EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 403, Number 3, June I 2003
Page(s) 1095 - 1100
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030465

A&A 403, 1095-1100 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030465

The protostellar mass limit for 6.7 GHz methanol masers

I. A low-mass YSO survey
V. Minier1, 2, S. P. Ellingsen3, R. P. Norris4 and R. S. Booth2

1  School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, NSW, Australia
2  Onsala Space Observatory, 439 92 Onsala, Sweden
3  School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 21, Hobart 7001, TAS, Australia
4  Australia Telescope National Facility, PO Box 76, Epping 1710, NSW, Australia

(Received 11 December 2002 / Accepted 27 March 2003 )

We report the results of a search for 6.7 GHz methanol masers toward low-mass young stellar objects (YSOs) and (pre)protostellar condensations with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). Our sample consisted of 13 class 0 protostars and 44 class I YSOs as well as 66 (pre)protostellar condensations. A single detection was obtained toward NGC 2024: FIR4 in the Orion B region. This is the first detection of a 6.7 GHz methanol maser in Orion. The nature of FIR4 has been a subject of debate with some evidence suggesting that it is a very cold high-mass (pre)protostellar condensation and others arguing that it is a low-mass YSO. The discovery of a methanol maser associated with this source is inconsistent with both of these hypotheses and we suggest that FIR4 probably harbours an intermediate- or high-mass YSO. The less massive objects in our sample do not exhibit any methanol maser stronger than 400 mJy (4 $\sigma$). Based on the nil detection rate toward the low-mass YSOs we can place an upper limit of $3\times10^{6}$ K on the brightness temperature of any methanol maser associated with class 0, I or II sources. These results support the hypothesis that no strong methanol masers are associated with low-mass star formation ( $\la$ $3~M_{\odot}$).

Key words: masers -- stars: formation -- stars: circumstellar matter

Offprint request: V. Minier, vminier@bat.phys.unsw.edu.au

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