Volume 489, Number 3, October III 2008
|Page(s)||1175 - 1182|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||18 August 2008|
Detection of 6.7 GHz methanol absorption towards hot corinos
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany e-mail: [jpandian;kmenten;belloche]@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de
2 ESO, Karl-Schwarzschild Strasse 2, 85748 Garching-bei-München, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
3 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA e-mail: Paul.F.Goldsmith@jpl.nasa.gov
Accepted: 4 August 2008
Context. Methanol masers at 6.7 GHz have been found exclusively towards high-mass star forming regions. Recently, some Class 0 protostars have been found to display conditions similar to what are found in hot cores that are associated with massive star formation. These hot corino sources have densities, gas temperatures, and methanol abundances that are adequate for exciting strong 6.7 GHz maser emission.
Aims. This raises the question of whether 6.7 GHz methanol masers can be found in both hot corinos and massive star forming regions, and if not, whether thermal methanol emission can be detected.
Methods. We searched for the 6.7 GHz methanol line towards five hot corino sources in the Perseus region using the Arecibo radio telescope. To constrain the excitation conditions of methanol, we observed thermal submillimeter lines of methanol in the NGC 1333-IRAS 4 region with the APEX telescope.
Results. We did not detect 6.7 GHz emission in any of the sources, but found absorption against the cosmic microwave background in NGC 1333-IRAS 4A and NGC 1333-IRAS 4B. Using a large velocity gradient analysis, we modeled the excitation of methanol over a wide range of physical parameters, and verify that the 6.7 GHz line is indeed strongly anti-inverted for densities lower than 106 cm-3. We used the submillimeter observations of methanol to verify the predictions of our model for IRAS 4A by comparison with other CH3OH transitions. Our results indicate that the methanol observations from the APEX and Arecibo telescopes are consistent with dense (n ~ 106 cm-3), cold (T ~ 15-30 K) gas.
Conclusions. The lack of maser emission in hot corinos and low-mass protostellar objects in general may be due to densities that are much higher than the quenching density in the region where the radiation field is conducive to maser pumping.
Key words: masers / stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs
© ESO, 2008
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