OH masers in the milky way and local group galaxies in the SKA era

Sandra Etoka, Dieter Engels, Hiroshi Imai, Joanne Dawson, Simon Ellingsen, Lorant Sjouwerman, Huib Van Langevelde

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The intense line emission of OH masers is a perfect tracer of regions where new stars are born as well as of evolved stars, shedding large amounts of processed matter into the interstellar medium. From SKA deep surveys at 18 cm, where the maser lines from the ground-state of the OH molecule arise, we predict the discovery of more than 20000 sources of stellar and interstellar origin throughout the Galaxy. The study of this maser emission has many applications, including the determination of magnetic field strengths from polarisation measurements, studies of stellar kinematics using the precisely determined radial velocities, and distance determinations from VLBI astrometry. A new opportunity to study shocked gas in different galactic environments is expected to arise with the detection of lower luminosity masers. For the first time, larger numbers of OH masers will be detected in Local Group galaxies. New insights are expected in structure formation in galaxies by comparing maser populations in galaxies of different metallicity, as both their properties as well as their numbers depend on it. With the full capabilities of SKA, further maser transitions such as from excited OH and from methanol will be accessible, providing new tools to study the evolution of star-forming regions in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Advancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array
Place of PublicationTrieste, Italy
PublisherProceedings of Science
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAdvancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array - Giardini Naxos, Italy
Duration: 9 Jun 201413 Jun 2014


ConferenceAdvancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array
CityGiardini Naxos

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