Imaging scattered light from the youngest protostars in L1448: Signatures of outflows

John J. Tobin, Leslie W. Looney, Lee G. Mundy, Woojin Kwon, Murad Hamidouche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present deep IRAC images that highlight the scattered light emission around many of the youngest protostars, the so-called Class 0 sources, in L1448. By comparison of the data with the Monte Carlo radiative transfer code of Whitney et al., we demonstrate for the first time that the observed infrared light from these objects is consistent with scattered light from the central protostar. The scattered light escapes out the cavity, carved by molecular outflows, in the circumstellar envelope. In particular, we observe prominent scattered light nebulae associated with the Class 0 sources: L1448-mm, L14481RS 2, and 3B, as well as a Class I source: IRS 3 A. We use a grid of models with probable protostellar properties to generate model spectral energy distributions (SEDs) and images for bands sensitive to this scattered light: J, H, K s, and Spitzer IRAC bands. By simultaneously fitting SEDs and images of the outflow cavities, we are able to model geometric parameters, i.e., inclination angle and opening angle, and loosely constrain physical parameters. The opening angle may be an important indicator of the evolutionary state of a source. We compare our results for Class 0 sources to similar studies of Class I sources. There may be a transition phase from Class 0 to Class I when a source has an opening angle between 20° to 30°. It is important to note that while the best-fit model image and SED do not fully describe the sources, the fits generally describe the circumstellar structure of Class 0 sources in L1448.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1404-1419
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Apr 20 2007


  • Circumstellar matter
  • ISM: individual (L1448)
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: pre-main-sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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