Masers: Precision probes of molecular gas

A. M.S. Richards, A. Sobolev, A. Baudry, F. Herpin, L. Decin, M. D. Gray, S. Etoka, E. M.L. Humphreys, W. Vlemmings

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    Abstract

    Maser emission from water, methanol, silicon monoxide and other molecules can reach brightness temperatures ≫1010 K. Such observations can achieve sub-pc precision for discs around black holes or sub-au scale interactions in protostellar discs and the regions where evolved star winds reach escape velocity. Ultra-high resolution maser observations also provide photon statistics, for fundamental physics experiments. RadioAstron has shown the success – and limitations – of cm-wave maser observations on scales ≪1 mas with sparse baseline coverage. ALMA, APEX and earlier single dish searches have found a wealth of mm and sub-mm masers, some of which probably also attain high brightness temperatures. Masers are ideal for high-resolution observations throughout the radio regime and we need to consider the current lessons for the best observational strategies to meet specific science cases.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAdvances in Space Research
    Early online date11 Jun 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Keywords

    • Masers
    • Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
    • Star formation
    • Stars: AGB
    • Stars: mass loss
    • Stars: supergiant

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