Resolved images of a protostellar outflow driven by an extended disk wind.
Journal article, 2016
Young stars are associated with prominent outflows of molecular gas. The ejection of gas is believed to remove angular momentum from the protostellar system, permitting young stars to grow by the accretion of material from the protostellar disk. The underlying mechanism for outflow ejection is not yet understood, but is believed to be closely linked to the protostellar disk. Various models have been proposed to explain the outflows, differing mainly in the region where acceleration of material takes place: close to the protostar itself ('X-wind', or stellar wind), in a larger region throughout the protostellar disk (disk wind), or at the interface between the two. Outflow launching regions have so far been probed only by indirect extrapolation because of observational limits. Here we report resolved images of carbon monoxide towards the outflow associated with the TMC1A protostellar system. These data show that gas is ejected from a region extending up to a radial distance of 25 astronomical units from the central protostar, and that angular momentum is removed from an extended region of the disk. This demonstrates that the outflowing gas is launched by an extended disk wind from a Keplerian disk.