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658 GHz vibrationally-excited water masers with the Submillimeter Array

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2007

T. R. Hunter
Affiliation:
NRAO, 520 Edgemont Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA email: thunter@nrao.edu
K. H. Young
Affiliation:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
R. D. Christensen
Affiliation:
Submillimeter Array, 645 North A'ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
M. A. Gurwell
Affiliation:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
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Abstract

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Discovered in 1995 at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO), the vibrationally-excited water maser line at 658 GHz (455 micron) is seen in oxygen-rich giant and supergiant stars. Because this maser can be so strong (up to thousands of Janskys), it was very helpful during the commissioning phase of the highest frequency band (620-700 GHz) of the Submillimeter Array (SMA) interferometer. From late 2002 to early 2006, brief attempts were made to search for emission from additional sources beyond the original CSO survey. These efforts have expanded the source count from 10 to 16. The maser emission appears to be quite compact spatially, as expected from theoretical considerations; thus these objects can potentially be used as atmospheric phase calibrators. Many of these objects also exhibit maser emission in the vibrationally-excited SiO maser at 215 GHz. Because both maser lines likely originate from a similar physical region, these objects can be used to test techniques of phase transfer calibration between millimeter and submillimeter bands. The 658 GHz masers will be important beacons to assess the performance of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in this challenging high-frequency band.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2008

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