Infrared polarization images of star-forming regions. I. The ubiquity of bipolar structure

M. Tamura, Ian Gatley, R. R. Joyce, M. Ueno, H. Suto, M. Sekiguchi

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The inefficiency of the stellar formation process leads rather generally to high residual dust densities, and so to the existence of infrared reflection nebulosity (IRN), in regions of star formation. Polarization images of several star-forming regions with mass outflows (GSS 30, S255, GL 5180, GL 2591, GGD 27 and NGC 7538) presented here (1) establish the universality of bipolarity and of shell or cavity structure in the IRN consistent with that of CO outflow, (2) identify the source of the mass outflow in each case, (3) show that the opening angle near this central source is large, and (4) demonstrate several instances of multiple shells, probably arising from episodic mass loss. Astrometry of 2.2 μm sources with arcsecond accuracy identifies the illuminating source of each IRN uniquely with a compact H II region or a bright IR source. The polarization images provide strong evidence for large-scale dust toroids around each of these sources. The density and mass of these disks are estimated from the extinction through the disk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-627
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Infrared: sources
  • Nebulae: reflection
  • Nebulae: structure
  • Polarization
  • Stars: formation


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