temperature maxima. The ionization fraction and the electron and total densities do not show any evident increase at the same positions, although we cannot exclude the presence of small-scale variations, because of the lower spatial resolution with which these quantities have been derived. Alternatively, the lack of large density enhancements at the locations corresponding to the knots may be due to the presence of a substantial magnetic field in the body of the jet. Anyway, the absence of evident bow-shaped features suggests that in this jet it is more likely that the chain of bright spots traces travelling plasma instabilities, rather than a series of internal working surfaces. Along the jet the mass-loss rate is quite moderate: assuming an average flow speed of 200 km s-1, and adopting as our jet diameter the emission-weighted jet width, we find [FORMULA] [FORMULA] yr-1 and correspondingly [FORMULA] [FORMULA] yr-1 km s- 1. In the counter-jet, in contrast, [FORMULA] ([FORMULA]) decreases from about 1.8 [FORMULA] [FORMULA] yr-1 (3.6 [FORMULA] [FORMULA] yr- 1 km s-1) at [FORMULA] from the source to about 9.3 [FORMULA] [FORMULA] yr-1 (1.9 [FORMULA] [FORMULA] yr- 1 km s-1) further out.

Key words: ISM: kinematics and dynamics – ISM: jets and outflows – stars: formation – line: formation

Send offprint requests to: F. Bacciotti

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: October 14, 1999