The Dynamics of Precessing Stellar Jets: Numerical Simulations and Comparison with Observations

by Jenepher Alice Cliffe

Under the supervision of Professor Thomas W. Jones

ABSTRACT

3-D numerical simulations of precessing stellar jets are presented and studied to understand their basic physics and appropriateness as a model for generating point symmetry in astrophysical objects and molecular outflows. A range of cone angles and precession rates are examined. The results of four adiabatic simulations with resolution of 128 X 128 X 128 are examined. In addition, on run is performed in order to simulate the effects of cooling expected in molecular clouds. Higher resolution (256 X 256 X 256 zones) runs are performed to establish the effects of resolution on the results. The morphology and dynamics of precessing jets is discussed and compared with those of well-studied straight jets. Additionally, 'synthetic images' along the lobe are generated and qualitatively compared with observations. It is found that precessing jets are successful at reproducing many of the observed characteristics of molecular outflows, including the wide range of length:width rations seen in the lobes, the momentum distribution and the high degree of bipolarity.