Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 434, 201-211 (2005/4-4)
Search for radiative pumping lines of OH masers. I. The 34.6 µm absorption line towards 1612MHz OH maser sources.
HE J.H., SZCZERBA R., CHEN P.S. and SOBOLEV A.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
The 1612 MHz hydroxyl maser in circumstellar envelopes has long been thought to be pumped by 34.6µm photons. Only recently, the Infrared Space Observatory has made possible spectroscopic observations which enable the direct confirmation of this pumping mechanism in a few cases. To look for the presence of this pumping line, we have searched the Infrared Space Observatory Data Archive and found 178 spectra with data around 34.6µm for 87 galactic 1612MHz masers. The analysis performed showed that the noise level and the spectral resolution of the spectra are the most important factors affecting the detection of the 34.6µm absorption line. Only 5 objects from the sample (3 red supergiants and 2 galactic center sources) are found to show clear 34.6µm absorption (all of them already known) while two additional objects only tentatively show this line. The 3 supergiants show similar pump rates and their masers might be purely radiatively pumped. The pump rates of OH masers in late type stars are found to be about 0.05, only 1/5 of the theoretical value of 0.25 derived by Elitzur (1992, Astronomical Masers (Kluwer Academic Publishers)). We have also found 16 maser sources which, according to the analysis assuming Elitzur's pump rate, should show the 34.6µm absorption line but do not. These non-detections can be tentatively explained by far-infrared photon pumping, clumpy nature of the OH masing region or a limb-filling emission effect in the OH shell.
masers - stars: AGB and post AGB - stars: circumstellar matter - radio lines: stars
VizieR on-line data:
<Available at CDS (J/A+A/434/201): table1.dat table1a.dat refs.dat>