Journal Article

Magnetic fields during the early stages of massive star formation – II. A generalized outflow criterion

D. Seifried, R. E. Pudritz, R. Banerjee, D. Duffin and R. S. Klessen

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 422, issue 1, pages 347-366
Published in print May 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Magnetic fields during the early stages of massive star formation – II. A generalized outflow criterion

Show Summary Details


Numerical simulations of outflows formed during the collapse of 100-M cloud cores are presented. We derive a generalized criterion from magnetohydrodynamical wind theory to analyse the launching mechanism of these outflows. The criterion is successfully applied to the whole outflow structure and cases with sub-Keplerian disc rotation. It allows us to decide whether an outflow is driven centrifugally or by the toroidal magnetic pressure. We show that quantities such as the magnetic field line inclination or the ratio of the toroidal to poloidal magnetic field alone are insufficient to determine the driving mechanism of outflows. By performing 12 simulations with variable initial rotational and magnetic energies, we are able to study the influence of the initial conditions on the properties of outflows and jets around massive protostars in detail. Our simulations reveal a strong effect of the magnetic field strength on the morphology of outflows. In runs with weak fields or high rotational energies, well-collimated, fast jets are observed, whereas for strong fields poorly collimated, low-velocity outflows are found. We show that the occurrence of a fast jet is coupled to the existence of a Keplerian protostellar disc. Despite the very different morphologies, all outflows are launched from the discs by centrifugal acceleration with the toroidal magnetic field increasingly contributing to the gas acceleration further away from the discs. The poor collimation of the outflows in runs with strong magnetic fields is a consequence of the weak hoop stresses. This in turn is caused by the slow build-up of a toroidal magnetic field due to strongly sub-Keplerian disc rotation. The mass and momentum outflow rates are of the order of 10−4 M yr−1 and 10−4 M km s−1 yr−1, respectively. The mass ejection/accretion ratios scatter around a mean of 0.3 in accordance with observational and analytical results. Based on our results, we suggest an evolutionary scenario for the earliest stage of massive star formation in which initially poorly collimated outflows develop, which successively get better collimated during their evolution due to the generation of fast jets.

Keywords: hydrodynamics; magnetic fields; methods: numerical; stars: formation; stars: massive; stars: winds, outflows

Journal Article.  16031 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.