Masers: Precision probes of molecular gas
Journal article, 2020

Maser emission from water, methanol, silicon monoxide and other molecules can reach brightness temperatures ≫1010 K. Such observations can achieve sub-pc precision for discs around black holes or sub-au scale interactions in protostellar discs and the regions where evolved star winds reach escape velocity. Ultra-high resolution maser observations also provide photon statistics, for fundamental physics experiments. RadioAstron has shown the success – and limitations – of cm-wave maser observations on scales ≪1 mas with sparse baseline coverage. ALMA, APEX and earlier single dish searches have found a wealth of mm and sub-mm masers, some of which probably also attain high brightness temperatures. Masers are ideal for high-resolution observations throughout the radio regime and we need to consider the current lessons for the best observational strategies to meet specific science cases.

Stars: AGB

Star formation

Stars: mass loss

Planetary systems: protoplanetary disks

Stars: supergiant



A.M.S. Richards

University of Manchester

A. M. Sobolev

Ural Federal University

A. Baudry

University of Bordeaux

F. Herpin

University of Bordeaux

L. Decin

KU Leuven

M. D. Gray

University of Manchester

S. Etoka

University of Manchester

E. Humphreys

European Southern Observatory (ESO)

Wouter Vlemmings

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics

Advances in Space Research

0273-1177 (ISSN) 18791948 (eISSN)

Vol. 65 2 780-789

Subject Categories

Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics



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