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Tracing the Evolution of Molecular Outflows in Massive Star Formation

Presentation #348.09 in the session “Star Formation”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Tracing the Evolution of Molecular Outflows in Massive Star Formation

Massive star formation can be difficult to observe due to the amount of dust present in molecular clouds. These stars, although rare and relatively short-lived, dominate the amount of stellar feedback in star forming regions fueling all star formation. To be able to locate the sites of these stars, we can look for the emission from the jets, or outflows, they launch as they accrete material. Molecular material is entrained by these outflows from the core of the protostar, allowing us to observe them through molecular emission. Since obtaining detailed observations is challenging, to study them up close, and in real-time, we can use simulations. I have post-processed a simulation using a radiative transfer tool. By looking in-depth at the four molecules we have chosen: CO, C18O, CS, and NH3, I have deduced which of these is most capable of tracing the molecular outflows of massive stars. This information will aid in observational studies and gives us more information about massive stars in general. Through data analysis with python and yt, I have concluded that CO is able to trace the entire outflow, C18O and CS trace the edges, and NH3 traces the more dense gas. In the future, we will continue to plot higher energy transitions for these molecules, look at the dynamic structure of the outflows, and compare directly to observations. This project was supported by the Banneker Institute at Harvard.


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