Over 100 trigonometric parallaxes and proper motions for masers associated with young, high-mass stars have been measured with the Bar and Spiral Structure Legacy Survey, a Very Long Basline Array key science project, the European VLBI Network, and the Japanese VERA project. These measurements provide strong evidence for the existence of spiral arms in the Milky Way, accurately locating many arm segments and yielding spiral pitch angles ranging from about 7 • to 20 • . The widths of spiral arms increase with distance from the Galactic center. Fitting axially symmetric models of the Milky Way with the 3-dimensional position and velocity information and conservative priors for the solar and average source peculiar motions, we estimate the distance to the Galactic center, R 0 , to be 8.34 ± 0.16 kpc, a circular rotation speed at the Sun, Θ 0 , to be 240 ± 8 km s −1 , and a rotation curve that is nearly flat (i.e., a slope of −0.2 ± 0.4 km s −1 kpc −1 )
We are using the Very Long Baseline Array and the Japanese VLBI Exploration of Radio Astronomy project to measure trigonometric parallaxes and proper motions of masers found in high-mass star-forming regions across the Milky Way. Early results from 18 sources locate several spiral arms. The Perseus spiral arm has a pitch angle of 16 • ± 3 • , which favors four rather than two spiral arms for the Galaxy. Combining positions, distances, proper motions, and radial velocities yields complete 3-dimensional kinematic information. We find that star forming regions on average are orbiting the Galaxy ≈ 15 km s −1 slower than expected for circular orbits. By fitting the measurements to a model of the Galaxy, we estimate the distance to the Galactic center R 0 = 8.4 ± 0.6 kpc and a circular rotation speed Θ 0 = 254 ± 16 km s −1 . The ratio Θ 0 /R 0 can be determined to higher accuracy than either parameter individually, and we find it -2to be 30.3 ± 0.9 km s −1 kpc −1 , in good agreement with the angular rotation rate determined from the proper motion of Sgr A*. The data favor a rotation curve for the Galaxy that is nearly flat or slightly rising with Galactocentric distance. Kinematic distances are generally too large, sometimes by factors greater than two; they can be brought into better agreement with the trigonometric parallaxes by increasing Θ 0 /R 0 from the IAU recommended value of 25.9 km s −1 kpc −1 to a value near 30 km s −1 kpc −1 . We offer a "revised" prescription for calculating kinematic distances and their uncertainties, as well as a new approach for defining Galactic coordinates. Finally, our estimates of Θ 0 and Θ 0 /R 0 , when coupled with direct estimates of R 0 , provide evidence that the rotation curve of the Milky Way is similar to that of the Andromeda galaxy, suggesting that the dark matter halos of these two dominant Local Group galaxy are comparably massive.
We compile and analyze approximately 200 trigonometric parallaxes and proper motions of molecular masers associated with very young high-mass stars. Most of the measurements come from the BeSSeL Survey using the VLBA and
Context. The 6.7 GHz methanol maser marks an early stage of high-mass star formation, but the origin of this maser is currently a matter of debate. In particular it is unclear whether the maser emission arises in discs, outflows or behind shocks running into rotating molecular clouds. Aims. We investigated which structures the methanol masers trace in the environment of high-mass protostar candidates by observing a homogenous sample of methanol masers selected from Torun surveys. We also probed their origins by looking for associated H II regions and IR emission. Methods. We selected 30 methanol sources with improved position accuracies achieved using MERLIN and another 3 from the literature. We imaged 31 of these using the European VLBI Network's expanded array of telescopes with 5-cm (6-GHz) receivers. We used the VLA to search for 8.4 GHz radio continuum counterparts and inspected Spitzer GLIMPSE data at 3.6-8 μm from the archive. Results. High angular resolution images allowed us to analyze the morphology and kinematics of the methanol masers in great detail and verify their association with radio continuum and mid-infrared emission. A new class of "ring-like" methanol masers in starforming regions appeared to be suprisingly common, 29% of the sample. Conclusions. The new morphology strongly suggests that methanol masers originate in the disc or torus around a proto-or a young massive star. However, the maser kinematics indicate the strong influence of outflow or infall. This suggests that they form at the interface between the disc/torus and a flow. This is also strongly supported by Spitzer results because the majority of the masers coincide with 4.5 μm emission to within less than 1 . Only four masers are associated with the central parts of UC H II regions. This implies that 6.7 GHz methanol maser emission occurs before H II region observable at cm wavelengths is formed.
Astrometric Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observations of maser sources in the Milky Way are used to map the spiral structure of our Galaxy and to determine fundamental parameters such as the rotation velocity (Θ0) and curve and the distance to the Galactic center (R0). Here, we present an update on our first results, implementing a recent change in the knowledge about the Solar motion. It seems unavoidable that the IAU recommended values for R0 and Θ0 need a substantial revision. In particular the combination of 8.5 kpc and 220 km s −1 can be ruled out with high confidence. Combining the maser data with the distance to the Galactic center from stellar orbits and the proper motion of Sgr A* gives best values of R0 = 8.3 ± 0.23 kpc and Θ0 = 239 or 246 ± 7 km s −1 , for Solar motions of V = 12.23 and 5.25 km s −1 , respectively. Finally, we give an outlook to future observations in the Bar and Spiral Structure Legacy (BeSSeL) Survey.
We conducted VLA C-configuration observations to measure positions and luminosities of Galactic Class II 6.7 GHz methanol masers and their associated ultra-compact H II regions. The spectral resolution was 3.90625 kHz and the continuum sensitivity reached 45 µJy beam −1 . We mapped 372 methanol masers with peak flux densities of more than 2 Jy selected from the literature, 367 of them were detected. Absolute positions have nominal uncertainties of 0.3 . In this first paper on the data analysis, we present three catalogs, the first gives information on the strongest feature of 367 methanol maser sources, and the second on all detected maser spots. The third catalog present derived data of the 279 radio continuum sources found in the vicinity of maser sources. Among them, 140 show evidence of physical association with maser sources. Our catalogs list properties including distance, flux density, radial velocity and the distribution of masers on the Galactic plane is then provided as well. We found no significant relationship between luminosities of masers and their associated radio continuum counterparts.
We report the observations of 289 methanol maser sources at 6.7 GHz obtained over a two month period with the Torun 32 m telescope. The data form a catalogue of all objects north of δ = –22° brighter than 7.5 Jy in the peak emission. The positions of sub‐arcsecond accuracy are updated for 76 % of the objects. We find that about one third of the sources show changes in the peak fluxes by a factor of two or more on time scales of 8.5–9.5 years (© 2012 WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)
Aims. We characterize the molecular environment of candidate massive young stellar objects (MYSOs) signposted by methanol masers. Methods. Single pixel observations of 10 transitions of HCO + , CO and CS isotopomers were carried out, using the IRAM 30 m telescope. We studied a sample of 28 targets for which the 6.7 GHz maser emission positions are known with a sub-arcsecond accuracy. Results. The systemic velocity inferred from the optically thin lines agrees within ±3 km s −1 with the central velocity of the maser emission for most of the sources. About 64% of the sources show line wings in one or more transitions of CO, HCO + and CS species, indicating the presence of molecular outflows. Comparison of the widths of line wings and methanol maser emission suggests that the 6.7 GHz maser line traces the environment of MYSO of various kinematic regimes. Therefore, conditions conducive for the methanol maser can exist in the inner parts of molecular clouds or circumstellar discs as well as in the outer parts associated with molecular outflows. Calculations of the physical conditions based on the CO and HCO + lines and the CS line intensity ratios refine the input parameters for maser models. Specifically, a gas number density of <10 7 cm −3 is sufficient for strong maser emission and a high methanol fractional abundance (>5 × 10 −7 ) is required.
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