IRS 5, an embedded young stellar object in the nearby Corona Australis molecular cloud, was recently detected as an X-ray source with the ASCA and ROSAT satellites. We report here the detection of circularly polarized continuum emission from IRS 5 at centimeter wavelengths. Already known to be a highly variable radio source, the polarization fraction is seen to range from VII ≃ 10% to ≃37% on a day timescale. This demonstrates that radio emission from protostars, previously attributed in most cases to ionized thermal outflows, can sometimes arise instead from nonthermal processes, i.e., gyrosynchrotron emission from particles accelerated in situ by magnetic reconnection flares. Together with the X-ray data and indications of MeV particles in the solar nebula obtained from meteoritic materials, it contributes to the growing evidence for high-energy processes during the earliest stages of low-mass star formation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science