Interferometric Observation of the Highly Polarized SiO Maser Emission from the v = 1, J = 5-4 Transition Associated with VY Canis Majoris

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Shinnaga, Hiroko ; Moran, James M. ; Young, Ken Harbour ; Ho, Paul T. P. (2004)
  • Publisher: IOP Publishing
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1086/425133, doi: 10.1086/425133.
  • Subject: individual (VY Canis Majoris) [stars] | general [radio lines] | interferometric [techniques] | Astrophysics | masesr | polarization | late-type [stars]
    arxiv: Astrophysics::Galaxy Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

We used the Submillimeter Array to image the SiO maser emission in the $v=1$, \$J=5-4$ transition associated with the peculiar red supergiant VY Canis Majoris. We identified seven maser components and measured their relative positions and linear polarization properties. Five of the maser components are coincident to within about 150 mas ($\sim$ 200 AU at the distance of 1.5 kpc); most of them may originate in the circumstellar envelope at a radius of about 50 mas from the star along with the SiO masers in the lowest rotational transitions. Our measurements show that two of the maser components may be offset from the inner stellar envelope (at the 3$\sigma$ level of significance) and may be part of a larger bipolar outflow associated with VY CMa identified by Shinnaga et al. The strongest maser feature at a velocity of 35.9 kms$^{-1}$ has a 60 percent linear polarization, and its polarization direction is aligned with the bipolar axis. Such a high degree of polarization suggests that maser inversion is due to radiative pumping. Five of the other maser features have significant linear polarization.
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