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    The size of dust grains, a, is key to the physical and chemical processes in circumstellar discs, but observational constraints of grain size remain challenging. (Sub)millimetre continuum observations often show a per cent-level polarization parallel to the disc minor axis, which is generally attributed to scattering by ${\sim}100\, \mu{\rm m}$-sized spherical grains (with a size parameter x ≡ 2$\pi$a/λ < 1, where λ is the wavelength). Larger spherical grains (with x greater than unity) would produce opposite polarization direction. However, the inferred size is in tension with the opacity index β that points to larger mm/cm-sized grains. We investigate the scattering-produced polarization by large irregular grains with a range of x greater than unity with optical properties obtained from laboratory experiments. Using the radiation transfer code, RADMC-3D, we find that large irregular grains still produce polarization parallel to the disc minor axis. If the original forsterite refractive index in the optical is adopted, then all samples can produce the typically observed level of polarization. Accounting for the more commonly adopted refractive index using the DSHARP dust model, only grains with x of several (corresponding to ∼mm-sized grains) can reach the same polarization level. Our results suggest that grains in discs canmore »have sizes in the millimetre regime, which may alleviate the tension between the grain sizes inferred from scattering and other means. Additionally, if large irregular grains are not settled to the mid-plane, their strong forward scattering can produce asymmetries between the near and far side of an inclined disc, which can be used to infer their presence.

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    Recent observations indicate that mm/cm-sized grains may exist in the embedded protostellar discs. How such large grains grow from the micron size (or less) in the earliest phase of star formation remains relatively unexplored. In this study, we take a first step to model the grain growth in the protostellar environment, using 2D (axisymmetric) radiation hydrodynamic and grain growth simulations. We show that the grain growth calculations can be greatly simplified by the ‘terminal velocity approximation’, where the dust drift velocity relative to the gas is proportional to its stopping time, which is proportional to the grain size. We find that the grain–grain collision from size-dependent terminal velocity alone is too slow to convert a significant fraction of the initially micron-sized grains into mm/cm sizes during the deeply embedded Class 0 phase. Substantial grain growth is achieved when the grain–grain collision speed is enhanced by a factor of 4. The dust growth above and below the disc midplane enables the grains to settle faster towards the midplane, which increases the local dust-to-gas ratio, which, in turn, speeds up further growth there. How this needed enhancement can be achieved is unclear, although turbulence is a strong possibility that deserves furthermore »exploration.

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    Rings and gaps are commonly observed in the dust continuum emission of young stellar discs. Previous studies have shown that substructures naturally develop in the weakly ionized gas of magnetized, non-ideal MHD discs. The gas rings are expected to trap large mm/cm-sized grains through pressure gradient-induced radial dust–gas drift. Using 2D (axisymmetric) MHD simulations that include ambipolar diffusion and dust grains of three representative sizes (1 mm, 3.3 mm, and 1 cm), we show that the grains indeed tend to drift radially relative to the gas towards the centres of the gas rings, at speeds much higher than in a smooth disc because of steeper pressure gradients. However, their spatial distribution is primarily controlled by meridional gas motions, which are typically much faster than the dust–gas drift. In particular, the grains that have settled near the mid-plane are carried rapidly inwards by a fast accretion stream to the inner edges of the gas rings, where they are lifted up by the gas flows diverted away from the mid-plane by a strong poloidal magnetic field. The flow pattern in our simulation provides an attractive explanation for the meridional flows recently inferred in HD 163296 and other discs, including both ‘collapsing’ regions where themore »gas near the disc surface converges towards the mid-plane and a disc wind. Our study highlights the prevalence of the potentially observable meridional flows associated with the gas substructure formation in non-ideal MHD discs and their crucial role in generating rings and gaps in dust.

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    With the advent of ALMA, it is now possible to observationally constrain how discs form around deeply embedded protostars. In particular, the recent ALMA C3H2 line observations of the nearby protostar L1527 have been interpreted as evidence for the so-called ‘centrifugal barrier,’ where the protostellar envelope infall is gradually decelerated to a stop by the centrifugal force in a region of super-Keplerian rotation. To test the concept of centrifugal barrier, which was originally based on angular momentum conserving-collapse of a rotating test particle around a fixed point mass, we carry out simple axisymmetric hydrodynamic simulations of protostellar disc formation including a minimum set of ingredients: self-gravity, rotation, and a prescribed viscosity that enables the disc to accrete. We find that a super-Keplerian region can indeed exist when the viscosity is relatively large but, unlike the classic picture of centrifugal barrier, the infalling envelope material is not decelerated solely by the centrifugal force. The region has more specific angular momentum than its surrounding envelope material, which points to an origin in outward angular momentum transport in the disc (subject to the constraint of disc expansion by the infalling envelope), rather than the spin-up of the envelope material envisioned in themore »classic picture as it falls closer to the centre in order to conserve angular momentum. For smaller viscosities, the super-Keplerian rotation is weaker or non-existing. We conclude that, despite the existence of super-Keplerian rotation in some parameter regime, the classic picture of centrifugal barrier is not supported by our simulations.

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  5. Abstract Chemical models and experiments indicate that interstellar dust grains and their ice mantles play an important role in the production of complex organic molecules (COMs). To date, the most complex solid-phase molecule detected with certainty in the interstellar medium is methanol, but the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) may be able to identify still larger organic species. In this study, we use a coupled chemodynamical model to predict new candidate species for JWST detection toward the young star-forming core Cha-MMS1, combining the gas–grain chemical kinetic code MAGICKAL with a 1D radiative hydrodynamics simulation using Athena++ . With this model, the relative abundances of the main ice constituents with respect to water toward the core center match well with typical observational values, providing a firm basis to explore the ice chemistry. Six oxygen-bearing COMs (ethanol, dimethyl ether, acetaldehyde, methyl formate, methoxy methanol, and acetic acid), as well as formic acid, show abundances as high as, or exceeding, 0.01% with respect to water ice. Based on the modeled ice composition, the infrared spectrum is synthesized to diagnose the detectability of the new ice species. The contribution of COMs to IR absorption bands is minor compared to the main ice constituents, andmore »the identification of COM ice toward the core center of Cha-MMS1 with the JWST NIRCAM/Wide Field Slitless Spectroscopy (2.4–5.0 μ m) may be unlikely. However, MIRI observations (5–28 μ m) toward COM-rich environments where solid-phase COM abundances exceed 1% with respect to the column density of water ice might reveal the distinctive ice features of COMs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  6. ABSTRACT Despite the rich observational results on interstellar magnetic fields in star-forming regions, it is still unclear how dynamically significant the magnetic fields are at varying physical scales, because direct measurement of the field strength is observationally difficult. The Davis–Chandrasekhar–Fermi (DCF) method has been the most commonly used method to estimate the magnetic field strength from polarization data. It is based on the assumption that gas turbulent motion is the driving source of field distortion via linear Alfvén waves. In this work, using MHD simulations of star-forming clouds, we test the validity of the assumption underlying the DCF method by examining its accuracy in the real 3D space. Our results suggest that the DCF relation between turbulent kinetic energy and magnetic energy fluctuation should be treated as a statistical result instead of a local property. We then develop and investigate several modifications to the original DCF method using synthetic observations, and propose new recipes to improve the accuracy of DCF-derived magnetic field strength. We further note that the biggest uncertainty in the DCF analysis may come from the linewidth measurement instead of the polarization observation, especially since the line-of-sight gas velocity can be used to estimate the gas volume density,more »another critical parameter in the DCF method.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 11, 2023
  7. Abstract Jets can facilitate the mass accretion onto the protostars in star formation. They are believed to be launched from accretion disks around the protostars by magnetocentrifugal force, as supported by the detections of rotation and magnetic fields in some of them. Here we report a radial flow of the textbook-case protostellar jet HH 212 at the base to further support this jet-launching scenario. This radial flow validates a central prediction of the magnetocentrifugal theory of jet formation and collimation, namely, the jet is the densest part of a wide-angle wind that flows radially outward at distances far from the (small, sub-au) launching region. Additional evidence for the radially flowing wide-angle component comes from its ability to reproduce the structure and kinematics of the shells detected around the HH 212 jet. This component, which can transport material from the inner to outer disk, could account for the chondrules and Ca–Al-rich inclusions detected in the solar system at large distances.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  8. Abstract Misalignment between rotation and magnetic fields has been suggested to be one type of physical mechanism that can ease the effects of magnetic braking during the collapse of cloud cores leading to the formation of protostellar disks. However, its essential factors are poorly understood. Therefore, we perform a more detailed analysis of the physics involved. We analyze existing simulation data to measure the system torques, mass accretion rates, and Toomre Q parameters. We also examine the presence of shocks in the system. While advective torques are generally the strongest, we find that magnetic and gravitational torques can play substantial roles in how angular momentum is transferred during the disk formation process. Magnetic torques can shape the accretion flows, creating two-armed magnetized inflow spirals aligned with the magnetic field. We find evidence of an accretion shock that is aligned according to the spiral structure of the system. Inclusion of ambipolar diffusion as explored in this work has shown a slight influence in the small-scale structures but not in the main morphology. We discuss potential candidate systems where some of these phenomena could be present.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  9. Abstract We present 870 μ m Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array polarization observations of thermal dust emission from the iconic, edge-on debris disk β Pic. While the spatially resolved map does not exhibit detectable polarized dust emission, we detect polarization at the ∼3 σ level when averaging the emission across the entire disk. The corresponding polarization fraction is P frac = 0.51% ± 0.19%. The polarization position angle χ is aligned with the minor axis of the disk, as expected from models of dust grains aligned via radiative alignment torques (RAT) with respect to a toroidal magnetic field ( B -RAT) or with respect to the anisotropy in the radiation field ( k -RAT). When averaging the polarized emission across the outer versus inner thirds of the disk, we find that the polarization arises primarily from the SW third. We perform synthetic observations assuming grain alignment via both k -RAT and B -RAT. Both models produce polarization fractions close to our observed value when the emission is averaged across the entire disk. When we average the models in the inner versus outer thirds of the disk, we find that k -RAT is the likely mechanism producing the polarized emission in βmore »Pic. A comparison of timescales relevant to grain alignment also yields the same conclusion. For dust grains with realistic aspect ratios (i.e., s > 1.1), our models imply low grain-alignment efficiencies.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  10. Abstract We present H -band (1.65 μ m) and SOFIA HAWC+ 154 μ m polarization observations of the low-mass core L483. Our H -band observations reveal a magnetic field that is overwhelmingly in the E–W direction, which is approximately parallel to the bipolar outflow that is observed in scattered IR light and in single-dish 12 CO observations. From our 154 μ m data, we infer a ∼45° twist in the magnetic field within the inner 5″ (1000 au) of L483. We compare these new observations with published single-dish 350 μ m polarimetry and find that the 10,000 au scale H -band data match the smaller-scale 350 μ m data, indicating that the collapse of L483 is magnetically regulated on these larger scales. We also present high-resolution 1.3 mm Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array data of L483 that reveals it is a close binary star with a separation of 34 au. The plane of the binary of L483 is observed to be approximately parallel to the twisted field in the inner 1000 au. Comparing this result to the ∼1000 au protostellar envelope, we find that the envelope is roughly perpendicular to the 1000 au HAWC+ field. Using the data presented, we speculatemore »that L483 initially formed as a wide binary and the companion star migrated to its current position, causing an extreme shift in angular momentum thereby producing the twisted magnetic field morphology observed. More observations are needed to further test this scenario.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023