Probing magnetic fields in protostellar cores with ALMA observations and next-generation simulations

Chat Hull

Tuesday November 8th, 10:05

The first polarization data from ALMA were delivered to PIs last (northern) spring. The data are already both expanding and confounding our understanding of the role of magnetic fields in low-mass star formation. Here I will show the highest resolution and highest sensitivity polarization images ever made of a Class 0 protostellar source. These new ALMA observations achieve ~150 AU resolution, allowing us to probe polarization -- and thus magnetic field orientation -- in the innermost regions surrounding the protostar. The ALMA data reveal magnetic fields that are parallel with filamentary structures in the source; these fields lead to the central source, indicating that we may be witnessing magnetized accretion flows onto a protostar for the first time. We compare these observations with cutting-edge AREPO simulations that match the ALMA resolution, and find not only that the source most likely originated in a weakly magnetized, turbulent envirnoment; but also that the initial conditions at the parsec scales of clouds can greatly influence source morphology at protostellar scales.

Background image: Robert Hurt, IPAC