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SMA observations of the polarized dust emission in solar-type Class 0 protostars : the magnetic field properties at envelope scales

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Authors : Maud Galametz, Anaelle Maury, Josep M. Girart, Ramprasad Rao, Qizhou Zhang, Mathilde Gaudel, Valeska Valdivia, Eric Keto, Shih-Ping Lai
Abstract : Although, from a theoretical point of view, magnetic fields are believed to have a significant role during the early stages of star formation, especially during the main accretion phase, the magnetic field strength and topology is poorly constrained in the youngest accreting Class 0 protostars that lead to the formation of solar-type stars. We carried out observations of the polarized dust continuum emission with the SMA interferometer at 0.87mm, in order to probe the structure of the magnetic field in a sample of 12 low-mass Class 0 envelopes, including both single protostars and multiple systems, in nearby clouds. Our SMA observations probe the envelope emission at scales of 600-5000 au with a spatial resolution ranging from 600 to 1500 au depending on the source distance. We report the detection of linearly polarized dust continuum emission in all of our targets, with average polarization fractions ranging from 2% to 10% in these protostellar envelopes. The polarization fraction decreases with the continuum flux density, which translates into a decrease with the H2 column density within an individual envelope. Our analysis show that the envelope-scale magnetic field is preferentially observed either aligned or perpendicular to the outflow direction. Interestingly, our results suggest for the first time a relation between the orientation of the magnetic field and the rotational energy of envelopes, with a larger occurrence of misalignment in sources where strong rotational motions are detected at hundreds to thousands of au scales. We also show that the best agreement between the magnetic field and outflow orientation is found in sources showing no small-scale multiplicity and no large disks at about 100 au scales.
Journal : Astronomy&Astrophysics Arxiv