Fr.: jet protostellaire
A high-velocity and highly → collimated jet associated with the earliest phase of → star formation that propagating along the polar axis of the → protostar-→ accretion disk system. Protostellar jets are usually detected in the [S II], [O I], and Hα lines and are therefore referred to as optical jets. They may have more than a parsec in length. Their formation is related to the → magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) of accretion disks. These jets are detected in protostellar sources over a wide range of masses, from the very early stages of formation (sources associated with infalling envelopes whose mass exceeds that of the growing star) all the way to the → classical T Tauri stars, whose envelopes have already dispersed. This phenomenon is thought to play a key role in regulating the star formation process by removing the excess → angular momentum of disk material and enabling matter to flow toward the center. Protostellar winds also provide an important → feedback mechanism between the forming star and the surrounding medium, to which they return mass and energy. Protostellar jets are at the origin of → bipolar outflows. The et sweeps up ambient → molecular cloud material into two thin shells, which manifest themselves as the observed bipolar lobes of → carbon monoxide (CO) emission. Once the molecular cloud material has been swept away (on a timescale of 105 years), the bipolar outflow disappears, leaving the protostellar jet to erratically fire away for a further 106-107 years.