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Variable OH/IR stars are Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars with an optically thick circumstellar envelope that emit strong OH 1612 MHz emission. They are commonly observed throughout the Galaxy but also in the LMC and SMC. Hence, the precise inference of the distances of these stars will ultimately result in better constraints on their mass range in different metallicity environments. Through a multi-year long-term monitoring program at the Nancay Radio telescope (NRT) and a complementary high-sensitivity mapping campaign at the eMERLIN and JVLA to measure precisely the angular diameter of the envelopes, we have been re-exploring distance determination through the phase-lag method for a sample of stars, in order to refine the poorly-constrained distances of some and infer the currently unknown distances of others. We present here an update of this project.
Drifts in radial velocities of OH maser features of the three semiregular variable stars R Crt, RT Vir and W Hya have been analyzed. The radial velocities of the extreme blue- and red-shifted features drifted by about 0.2 kms−1 to 1 km s−1 on time-scales of few months to several years. In the case of W Hya a blending effect of spectral features can account for those drifts. In the two other sources the velocity drifts are likely to be intrinsic to the clumps for which the velocities of peak emission vary due to appearance or disappearance of maser emission in the regions where circumstellar matter is still accelerated.
We present here some noteworthy results of two related studies on oxygen-rich late type stars. The aim of this work was to study the OH circumstellar shell properties in terms of evolution. These studies are based on an OH monitoring programme carried out with the Nançay Radio Telescope. The first study concerns seven Miras distributed along the colour-colour diagram. They were observed at two or three different epochs covering one to seven cycles over a period from 1980 to 1995 at 1612, 1667 and 1665 MHz in both circular polarizations. The second study concerns thirty objects covering a wide range of mass loss rate from Miras to OH/IR stars. They were observed in 1994 at 1665 & 1667 MHz in both circular polarizations.
W51 Main/South is one of the brightest and richest high-mass star-forming regions (SFR) in the complex W51. It is known to host many ultra-compact HII (UCHII) regions thought to be the site of massive young stellar objects. Maser emission from various species is also found in the region. We have performed MERLIN astrometric observations of excited-OH maser emission at 6.035 GHz and Class II methanol maser emission at 6.668 GHz towards W51 to investigate the relationship between the maser emission and the compact continuum sources in this SFR complex. Here we present the astrometric distributions of both 6.668-GHz methanol and 6.035-GHz excited-OH maser emission in the W51 Main/South region. The location of maser emission in the two lines is compared with that of previously published OH groundstate emission. The interesting coherent velocity and spatial structure observed in the methanol maser distribution as well as the relationship of the masers to infall or outflow in the region are discussed. It appears that the masers are excited by multiple objects potentially at different stages of evolution.
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