243 research outputs found

    Astrophysical constraints on the proton-to-electron mass ratio with FAST

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    That the laws of physics are the same at all times and places throughout the Universe is one of the basic assumptions of physics. Astronomical observations provide the only means to test this basic assumption on cosmological time and distance scales. The possibility of variations in the dimensionless physical constant {\mu} - the proton-to-electron mass ratio, can be tested by comparing astronomical measurements of the rest frequency of certain spectral lines at radio wavelengths with laboratory determinations. Different types of molecular transitions have different dependencies on {\mu} and so observations of two or more spectral lines towards the same astronomical source can be used to test whether there is any evidence for either temporal or spatial changes in the physical fundamental constants. {\mu} will change if the relative strength of the strong nuclear force compared to the electromagnetic force varies. Theoretical studies have shown that the rotational transitions of some molecules which have transitions in the frequency range that will be covered by FAST (e.g., CH3OH, OH and CH) are sensitive to changes in {\mu}. A number of studies looking for possible variations in {\mu} have been undertaken with existing telescopes, however, the greater sensitivity of FAST means it will open new opportunities to significantly improve upon measurements made to date. In this paper, we discuss which molecular transitions and sources (both in the Galaxy and external galaxies) are likely targets for providing improved constraints on {\mu} with FAST

    Evolution of HII regions in hierarchically structured molecular clouds

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    We present observations of the H91α\alpha recombination line emission towards a sample of nine HII regions associated with 6.7-GHz methanol masers, and report arcsecond-scale emission around compact cores. We derive physical parameters for our sources, and find that although simple hydrostatic models of region evolution reproduce the observed region sizes, they significantly underestimate emission measures. We argue that these findings are consistent with young source ages in our sample, and can be explained by existence of density gradients in the ionised gas.Comment: 11 pages, 6 figures; accepted for publication in MNRA

    Detection of HC3_3N maser emission in NGC253

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    We report the detection of maser emission from the J=43J=4-3 transition of HC3_3N at 36.4~GHz towards the nearby starburst galaxy NGC253. This is the first detection of maser emission from this transition in either a Galactic or extragalactic source. The HC3_3N maser emission has a brightness temperature in excess of 2500 K and is offset from the center of the galaxy by approximately 18 arcsec (300 pc), but close to a previously reported class~I methanol maser. Both the HC3_3N and methanol masers appear to arise near the interface between the galactic bar and the central molecular zone, where it is thought that molecular gas is being transported inwards, producing a region of extensive low-velocity shocks.Comment: Accepted for publication in ApJ Letters, 7 pages, 3 figure

    The first high-resolution observations of 37.7-, 38.3- and 38.5-GHz methanol masers

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    We have used the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) to undertake the first high angular resolution observations of 37.7-GHz (7281E7_{-2} - 8_{-1}E) methanol masers towards a sample of eleven high-mass star formation regions which host strong 6.7-GHz methanol masers. The 37.7-GHz methanol sites are coincident to within the astrometric uncertainty (0.4 arcseconds) with the 6.7-GHz methanol masers associated with the same star formation region. However, spatial and spectral comparison of the 6.7- and 37.7-GHz maser emission within individual sources shows that the 37.7-GHz masers are less often, or to a lesser degree co-spatial than are the 12.2-GHz and 6.7-GHz masers. We also made sensitive, high angular resolution observations of the 38.3- and 38.5-GHz class II methanol transitions (6253A6_{2} - 5_{3}A^{-} and 6253A+6_{2} - 5_{3}A^{+}, respectively) and the 36.2-GHz (4130E4_{-1} - 3_{0}E) class I methanol transition towards the same sample of eleven sources. The 37.7-, 38.3- and 38.5-GHz methanol masers are unresolved in the current observations, which implies a lower limit on the brightness temperature of the strongest masers of more than 10610^6K. We detected the 38.3-GHz methanol transition towards 7 sources, 5 of which are new detections and detected the 38.5-GHz transition towards 6 sources, 4 of which are new detections. We detected 36.2-GHz class I methanol masers towards all eleven sources, 6 of these are new detections for this transition, of which 4 sources do not have previously reported class I methanol masers from any transition.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS, 34 pages, 20 figure