Methanol masers reveal the magnetic field of the high-mass protostar IRAS 18089-1732
Journal article, 2017
© ESO, 2017. Context. The importance of the magnetic field in high-mass-star formation is not yet fully clear and there are still many open questions concerning its role in the accretion processes and generation of jets and outflows. In the past few years, masers have been successfully used to probe the magnetic field morphology and strength at scales of a few au around massive protostars, by measuring linear polarisation angles and Zeeman splitting. The massive protostar IRAS 18089-1732 is a well studied high-mass-star forming region, showing a hot core chemistry and a disc-outflow system. Previous SMA observations of polarised dust revealed an ordered magnetic field oriented around the disc of IRAS 18089-1732. Aims. We want to determine the magnetic field in the dense region probed by 6.7 GHz methanol maser observations and compare it with observations in dust continuum polarisation, to investigate how the magnetic field in the compact maser region relates to the large-scale field around massive protostars. Methods. We reduced MERLIN observations at 6.7 GHz of IRAS 18089-1732 and we analysed the polarised emission by methanol masers. Results. Our MERLIN observations show that the magnetic field in the 6.7 GHz methanol maser region is consistent with the magnetic field constrained by the SMA dust polarisation observations. A tentative detection of circularly polarised line emission is also presented. Conclusions. We found that the magnetic field in the maser region has the same orientation as in the disk. Thus the large-scale field component, even at the au scale of the masers, dominates over any small-scale field fluctuations. We obtained, from the circular polarisation tentative detection, a field strength along the line of sight of 5.5 mG which appeared to be consistent with the previous estimates.