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Star Formation Studies

The [Ne III] Jet of DG Tau and Its Ionization Scenarios
Image Credit: C.-F. Liu & H. Shang
The [Ne III] Jet of DG Tau and Its Ionization Scenarios
Kinematic properties of velocity-decomposed [Ne III] λ3869 emission are shown in a position–velocity (pv) diagram (left panel), a spatial profile along the jet axis (central panel), and line profiles at specific spatial positions (right three panels). In the pv diagram, the decomposed high-velocity component (HVC) and low-velocity component (LVC) are shown by green and red contours, respectively. The yellow symbols represent the HVC velocity centroids and orange symbols represent the LVC velocity centroids. The spatial profile is shown on a logarithmic scale to accommodate the large contrast between the innermost 3'' emission and the outer knots.
Forbidden neon emission from jets of low-mass young stars can be used to probe the underlying high-energy processes in these systems. We analyze spectra of the jet of DG Tau obtained with the Very Large Telescope/X-Shooter spectrograph in 2010. [Ne III] λ3869 is clearly detected in the innermost 3'' microjet and the outer knot located at ~ 6".5. The velocity structure of the inner microjet can be decomposed into the low-velocity component at ~ –70 km s−1 and the high-velocity component (HVC) at ~ –180 km s−1. Based on the observed [Ne III] flux and its spatial extent, we suggest the origins of the [Ne III] emission regions and their relation with known X-ray sources along the jet. The flares from the hard X-ray source close to the star may be the main ionization source of the innermost microjet. The fainter soft X-ray source at 0".2 from the star may provide sufficient heating to help to sustain the ionization fraction against recombination in the flow. The outer knot may be reionized by shocks faster than 100 km s−1 such that [Ne III] emission reappears and the soft X-ray emission at 5".5 is produced. Velocity decomposition of the archival Hubble Space Telescope spectra obtained in 1999 shows that the HVC had been faster, with a velocity centroid of ~ –260 km s−1. Such a decrease in velocity may potentially be explained by the expansion of the stellar magnetosphere, changing the truncation radius and thus the launching speed of the jet. The energy released by magnetic reconnections during relaxation of the transition can heat the gas up to several tens of mega-kelvin and provide the explanation for on-source keV X-ray flares that ionize the neon microjet. The study has been published as Liu et al. 2016, ApJ, 832, 153.
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