HH 666: Different kinematics from H α and [Fe II] emission provide a missing link between jets and outflows

Megan Reiter, Nathan Smith, Megan M. Kiminki, John Bally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


HH 666 is an externally irradiated protostellar outflow in the Carina nebula for which we present new near-IR [Fe II] spectra obtained with the Folded-Port Infrared Echellette spectrograph at Magellan Observatory. Earlier Hα and near-IR [Fe II] imaging revealed that the two emission lines trace substantially different morphologies in the inner ~40 arcsec of the outflow. Hα traces a broad cocoon that surrounds the collimated [Fe II] jet that extends throughout the parent dust pillar. New spectra show that this discrepancy extends to their kinematics. Near-IR [Fe II] emission traces steady, fast velocities of ±200 kms-1 from the eastern and western limbs of the jet. We compare this to a previously published Hα spectrum that reveals a Hubble-flow velocity structure near the jet-driving source. New, second-epoch Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) Hα images reveal the lateral spreading of the Hα outflow lobe away from the jet axis. Hα proper motions also indicate a sudden increase in the mass-loss rate ~1000 yr ago, while steady [Fe II] emission throughout the inner jet suggest that the burst is ongoing. An accretion burst sustained for ~1000 yr is an order of magnitude longer than expected for FU Orionis outbursts, but represents only a small fraction of the total age of the HH 666 outflow. Altogether, available data suggests that [Fe II] traces the highly collimated protostellar jet while Hα traces the entrained and irradiated outflow. HH 666 appears to be a missing link between bare jets seen in H II regions and entrained molecular outflows seen from embedded protostars in more quiescent regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-574
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 27 2015


  • Haro objects
  • Herbig
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: jets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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