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  • Predictions for Observing Protostellar Outflows with ALMA

    Abstract

    Introduction

    Young protostars are observed to launch energetic collimated bipolar mass outflows (Frank et al., 2014). These protostellar outflows play a fundamental role in the star formation process on a variety of scales. On sub-pc scales they entrain and unbind core gas, thus setting the efficiency at which dense gas turns into stars (Matzner et al., 1999; Alves et al., 2007; Machida et al., 2013; (citation not found: Offner14). Interaction between outflows and infalling material may regulate protostellar accretion and, ultimately, terminate it \citep{}. On sub-pc up to cloud scales, outflows inject substantial energy into their surroundings, potentially providing a means of sustaining cloud turbulence over multiple dynamical times(Nakamura et al., 2007; Carroll et al., 2009; Wang et al., 2010; Arce et al., 2010; Nakamura et al., 2011; (citation not found: hansen11) Nakamura et al., 2014).

    The origin of outflows is attributed to the presence of magnetic fields, and a variety of different models have been proposed to explain the launching mechanism (e.g., Arce et al., 2007). Of these, the “

    Three main approaches have been applied to studying outflows. First, single-dish molecular line observations have been successful in mapping the extent of outflows and their kinematics on core to cloud scales (citation not found: bourke97) Arce et al., 2010; Dunham et al., 2014). However, outflow gas with velocities comparable to the cloud turbulent velocity can only be extracted with additional assumptions and modeling (e.g., Arce et al., 2001; Dunham et al., 2014), which are difficult to apply to confused, clustered star forming environments (Plunkett et al., 2013). Second, interferometry provide a means of mapping outflows down to 1,000 AU scales scales (Arce et al., 2006; Plunkett et al., 2013), and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submilllimeter Antenna (ALMA) is extending these limits down to sub-AU scales (Arce et al., 2013; Lee et al., 2014). However, interferometry is not suitable for producing large high-resolution maps and it resolves out larger scale structure. Consequently, it is difficult to assemble a complete and multi-scale picture of outflow properties with these observations. Finally, numerical simulations provide a complementary approach that supplies three-dimensional predictions for launching, entrainment and energy injection (Machida et al., 2013; (citation not found: siefried13) (citation not found: Offner14).

    The most promising avenue for understanding outflows lies at the intersection of numerical modeling and observations. By performing synthetic observations to model molecular and atomic lines, continuum, and observational effects, simulations can be mapped into the observational domain where they can be compared directly to observations (e.g., Offner et al., 2011; (citation not found: Offner12b) (citation not found: Mairs13). Such direct comparisons are important for assessing the “

    The immanent completion of ALMA provides further motivation for predictive synthetic observations. Although ALMA will have unprecedented sensitivity and resolution compared to existing instruments, by nature interferometry resolves out large-scale structure and different configurations will be sensitive to different scales. Atmospheric noise and total observing time may also effect the fidelity of the data. Previous synthetic observations performed by (citation not found: Offner12b) suggest that the superior resolution of full ALMA and the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) will be able to resolve core structure and fragmentation prior to binary formation. (citation not found: peters13) predicts that ALMA will be able to resolve complex outflow velocity structure and helical structure in molecular emission.

    In this paper we seek to quantify the accuracy of different ALMA configurations in recovering fundamental gas properties such as mass, line-of-sight momentum, and energy. We use the casa software package to synthetically observe protostellar outflows in the radiation-hydrodynamic simulations of (citation not found: Offner14). By modeling the emission at different times, inclinations, molecular lines, and observing configurations we evaluate how well physical quantities can be measured in the star formation process. In section §\ref{Methods} we describe our methods for modeling and observing outflows. In section §\ref{results} we evaluate the effects of different observational parameters on bulk quantities. We discuss results and summarize conclusions in §\ref{Conclusions}.