The circumbinary outflow: A protostellar outflow driven by a circumbinary disk

Masahiro N. MacHida, Shu Ichiro Inutsuka, Tomoaki Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Protostellar outflow is a star's first cry at the moment of birth. The outflows have an indispensable role in the formation of single stars because they carry off the excess angular momentum from the center of the shrinking gas cloud, and permit further collapse to form a star. On the other hand, a significant fraction of stars is supposedly born as binaries with circumbinary disks that are frequently observed. Here, we investigate the evolution of a magnetized rotating cloud using a three-dimensional resistive MHD nested-grid code, and show that the outflow is driven by the circumbinary disk and has an important role even in the binary formation. After the adiabatic core formation in the collapsing cloud core, the magnetic flux is significantly removed from the center of the cloud by the Ohmic dissipation. Since this removal makes the magnetic braking ineffective, the adiabatic core continuously acquires the angular momentum to induce fragmentation and subsequent binary formation. The magnetic field accumulates in the circumbinary disk where the removal and accretion of magnetic field are balanced, and finally drives the circumbinary outflow. This result explains the spectacular morphology of some specific young stellar objects such as L1551 IRS5. We can infer that most of the bipolar molecular outflows observed by low density tracers (i.e., CO) would correspond to circumbinary or circum-multiple outflows found in this Letter, since most of the young stellar objects are supposed to be binaries or multiples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L10-L14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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