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Counterrotation in Magnetocentrifugally Driven Jets and Other Winds

C. Sauty, V. Cayatte, J. J. G. Lima, T. Matsakos, K. Tsinganos

Rotation measurement in jets from T Tauri stars is a rather difficult task. Some jets seem to be rotating in a direction opposite to that of the underlying disk, although it is not yet clear if this affects the totality or part of the outflows. On the other hand, Ulysses data also suggest that the solar wind may rotate in two opposite ways between the northern and southern hemispheres. We show that this result is not as surprising as it may seem and that it emerges naturally from the ideal MHD equations. Specifically, counterrotating jets neither contradict the magnetocentrifugal driving of the flow nor prevent extraction of angular momentum from the disk. The demonstration of this result is shown by combining the ideal MHD equations for steady axisymmetric flows. Provided that the jet is decelerated below some given threshold beyond the Alfv´en surface, the flow will change its direction of rotation locally or globally. Counterrotation is also possible for only some layers of the outflow at specific altitudes along the jet axis. We conclude that the counterrotation of winds or jets with respect to the source, star or disk, is not in contradiction with the magnetocentrifugal driving paradigm. This phenomenon may affect part of the outflow, either in one hemisphere, or only in some of the outflow layers. From a time-dependent simulation, we illustrate this effect and show that it may not be permanent.

ISM: jets and outflows – magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) – stars: mass-loss – stars: pre-main sequence – stars: rotation – stars: winds, outflows

The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Volume 759, Number 1, Page L1_1
2012 November

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia