Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 438, 2167-2176 (2014/March-1)
A survey for ground-state OH masers towards a sample of Herbig-Haro objects.
DE WITT A., BIETENHOLZ M., BOOTH R. and GAYLARD M.
Abstract (from CDS):
Herbig-Haro objects are regions of shocked gas and dust which are produced when collimated outflows from a protostar interact with the surrounding dense gas. They have many similarities to supernova remnants which are interacting with molecular clouds. 1720-MHz OH masers have been identified towards a number of interacting supernova remnants. Observations and models indicate that these masers are shock excited and are produced behind C-type shocks. If conditions behind the shock fronts of Herbig-Haro objects are similarly able to support 1720-MHz OH masers they could be a useful diagnostic tool for star formation. We therefore searched for 1720-MHz OH maser emission towards a sample of 97 Herbig-Haro objects using the Green Bank Radio Telescope. We detected 1720-MHz OH lines in emission in 17 of them, but neither their spectral signature nor follow-up observations with the Very Large Array showed any conclusive evidence of maser emission. We conclude that the emission detected from our single-dish observations must be extended and most likely originates from thermal or quasi-thermal excitation processes. We also investigated the properties of Herbig-Haro shocks more closely and conclude that despite the overall similarities to supernova remnants, the conditions required for maser emission, in particular a sufficient velocity-coherent column density, are not likely to occur in Herbig-Haro objects.