Kinematics of Herbig-Haro Objects in the Protostellar Outflow L 1551 as Mapped by Fabry-Perot Spectroscopy

Hartigan, P. (Rice), Morse, J. (CASA), Palunas, P. (NASA/GSFC), Bally, J. (CASA) and Devine, D. (NASA/GSFC)

We present new velocity-resolved Fabry-Perot images in [S II] 6731 and H-alpha of the blueshifted portion of the protostellar outflow L 1551. These new data isolate the line emission from the reflected continuum, and make it possible to visualize the kinematics of the shock waves in the outflow clearly for the first time on large size scales with subarcsecond spatial resolution.

Velocity images of the L 1551 jet confirm that a fainter, slower jet lies a few arcseconds below the main jet. Emission from the main jet decreases sharply in radial velocity and the emission line width increases suddenly as the jet encounters the bright knot #3, in agreement with bow shock models. This knot must move into previously ejected material to account for the observed radial velocities, supporting the idea that shocks in HH flows form as the result of variable velocity ejections from the embedded protostar. However, a velocity gradient observed along the entire edge of the bow shock is spatially larger than expected if the bow shock alone were responsible for all the line emission. Deviations from the simple model are most easily explained if a Mach disk alters the emission and kinematics within the bow shock region, though a precursor to the bow shock is an alternate possibility.

The spatial distribution of radial velocities and emission line widths across HH 29 implies that this object is a slower portion of the outflow currently being overtaken by faster material. New proper motion images of HH 29 independently confirm this result. The large-scale velocity structure of the L 1551 outflow is complex, but can generally be understood if faster material drives shock waves into slower material around the edge of a cavity. A striking circular feature whose center lies near the intersection of the axis of the bright jet and the cavity resembles similar structures in the Orion Nebula, and could define a hole through which a fast jet has penetrated. The velocity structure along a string of HH objects to the southwest of HH 29 is consistent with the result of Devine etal (1999) that L 1551 NE drives this portion of the outflow. Linear features that cross the L 1551 flow may be associated with separate, unrelated jets from the HH 30 region or elsewhere within L 1551.

2000, AJ 119, 1872