A 1000x Sharper View -
Are Magnetically Stabilized Streamers a Fundamental Building Block in High-Mass Star Formation?
As Patrick Koch concludes, “this is a testimony to ALMA’s superior sensitivity and resolution. No other telescope facility could observe this. We are yet witnessing another role of the magnetic field as it seems to stabilize accretion channels through which material can flow to central core regions where stars form.”
Figure 1. Visualization of the role of the magnetic field over four essential steps in the star-formation process in the W51 e2 (top) and e8 (bottom) high-mass star-forming regions (from left to right): envelope, global collapse, local collapse, and accreting streamer scale (rightmost panels). Visualized are streamlines, using a line-convolution algorithm based on the actual detected magnetic field morphologies with increasingly higher resolutions from left to right, leading to a 1000x sharper view in the rightmost panels. At the highest resolution of about 500 au (0.1”), the rightmost panels are resolving a network of core-connecting streamers that appear to be channeling material to the center of the star-forming cores. The magnetic field is prevailingly aligned with the streamers, hence stabilizing them against collapse and external pressure. The dashed circles in the rightmost panels indicate the 3” resolution in the leftmost observation, illustrating the tremendous improvement in resolution with ALMA. Credit: Koch et al.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science and Technology Council of Taiwan (NSTC), and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).
ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.
This research was presented in a paper “A Multiscale Picture of the Magnetic Field and Gravity from a Large-scale Filamentary Envelope to Core-accreting Dust Lanes in the High-mass Star-forming Region W51” by Koch et al. appeared in Astrophysical Journal.
Dr. Patrick Koch, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +886 2 2366 5478