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Published April 15, 1976 | Published
Journal Article Open

OH-IR stars. II. A model for the 1612 MHz masers


A model is presented for the 1612 MHz OH masers associated with infrared stars. Its principal conclusions are as follows. The central stars are losing ~3 x 10^(-5) M_⊙ yr^(-1), and the masers operate in the outer regions (r > 10^(16) cm) of the circumstellar envelopes. The maser radiation is narrowly beamed in the radial direction, both inward and outward. Thus the two maser emission features originate in the near and the far sides of the expanding circumstellar gas. The 1612 MHz maser is powered by the absorption of 35 µ photons which excite the OH molecules from the ^2Π_(3/2), J = 3/2 ground state to the ^2Π_(1/2), J = 5/2 state. The excited OH molecules return to the ground state by a series of radiative decays. In most cases, the radiative cascade proceeds directly down the ^2Π_(1/2) ladder. The final and the most important step in the pump cycle is the radiative decay from the ^2Π_(1/2), J = 1/2 state to the ^2Π_(3/2), J = 3/2 state. If the transitions which link these two states are optically thick, a strong inversion of the F = 1 → F = 2 1612 MHz transition is produced.

Additional Information

© 1976. The American Astronomical Society. Received 1974 September 30; revised 1975 June 16. We are indebted to an anonymous referee for helpful comments and criticisms. This research has been supported by NSF grant 4 MPS 7205045 A2 and MPS 73-04677-A01, and Office of Naval Research N 00014-67-A-0094. Contribution No. 2542 of the California Institute of Technology, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences.

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Published - 1976ApJ___205__384E.pdf


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