Saturday, December 10, 2016

A wind-driving disk model for the mm-wavelength polarization structure of HL Tau


Matsakos et al


The recent advent of spatially resolved mm- and cm-wavelength polarimetry in protostellar accretion discs could help clarify the role of magnetic fields in the angular momentum transport in these systems. The best case to date is that of HL Tau, where the inability to produce a good fit to the 1.25-mm data with a combination of vertical and azimuthal magnetic field components was interpreted as implying that centrifugally driven winds (CDWs) are probably not a significant transport mechanism on the ∼102 au scale probed by the observations. Using synthetic polarization maps of heuristic single-field-component discs and of a post-processed simulation of a wind-driving disc, we demonstrate that a much better fit to the data can be obtained if the radial field component, a hallmark of the CDW mechanism, dominates in the polarized emission region. A similar inference was previously made in modelling the far-infrared polarization map of the pc-scale dust ring in the Galactic centre. To reconcile this interpretation with theoretical models of protostellar discs, which indicate that the wind is launched from a comparatively high elevation above the mid-plane, we propose that most of the polarized emission originates – with a high (≳ 10%) intrinsic degree of polarization – in small (≲ 0.1 mm) grains that remain suspended above the mid-plane, and that the bulk of the mm-wavelength emission is produced – with low intrinsic polarization – by larger grains that have settled to the mid-plane.

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