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Angular momentum profiles of Class 0 protostellar envelopes

A. Maury, Ph. Andrť, P. Hennebelle, M. Galametz, L. Testi, S. Cabrit, P. M. Palmeirim, B. Ladjelate, L. Podio

Context. Understanding the initial properties of star forming material and how they affect the star formation process is a key question. The infalling gas must redistribute most of its initial angular momentum inherited from prestellar cores before reaching the central stellar embryo. Disk formation has been naturally considered as a possible solution to this “angular momentum problem”. However, how the initial angular momentum of protostellar cores is distributed and evolves during the main accretion phase and the beginning of disk formation has largely remained unconstrained up to now.

Aims. In the framework of the IRAM CALYPSO survey, we obtained observations of the dense gas kinematics that we used to quantify the amount and distribution of specific angular momentum at all scales in collapsing-rotating Class 0 protostellar envelopes. Methods. We used the high dynamic range C18O (2−1) and N2H+ (1−0) datasets to produce centroid velocity maps and probe the rotational motions in the sample of 12 envelopes from scales ~50 to ~5000 au.

Results. We identify differential rotation motions at scales ≲1600 au in 11 out of the 12 protostellar envelopes of our sample by measuring the velocity gradient along the equatorial axis, which we fit with a power-law model v ∝ rα. This suggests that coherent motions dominate the kinematics in the inner protostellar envelopes. The radial distributions of specific angular momentum in the CALYPSO sample suggest the following two distinct regimes within protostellar envelopes: the specific angular momentum decreases as j ∝ r1.6±0.2 down to ~1600 au and then tends to become relatively constant around ~6 × 10−4 km s−1 pc down to ~50 au.

Conclusions. The values of specific angular momentum measured in the inner Class 0 envelopes suggest that material directly involved in the star formation process (<1600) has a specific angular on the order of magnitude as what is inferred in small T-Tauri disks thus disk formation appears to be direct consequence conservation during collapse our analysis reveals dispersion directions velocity gradients at envelope scales >1600 au, suggesting that these gradients may not be directly related to rotational motions of the envelopes. We conclude that the specific angular momentum observed at these scales could find its origin in other mechanisms, such as core-forming motions (infall, turbulence), or trace an imprint of the initial conditions for the formation of protostellar cores.

stars: formation; stars: protostars; ISM: kinematics and dynamics; radio lines: ISM; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies

The datasets used in this paper are available at

Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume 637, Article Number A92, Number of pages 51
2020 May

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Instituto de Astrof√≠sica e Ci√™ncias do Espa√ßo Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia