Maser flare simulations from oblate and prolate clouds

M D Gray, J Baggott, J Westlake, S Etoka

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We investigated, through numerical models, the flaring variability that may arise from the rotation of maser clouds of approximately spheroidal geometry, ranging from strongly oblate to strongly prolate examples. Inversion solutions were obtained for each of these examples over a range of saturation levels from unsaturated to highly saturated. Formal solutions were computed for rotating clouds with many randomly chosen rotation axes, and corresponding averaged maser light curves plotted with statistical information. The dependence of results on the level of saturation and on the degree of deformation from the spherical case was investigated in terms of a variability index and duty cycle. It may be possible to distinguish observationally between flares from oblate and prolate objects. Maser flares from rotation are limited to long time-scales (at least a few years) and modest values of the variability index (≲100), and can be aperiodic or quasi-periodic. Rotation is therefore not a good model for H2O variability on time-scales of weeks to months, or of truly periodic flares.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4216-4225
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019


  • masers
  • Radiation mechanisms: General
  • radiative transfer
  • techniques: high angular resolution
  • ISM: lines and bands
  • radio lines: general


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