Measuring Magnetic Fields from Water Masers Associated with the Synchrotron Protostellar Jet in W3(H2O)
September 30, 2019
October 09, 2019
The Turner-Welch Object in the W3(OH) high-mass star forming complex drives a synchrotron jet,
which is quite exceptional for a high-mass protostar, and is associated with a strongly polarized water maser source, W3(H$_2$O),
making it an optimal target to investigate the role of magnetic fields on the innermost scales of protostellar disk-jet systems.
We report here full polarimetric VLBA observations of water masers. The linearly polarized emission from water masers provides clues on the orientation
of the local magnetic field, while the measurement of the Zeeman
splitting from circular polarization provides its strength.
By combining the information on the measured orientation and strength of the magnetic field with
the knowledge of the maser velocities,
we infer that the magnetic field evolves from having a dominant component parallel to the outflow velocity in the pre-shock gas (with field strengths of the order of a few tens of mG), to being mainly dominated by the perpendicular component (of order of a few hundred of mG) in the post-shock gas where the water masers are excited.
The general implication is that in the undisturbed (i.e. not-shocked) circumstellar gas, the flow velocities would follow closely the magnetic field lines, while in the shocked gas the magnetic field would be re-configured to be parallel to the shock front as a consequence of gas compression.
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