We have used the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) to search for emission from the 4 −1 → 3 0 E transition of methanol (36.2 GHz) towards the center of the nearby starburst galaxy NGC 253. Two regions of emission were detected, offset from the nucleus along the same position angle as the inner spiral arms. The emission is largely unresolved on a scale of 5 ′′ , has a full-width half maximum (FWHM) line width of < 30 km s −1 , and an isotropic luminosity orders of magnitude larger than that observed in any Galactic star formation regions. These characteristics suggest that the 36.2 GHz methanol emission is most likely a maser, although observations with higher angular and spectral resolution are required to confirm this. If it is a maser this represents the first detection of a class I methanol maser outside the Milky Way. The 36.2 GHz methanol emission in NGC 253 has more than an order of magnitude higher isotropic luminosity than the widespread emission recently detected towards the center of the Milky Way. If emission from this transition scales with nuclear star formation rate then it may be detectable in the central regions of many starburst galaxies. Detection of methanol emission in ultra-luminous infra-red galaxies (ULIRGs) would open up a new tool for testing for variations in fundamental constants (in particular the proton-to-electron mass ratio) on cosmological scales.
We have used the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) to observe the 36.2-GHz class I methanol maser emission towards NGC 253 and find that it is located at the interface between the nuclear ring and both ends of the galactic bar. This is thought to be the location of the inner Linblad resonance and we suggest that the maser emission in this region is likely due to large-scale cloud-cloud collisions. We have detected the first extragalactic 44.1-GHz class I methanol maser and find that it is associated with the 36.2-GHz maser emission. In contrast to the class I methanol masers found in Galactic star formation regions, the 44.1-GHz emission in NGC 253 is two orders of magnitude weaker than the 36.2-GHz masers. Both the 36.2-and 44.1-GHz emission is orders of magnitude stronger than expected from typical high-mass star formation regions. This demonstrates that the luminous class I methanol masers observed in NGC 253 are significantly different from those associated with Galactic star formation.
We report the results of our systematic survey for Galactic 6.7 GHz Class II CH 3 OH maser emission toward a sample of young stellar objects. The survey was conducted with the Shanghai Tianma Radio Telescope (TMRT). The sample consists of 3348 sources selected from the all-sky Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) point source catalog. We have discussed the selection criteria in detail and the detection results of those at high Galactic latitudes (i.e. |b| > 2 • ) in a previous paper (paper I). Here, we present the results from the survey of those at low Galactic latitudes, i.e. |b| < 2 • . Of 1875 selected WISE point sources, 291 positions that were actually associated with 224 sources were detected with CH 3 OH maser emission. Among them, 32 are newly detected. Majority of the newly detected sources are associated with bright WISE sources. The majority of the detected sources (209/224 = 93.3%) are quite close to the Galactic Plane (|b| < 1 • ) and lie on the inner spiral arms with positive LSR velocities. Detection rate and the color-color distribution of our detection are all matched with our anticipation. Combining with detections from previous surveys, we compile a catalogue of 1085 sources with 6.7 GHz CH 3 OH maser emission in our Galaxy.
We report on high spatial resolution observations, using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), of ground-state OH masers. These observations were carried out toward 196 pointing centers previously identified in the Southern Parkes Large-Area Survey in Hydroxyl (SPLASH) pilot region, between Galactic longitudes of 334°a nd 344°and Galactic latitudes of −2°and +2°. Supplementing our data with data from the MAGMO (Mapping the Galactic Magnetic field through OH masers) survey, we find maser emission toward 175 of the 196 target fields. We conclude that about half of the 21 nondetections were due to intrinsic variability. Due to the superior sensitivity of the followup ATCA observations, and the ability to resolve nearby sources into separate sites, we have identified 215 OH maser sites toward the 175 fields with detections. Among these 215 OH maser sites, 111 are new detections. After comparing the positions of these 215 maser sites to the literature, we identify 122 (57%) sites associated with evolved stars (one of which is a planetary nebula), 64 (30%) with star formation, two sites with supernova remnants, and 27 (13%) of unknown origin. The infrared colors of evolved star sites with symmetric maser profiles tend to be redder than those of evolved star sites with asymmetric maser profiles, which may indicate that symmetric sources are generally at an earlier evolutionary stage.
We have detected emission from both the -4 3 1 0 E (36.2 GHz) class I and --2 1 E (37.7 GHz) class II methanol transitions toward the center of the closest ultra-luminous infrared galaxy Arp 220. The emission in both methanol transitions shows narrow spectral features and has luminosities approximately 8 orders of magnitude stronger than those observed from typical class I methanol masers observed in Galactic star formation regions. The emission is also orders of magnitude stronger than the expected intensity of thermal emission from these transitions and based on these findings we suggest that the emission from the two transitions are masers. These observations provide the first detection of a methanol megamaser in the 36.2 and 37.7 GHz transitions and represent only the second detection of a methanol megamaser, following the recent report of an 84 GHz methanol megamaser in NGC 1068. We find that the methanol megamasers are significantly offset from the nuclear region and arise toward regions where there is Hα emission, suggesting that they are associated with starburst activity. The high degree of correlation between the spatial distribution of the 36.2 GHz methanol and X-ray plume emission suggests that the production of strong extragalactic class I methanol masers is related to galactic-outflow-driven shocks and perhaps cosmic rays. In contrast to OH and H 2 O megamasers which originate close to the nucleus, methanol megamasers provide a new probe of feedback (e.g., outflows) processes on larger scales and of star formation beyond the circumnuclear starburst regions of active galaxies.
We report on OH maser emission toward G336.644−0.695 (IRAS 16333−4807), which is a H 2 O maser-emitting Planetary Nebula (PN). We have detected 1612, 1667, and 1720 MHz OH masers at two epochs using the Australia Telescope Compact Array, hereby confirming it as the seventh known case of an OH-maser-emitting PN. This is only the second known PN showing 1720 MHz OH masers after K 3−35 and the only evolved stellar object with 1720 MHz OH masers as the strongest transition. This PN is one of a group of very young PNe. The 1612 MHz and 1667 MHz masers are at a similar velocity to the 22 GHz H 2 O masers, whereas the 1720 MHz masers show a variable spectrum, with several components spread over a higher velocity range (up to 36 km s −1 ). We also detect Zeeman splitting in the 1720 MHz transition at two epochs (with field strengths of ∼2 to ∼10 mG), which suggests the OH emission at 1720 MHz is formed in a magnetized environment. These 1720 MHz OH masers may trace short-lived equatorial ejections during the formation of the PN.
We have searched for emission from the 36.2 GHz ( -4 3 E 1 0 ) methanol transition toward NGC 4945, using the Australia Telescope Compact Array. 36.2 GHz methanol emission was detected offset southeast from the Galactic nucleus. The methanol emission is narrow, with a line width <10 km s −1 and a luminosity five orders of magnitude higher than Galactic class I masers from the same transition. These characteristics combined the with physical separation from the strong central thermal emission suggests that the methanol emission is a maser. This emission is a factor of ∼90 more luminous than the widespread emission detected from the Milky Way central molecular zone. This is the fourth detection of extragalactic class I emission and the third detection of extragalactic 36.2 GHz maser emission. These extragalactic class I methanol masers do not appear to be simply highly luminous variants of Galactic class I emission and instead appear to trace large-scale regions of low-velocity shocks in molecular gas, which may precede, or be associated with, the early stages of large-scale star formation.
We present high spatial resolution observations of ground-state OH masers, achieved using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). These observations were conducted towards 171 pointing centres, where OH maser candidates were identified previously in the Southern Parkes Large-Area Survey in Hydroxyl (SPLASH) towards the Galactic Center region, between Galactic longitudes of 355 • and 5 • and Galactic latitudes of −2 • and +2 • . We detect maser emission towards 162 target fields and suggest that 6 out of 9 non-detections are due to intrinsic variability. Due to the superior spatial resolution of the follow-up ATCA observations, we have identified 356 OH maser sites in the 162 of the target fields with maser detections. Almost half (161 of 356) of these maser sites have been detected for the first time in these observations. After comparing the positions of these 356 maser sites to the literature, we find that 269 (76%) sites are associated with evolved stars (two of which are planetary nebulae), 31 (9%) are associated with star formation, four are associated with supernova remnants and we were unable to determine the origin of the remaining 52 (15%) sites. Unlike the pilot region (Qiao et al. 2016a), the infrared colors of evolved star sites with symmetric maser profiles in the 1612 MHz transition do not show obvious differences compared with those of evolved star sites with asymmetric maser profiles.
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