Jets from young stars

  • Reinhard Mundt
1. Protostellar Objects
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 255)


Recent optical observations have shown that many young stars are capable of generating highly-collimated bipolar flows. Such flows are evident from narrow emission-line jets extending over 0.01–1 pc and having opening angles of a few degrees. Their measured radial velocities reach values of up to 400 km/s. For most known jets the “driving stars” are T Tauri stars or IR-sources of low to moderate luminosity (1-100 Lo). The typical velocities, Mach numbers, particle densities, and mass fluxes of these jets are estimated to be 200–400 km/s, 10–40, 15–150 cm−3, and 10−10-10−7 Mo/yr, respectively. The estimated mass fluxes and velocities are consistent with our present knowledge of T Tauri star wind properties. The emission-line spectra of the jets are the same as observed in Herbig-Haro (HH) objects. Furthermore, the brightest parts of some jets (hot spots) are known as HH objects, having often been discovered many years before their associated jet. Thus, both phenomena are highly related and in both cases the emission lines are very probably formed in the cooling regions of shock waves with velocities of 50–100 km/s. There are a variety of mechanisms, which can in principal excite internal (oblique) shockwaves in these jets. Examples of likely excitation mechanisms are fluid dynamical instabilities or pressure gradients in the ambient medium.

A model is proposed in which HH objects are representing the locations of the most strongly radiating (internal)shock waves in these jets. For those HH objects being located at the end of the jet the observational data strongly suggest that they are tracing the working surface of the jet. This idea is consistent with the observed proper motions of these HH objects, the typical densities near the edges of their associated molecular clouds, and with the jet parameter given above. For a more detailed discussion of these jets the reader is refered to the review articles listed below.


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  1. Mundt, R. 1985, in “Protostars and Planets II”, eds. D. Black and M. Matthews, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, in pressGoogle Scholar
  2. Mundt, R. 1985, in “Nearby Molecular clouds” ed. G. Serra, Lecture Notes in Physics, Springer Verlag, in pressGoogle Scholar
  3. Mundt, R., 1986, in “Jets from the Stars and Galaxies”, Can. J. Phys., in pressGoogle Scholar
  4. Mundt, R., Brugel, E. W., And Bührke, T. 1986, in preparationGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reinhard Mundt
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für AstronomieHeidelbergGermany

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