Journal Article

A fast bipolar H<sub>2</sub> outflow from IRAS 16342−3814: an old star reliving its youth

T. M. Gledhill and K. P. Forde

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 421, issue 1, pages 346-355
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
A fast bipolar H2 outflow from IRAS 16342−3814: an old star reliving its youth

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Some evolved stars in the pre-planetary nebula phase produce highly collimated molecular outflows that resemble the accretion-driven jets and outflows from pre-main-sequence stars. We show that IRAS 16342−3814 (the Water Fountain Nebula) is such an object and present K-band integral field spectroscopy revealing a fast (>150 km s−1) bipolar H2 outflow. The H2 emission is shock excited and may arise in fast-moving clumps, accelerated by the previously observed precessing jet. The total luminosity in H2 is 0.37 L, which is comparable with that of accretion-powered outflows from Class 0 protostars. We also detect CO overtone bandhead emission in the scattered continuum, indicating hot molecular gas close to the centre, a feature also observed in a number of protostars with active jets. It seems likely that the jet and outflow in IRAS 16342−3814 are powered by accretion on to a binary companion.

Keywords: shock waves; stars: AGB and post-AGB; circumstellar matter; stars: evolution; stars: individual: IRAS 16342−3814; stars: individual: the Water Fountain Nebula

Journal Article.  8490 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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