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Methanol Masers as Tracers of Circumstellar Disks

  • Norris, R. P.
  • Byleveld, S. E.
  • Diamond, P. J.
  • Ellingsen, S. P.
  • Ferris, R. H.
  • Gough, R. G.
  • Kesteven, M. J.
  • McCulloch, P. M.
  • Phillips, C. J.
  • Reynolds, J. E.
  • Tzioumis, A. K.
  • Takahashi, Y.
  • Troup, E. R.
  • Wellington, K. J.
Publication Date
Jun 25, 1998
Submission Date
Jun 21, 1998
DOI: 10.1086/306373
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We show that in many methanol maser sources the masers are located in lines, with a velocity gradient along them which suggests that the masers are situated in edge-on circumstellar, or protoplanetary, disks. We present VLBI observations of the methanol maser source G309.92+0.48, in the 12.2 GHz transition, which confirm previous observations that the masers in this source lie along a line. We show that such sources are not only linear in space but, in many cases, also have a linear velocity gradient. We then model these and other data in both the 6.7 GHz and the 12.2 GHz transition from a number of star formation regions, and show that the observed spatial and velocity distribution of methanol masers, and the derived Keplerian masses, are consistent with a circumstellar disk rotating around an OB star. We consider this and other hypotheses, and conclude that about half of these methanol masers are probably located in edge-on circumstellar disks around young stars. This is of particular significance for studies of circumstellar disks because of the detailed velocity information available from the masers.

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