SOFIA and ALMA investigate magnetic fields and gas structures in massive star formation: The case of the masquerading monster in BYF 73

Peter J. Barnes*, Stuart D. Ryder, Giles Novak, Richard M. Crutcher, Laura M. Fissel, Rebecca L. Pitts, William J. Schap III

*Corresponding author for this work

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We present Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) + Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) continuum and spectral-line polarization data on the massive molecular cloud BYF 73, revealing important details about the magnetic field morphology, gas structures, and energetics in this unusual massive star formation laboratory. The 154 μm HAWC+ polarization map finds a highly organized magnetic field in the densest, inner 0.55 × 0.40 pc portion of the cloud, compared to an unremarkable morphology in the cloud’s outer layers. The 3 mm continuum ALMA polarization data reveal several more structures in the inner domain, including a parsec-long, ∼500 M “Streamer” around the central massive protostellar object MIR 2, with magnetic fields mostly parallel to the east-west Streamer but oriented north-south across MIR 2. The magnetic field orientation changes from mostly parallel to the column density structures to mostly perpendicular, at thresholds Ncrit = 6.6 × 1026 m−2, ncrit = 2.5 × 1011 m−3, and Bcrit = 42 ± 7 nT. ALMA also mapped Goldreich-Kylafis polarization in 12CO across the cloud, which traces, in both total intensity and polarized flux, a powerful bipolar outflow from MIR 2 that interacts strongly with the Streamer. The magnetic field is also strongly aligned along the outflow direction; energetically, it may dominate the outflow near MIR 2, comprising rare evidence for a magnetocentrifugal origin to such outflows. A portion of the Streamer may be in Keplerian rotation around MIR 2, implying a gravitating mass 1350 ± 50 M for the protostar+disk+envelope; alternatively, these kinematics can be explained by gas in free-fall toward a 950 ± 35 M object. The high accretion rate onto MIR 2 apparently occurs through the Streamer/disk, and could account for ∼33% of MIR 2's total luminosity via gravitational energy release.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

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Copyright © 2023. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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