Polarisation properties of methanol masers
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2020

Astronomical masers have been effective tools in the study of magnetic fields for years. Observations of the linear and circular polarisation of different maser species allow for the determination of magnetic field properties, such as morphology and strength. In particular, methanol can be used to probe different parts of protostars, such as accretion discs and outflows, since it produces one of the strongest and the most commonly observed masers in massive star-forming regions.
We investigate the polarisation properties of selected methanol maser transitions in light of newly calculated methanol Landé g-factors and in consideration of hyperfine components. We compare our results with previous observations and evaluate the effect of preferred hyperfine pumping and non-Zeeman effects.
We ran simulations using the radiative transfer code, CHAMP, for different magnetic field values, hyperfine components, and pumping efficiencies.
We find a dependence between the linear polarisation fraction and the magnetic field strength as well as the hyperfine transitions. The circular polarisation fraction also shows a dependence on the hyperfine transitions. Preferred hyperfine pumping can explain some high levels of linear and circular polarisation and some of the peculiar features seen in the S-shape of observed V-profiles. By comparing a number of methanol maser observations taken from the literature with our simulations, we find that the observed methanol masers are not significantly affected by non-Zeeman effects related to the competition between stimulated emission rates and Zeeman rates, such as the rotation of the symmetry axis. We also consider the relevance of other non-Zeeman effects that are likely to be at work for modest saturation levels, such as the effect of magnetic field changes along the maser path and anisotropic resonant scattering.
Our models show that for methanol maser emission, both the linear and circular polarisation percentages depend on which hyperfine transition is masing and the degree to which it is being pumped. Since non-Zeeman effects become more relevant at high values of brightness temperatures, it is important to obtain good estimates of these quantities and the maser beaming angles. Better constraints on the brightness temperature will help improve our understanding of the extent to which non-Zeeman effects contribute to the observed polarisation percentages. In order to detect separate hyperfine components, an intrinsic thermal line width that is significantly smaller than the hyperfine separation is required.



Magnetic fields

Stars: magnetic field

Stars: formation


Daria Dall` Olio

Chalmers, Rymd-, geo- och miljövetenskap, Astronomi och plasmafysik

Wouter Vlemmings

Chalmers, Rymd-, geo- och miljövetenskap, Astronomi och plasmafysik

Boy Lankhaar

Chalmers, Rymd-, geo- och miljövetenskap, Astronomi och plasmafysik

G. Surcis

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Astronomy and Astrophysics

0004-6361 (ISSN) 1432-0746 (eISSN)

Vol. 644 A122


Astronomi, astrofysik och kosmologi

Annan fysik

Fusion, plasma och rymdfysik



Mer information

Senast uppdaterat