AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 134. Formation of Massive Stars
Display, Thursday, January 10, 2002, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[134.14] Masers in Disks due to Gravitational Instabilities

A.C. Mejia, R.H. Durisen (Indiana University), B.K. Pickett (Purdue University), T.W. Hartquist (University of Leeds)

Evidence suggests that some masers associated with massive protostars may originate in the outer regions of large circumstellar disks, at radii of 100's to 1000's of AU from the central mass. This is particularly true for methanol (CH3OH), where linear distributions of masers are found with disk-like kinematics. In 3D hydrodynamics simulations we have made to study the effects of gravitational instabilities in the outer parts of disks around young low-mass stars, the nonlinear development of the instabilities leads to a complex of intersecting spiral shocks, clumps, and arclets within the disk and to significant time-dependent, nonaxisymmetric distortions of the disk surface. A rescaling of our disk simulations to the case of a massive protostar shows that conditions in the disturbed outer disk seem conducive to the appearance of masers if it is viewed edge-on.

This work was supported by NASA Origins Program Grant NAGW5-4342, by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and by NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program Grant NAG5-10262.

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