Journal Article

Full polarization structure of the OH main-line maser envelopes of W Hydrae

M. Szymczak, R. J. Cohen and A. M. S. Richards

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 297, issue 4, pages 1151-1162
Published in print July 1998 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 1998 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Full polarization structure of the OH main-line maser envelopes of W Hydrae

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Simultaneous MERLIN observations of the OH 1665- and 1667-MHz maser lines in the circumstellar envelope of the semiregular star W Hya have been taken in all Stokes parameters. The 1665-MHz emission comes from two elongated clusters located 80 au from the star. The 1667-MHz emission arises in an incomplete shell of radius 130 au, with the blueshifted features located in the northern part of the envelope and the redshifted components clustered south of the centre. The circularly polarized maser components exhibit spatial separation along the north–south direction. The linearly polarized components were found from the near side of the envelope. Their polarization position angles indicate that the projected axis of the magnetic field at PA ≃ −20° is consistent with spatial segregation of circular polarization. The intensity of the magnetic field, estimated from a tentative measurement of Zeeman splitting, is about 0.6 mG at the location of the 1667-MHz emission, with the field pointing away from the observer. A small change of position angles of linear polarization observed in both maser lines is interpreted as a weak Faraday effect in the maser regions with an electron density of about 2 cm−3. The overall polarization structure of the envelope suggests an ellipsoidal or weak bipolar geometry. In such a configuration, the circumstellar magnetic field may exert a non-negligible influence on mass loss. The velocity field in the circumstellar envelope recovered from observations of SiO, H2O, OH and CO lines at five radial distances reveals a logarithmic velocity gradient of 0.25 and 0.21 in the 1665- and 1667-MHz maser regions respectively. The acceleration within tens of stellar radii cannot be explained by the classical model of radiation pressure on dust.

Keywords: masers; polarization; techniques: interferometric; circumstellar matter; stars: individual: W Hya; stars: magnetic fields

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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