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Jes Jørgensenhttp://youngstars.nbi.dk/http://www.nbi.dk/~jeskjshapeimage_2_link_0

Low-mass (proto)stars are formed from gravitational collapse of dense cores in giant molecular clouds. The structure of low-mass stars in these early stages is likely going to be important for their properties later in their lives - for example, the chemical composition of the circumstellar disks in which planets may form reflecting the chemistry of the core from which the stars have formed. In recent years much progress has been made on characterizing the “global” or “average” properties of the protostellar envelopes: these studies suggest that the chemical structures of low-mass protostars are strongly varying as function of density and temperature - e.g., depending on the proximity to the central star, which heats it ambient environment. But only in a few cases have the observations actually had sufficient spatial resolution to directly image these variations (e.g., Jørgensen, 2004, A&A, 424, 589).

The aim of this project is to use high-angular resolution observations from the Submillimeter Array (SMA) to study the variations in the physics and chemistry on few hundred AU scales in the deeply embedded protostar B1-c (e.g., Matthews et al. 2006, ApJ, 652, 1374). These observations will make it possible to quantitatively characterize for example the variations in the physical (e.g., kinematical) and chemical structure in different regions of the protostellar envelope. Time permitting this project can be expanded to comparing to, e.g., other observed sources or radiative transfer modeling of the observed line emission.

The small-scale chemical structure of an embedded protostar

Keywords: SMA submillimeter interferometric observations; radiative transfer modeling