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Submillimeter water masers
Menten, Karl M.; Melnick, Gary J.; Phillips, Thomas G.
AA(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA), AB(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA), AC(California Institute of Technology, Pasadena)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 350, Feb. 20, 1990, p. L41-L44. (ApJL Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Interstellar Masers, Late Stars, Molecular Clouds, Star Formation, Stellar Envelopes, Water Masers, Submillimeter Waves, Supergiant Stars, Water Vapor
Bibliographic Code:


The first astronomical detection of the 10(29) - 9(36) transition of water vapor (H2O) at a frequency near 321 GHz is reported. The line was detected toward the star-forming regions W3(OH), W49N, W51 IRS 2, and W51 Main, and the supergiant star VY CMa. In all cases, probably, maser action is observed. Since the 10(29) level of H2O is at an energy of 1861 K above the ground state, the 10(29) - 9(36) line probes very hot molecular material. The 10(29) - 9(36) emission is found at velocities that are near the systemic velocities of the regions studied. The strongest features in spectra of the well-studied 22 GHz 6(16) - 5(23) transition are generally found at similar velocities. The 10(29) - 9(36) spectra do not show counterparts to the high-velocity features observed in the 22 GHz line, but this may be due to the limited sensitivity of the observations.

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