Laboratory Experiments, Numerical Simulations, and Astronomical Observations of Deflected Supersonic Jets: Application to HH 110

Hartigan, P. (Rice), Foster, J. M. (AWE) Wilde, B. H. (LANL) Coker, R. F. (LANL) Rosen, P. A. (AWE) Hansen, J. F. (LLNL), Blue, B. (General Atomics), Williams, R. J. R. (AWE), Carver, R. (Rice), and Frank, A. (Rochester)

Collimated supersonic flows in laboratory experiments behave in a similar manner to astrophysical jets provided that radiation, viscosity, and thermal conductivity are unimportant in the laboratory jets, and that the experimental and astrophysical jets share similar dimensionless parameters such as the Mach number and the ratio of the density between the jet and the ambient medium. When these conditions apply, laboratory jets provide a means to study their astrophysical counterparts for a variety of initial conditions, arbitrary viewing angles, and different times, attributes especially helpful for interpreting astronomical images where the viewing angle and initial conditions are fixed and the time domain is limited. Experiments are also a powerful way to test numerical fluid codes in a parameter range where the codes must perform well. In this paper we combine images from a series of laboratory experiments of deflected supersonic jets with numerical simulations and new spectral observations of an astrophysical example, the young stellar jet HH 110. The experiments provide key insights into how deflected jets evolve in 3-D, particularly within working surfaces where multiple subsonic shells and filaments form, and along the interface where shocked jet material penetrates into and destroys the obstacle along its path. The experiments also underscore the importance of the viewing angle in determining what an observer will see. The simulations match the experiments so well that we can use the simulated velocity maps to compare the dynamics in the experiment with those implied by the astronomical spectra. The experiments support a model where the observed shock structures in HH 110 form as a result of a pulsed driving source rather than from weak shocks that may arise in the supersonic shear layer between the Mach disk and bow shock of the jet's working surface.

2009, ApJ 705, 1073