Astronomers detected a strange molecular bubble-outflow structure in space

They identified a new molecular bubble in the carbon monoxide signal from both telescopes.


As a result of stellar feedback, star formation can result in bubbles and outflows. Outflows and bubbles affect the molecular cloud’s overall energy balance by infusing momentum and energy into the interstellar medium around them. Higher-resolution radio telescopes can resolve molecular bubbles and measure the impact of star formation on molecular clouds.

An international team led by Dr. LI Di from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) conducted carbon-monoxide emission observations in the Taurus molecular clouds using Institute for Radio Astronomy in the Millimeter Range (IRAM) 30-m telescope and James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT). They identified a new molecular bubble-outflow structure in the carbon monoxide signal from both telescopes.

This finding confirms that molecular outflows and bubbles share a common origin. It improves our comprehension of how stellar feedback affects molecular clouds. The discovery of the bubble-outflow structure offers fresh observational proof of the T Tauri stars’ feedback to the interstellar medium.

Multiwavelength data have been utilized to study its spatial structure, energy injection, and dynamical timescale. This bubble has a kinetic energy of 5.8 × 1043 erg within the smallest radius of a bubble in Taurus.

According to scientists, the bubble formed ∼70,000 yr ago. This unusual new structure is found in low- and intermediate-mass star formation regions.

DUAN Yan, a Ph.D. candidate from NAOC and the first author of the study, said“Through combined analysis with the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory (FCRAO) survey of the Taurus molecular cloud, we found an outflow located at the center of the molecular bubble.”

Based on Gaia EDR3 data, scientists hypothesized that a pair of T Tauri binary stars may have created the molecular bubble. There has only ever been one other report of a molecular bubble coexisting with an outflow (in Orion A).

Journal Reference:

  1. Yan Duan, Di Li et al. Discovery of a New Molecular Bubble–Outflow Structure in the Taurus B18 Cloud. The Astrophysical Journal. DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aca805
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