Maser emission in planetary nebulae

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

Scientific paper

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7 pages, iaus.cls, to appear in IAU Symp. 242 proceedings (Astrophysical masers and their environments)

Scientific paper

Stars at the top of the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) can exhibit maser emission from molecules like SiO, H2O and OH. As the star evolves to the planetary nebula phase, mass-loss stops and ionization of the envelope begins, making the masers disappear progressively. The OH masers in PNe can be present in the envelope for periods of ~1000 years but the water masers can survive only hundreds of years. Then, water maser emission is not expected in planetary nebulae! We discuss the unambiguous detection of water maser emission in two planetary nebulae: K 3-35 and IRAS 17347-3139.

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