Hubble space telescope observations of the disk and jet of HH 30

Christopher J. Burrows, Karl R. Stapelfeldt, Alan M. Watson, John E. Krist, Gilda E. Ballester, John T. Clarke, David Crisp, John S. Gallagher, Richard E. Griffiths, J. Jeff Hester, John G. Hoessel, Jon A. Holtzman, Jeremy R. Mould, Paul A. Scowen, John T. Trauger, James A. Westphal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

335 Scopus citations


HH 30 in Taurus has been imaged with the Hubble Space Telescope WFPC2. The images show in reflected light a flared disk with a radius of about 250 AU that obscures the protostar. The disk resembles detailed accretion disk models that constrain its density distribution and show that its inclination is less than 10°. There are bipolar emission-line jets perpendicular to the disk, a very clear demonstration of the standard paradigm for accretion disk and jet systems. However, asymmetries in the light distribution show that the disk has not completely settled into a quasi-equilibrium accretion state, or that some of the observed scattering is from an asymmetric envelope. The emission-line jet itself is resolved into a number of knots with typical lengths and separations of 0″4, much smaller and more numerous than indicated by lower resolution ground-based studies. There are indications of still finer structures in the jet all the way to the resolution limit of 0″.1. The knots have proper motions ranging from 100 to 300 km s-1 and are therefore generated at the surprisingly high rate of about 0.4 knots per jet per year. The jet appears to be collimated within a cone of opening angle 3° and can be seen to within 30 AU of the star. Both single- and multiple-scattering disk models have a range of possible solutions, but by requiring pressure support and temperature equilibrium, a self-consistent model emerges. There is evidence for pressure support because the disk appears to have a Gaussian height profile. The temperature at each point in the disk is determined by the disk geometry, which in turn fixes the temperature in a self-consistent manner. The extinction to the protostar is unknown but constrained to be greater than 24 mag. The optical properties of the scattering grains in the disk are determined and found to imply a large scattering asymmetry, but they seem to follow the interstellar reddening law. The absolute magnitude and colors of the unseen protostar, which has a brightness in the I bandpass of about 0.16 times solar and is very red, are obtained. The disk mass is about 0.006 times solar and has an expected lifetime of about 105 yr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-451
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART I
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Circumstellar matter
  • Dust, extinction ISM: jets and outflows
  • Stars: individual (HH 30)
  • Stars: pre-main-sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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