The birth of a star begins with the collapse of cold molecular gas under its gravitational weight. But once a star begins to form, the process gets a bit more complex. This is particularly true of massive protostars, where the heat and pressure of the young star can ionize nearby gas, creating outflow jets.
To study this process in action, Azia Robinson, a graduate student at New Mexico Tech, focused on a high-mass protostellar candidate known as IRAS 19411+2306 A. They used observations of the Very Large Array (VLA) at 6-cm wavelengths, and the Submillimeter Array (SMA) at 1.3-mm wavelengths, and found emissions of ionized carbon monoxide. The distribution of CO emission points to an outflow of molecular gas from the protostar. At 1.3 mm wavelengths, a dust core was seen in the region of the outflow, which agrees with the model of a large protostar with a hot molecular core.
Azia presented this work at AAS 242.