Volume 537, January 2012
|Number of page(s)||78|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||20 December 2011|
Polarization properties of OH masers in AGB and post-AGB stars ⋆
Toruń Centre for Astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus University,
Gagarina 11, 87-100
2 GEPI, UMR 8111, Observatoire de Paris, 5 place J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
Accepted: 22 September 2011
Context. Ground-state OH maser emission from late-type stars is usually polarized and remains a powerful probe of the magnetic field structure in the outer regions of circumstellar envelopes if observed with high angular and spectral resolutions. Observations in all four Stokes parameters are quite sparse and this is the most thorough, systematic study published to date.
Aims. We aim to determine polarization properties of OH masers in an extensive sample of stars that show copious mass loss and search for candidate objects that are well-suited for high angular resolution studies.
Methods. Full-polarization observations of the OH 1612 and 1667 MHz maser transitions were carried out for a sample of 117 AGB and post-AGB stars. Several targets were also observed in the 1665 MHz line.
Results. A complete set of full-polarization spectra together with the basic polarization parameters are presented.Polarized features occur in more than 75% of the sources in the complete sample and there is no intrinsic difference in the occurrence of polarized emission between the three classes of objects of different infrared characteristics. The highest fractional polarization occurs for the post-AGB+PN and the Mira+SR classes at 1612 and 1667 MHz, respectively. Differences in the fractional polarization between the sources at different evolutionary stages appear to be related to depolarization caused by blending. The alignment of the polarization angles at the extreme sides of the shell implies a regular structure of the magnetic field of a strength of 0.3–2.3 mG.
Conclusions. Polarized OH maser features are widespread in AGB and post-AGB stars. The relationship between the circular and linear fractional polarizations for a representative sample are consistent with the standard models of polarization for the Zeeman splitting higher than the Doppler line width, whereas the polarized features are the σ components.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / polarization / masers
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012
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