A very high spectral resolution study of ground-state OH masers in W3(OH)

Vincent L. Fish, Walter F. Brisken, Loránt O. Sjouwerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We present VLBA observations of the ground-state hydroxyl masers in W3(OH) at 0.02 km-s spectral resolution. Over 250 masers are detected, including 56 Zeeman pairs. Line shapes are predominantly Gaussian or combinations of several Gaussians, with normalized deviations typically of the same magnitude as in masers in other species. Typical FWHM maser line widths are 0.15-0.38 km s-1 and are larger in the 1665 MHz transition than in the other three ground-state transitions. The satellite-line 1612 and 1720 MHz masers show no evidence of σ±2,3 components. The spatial positions of most masers are seen to vary across the line profile, with many spots showing clear, organized positional gradients. Equivalent line-of-sight velocity gradients in the plane of the sky typically range from 0.01 to 1 km s-1 AU-1 (i.e., positional gradients of 1-100 AU [kms -1]-1). Small velocity gradients in the 1667 MHz transition support theoretical predictions that 1667 MHz masers appear in regions with small velocity shifts along the amplification length. Deconvolved maser spot sizes appear to be larger in the line wings but do not support a spherical maser geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-431
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Aug 10 2006


  • ISM: individual (W3(OH))
  • ISM: molecules
  • Line: profiles
  • Masers
  • Radio lines: ISM

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