THE METHANOL MASER EMISSION IN W51

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Abstract

Abstract

The European VLBI Network (EVN) has been used to make phase referenced, wide-field (several arcminute) spectral line observations of the 6.7-GHz methanol maser emission towards W51. In the W51 Main region, the bulk of the methanol is offset from an UCH II region. This probably indicates the methanol emission arises at the interface of the expanding UCH II region and not from an edge-on circumstellar disc, as previously suggested. Near the W51 IRS2 region, the methanol emission is associated with a very compact, extremely embedded source supporting the hypothesis that methanol masers trace the earliest stages of massive star formation. As well as these two well-studied sites of star formation, many previously unknown regions star formation are detected, demonstrating that methanol masers are powerful means of detecting young massive stars.

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