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Ground-State SiO Maser Emission Toward Evolved Stars

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We have made the first unambiguous detection of vibrational ground-state maser emission from 28SiO toward six evolved stars. Using the Very Large Array, we simultaneously observed the v 0,J 1-0, 43.4-GHz, groundstate and the v 1,J 1-0, 43.1-GHz, first excited-state transitions of 28SiO toward the oxygen-rich evolved stars IRC10011, o Ceti, W Hya, RX Boo, NML Cyg, and R Cas and the S-type star chi Cyg. We detected at least one v 0 SiO maser feature from six of the seven stars observed, with peak maser brightness temperatures ranging from 10000 K to 108800 K. In fact, four of the seven v 0 spectra show multiple maser peaks, a phenomenon which has not been previously observed. Ground-state thermal emission was detected for one of the stars, RX Boo, with a peak brightness temperature of 200 K. Comparing the v 0 and the v 1 transitions, we find that the ground-state masers are much weaker with spectral characteristics different from those of the first excited-state masers. For four of the seven stars the velocity dispersion is smaller for the v 0 emission than for the v 1 emission, for one star the dispersions are roughly equivalent, and for two stars one of which is RX Boo the velocity spread of the v 0 emission is larger. In most cases, the peak flux density in the v 0 emission spectrum does not coincide with the v 1 maser peak. Although the angular resolution of these VLA observations were insufficient to completely resolve the spatial structure of the SiO emission, the SiO spot maps produced from the interferometric image cubes suggest that the v 0 masers are more extended than their v 1 counterparts.

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  • Astronomy
  • Optics

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