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Astron. Astrophys. 325, 255-268

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A survey of star-forming regions in the 5 cm lines of OH*

A. Baudry 1, J.F. Desmurs1, T.L. Wilson2, and R.J. Cohen 3

1Observatoire de l'Universit'e de Bordeaux, URA 352 du CNRS, BP 89, F-33270 Floirac, France
2Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany
3Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories, Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 9DL, UK

Received 26 September 1996 / Accepted 26 November 1996


We have undertaken a comprehensive search for 5 cm OH masers in regions visible from Effelsberg with the 100-m telescope (i.e., those with declinations above -29FORMULA ). Our sample is based on bright sources taken from the IRAS Point Source Catalog and/or from previous 18 cm OH and H 2O surveys. Among the 165 sources observed, 16 are new (15 exhibit emission and one source shows both absorption and emission). Two new absorption line sources have been tentatively detected. The general properties of the 5 cm OH sources are presented and discussed. The 6035 MHz line is more often detected than the 6031 MHz line. Nevertheless, the latter line is frequently present, a fact that is not explained by present OH excitation models. Simple calculations tend to show that there are enough FIR photons to pump the 6035 and 6031 MHz masers, and we found that the statistics of the ratio FORMULA at 18, 5 and 6 cm suggest that the maser pumping efficiency decreases with increasing OH excitation. Variability on short (months) or long (years) time-scales is a common feature in many 5 cm OH sources. We also present observations of the 6 GHz satellite lines and report, besides W3(OH), on two certain and perhaps two newly detected weak sources. Some implications on the excitation of OH are briefly discussed. Clearly, there is no efficient maser mechanism for the satellite lines. We derive the percentage of circular polarization in detected 6035 and 6031 MHz emission sources and suggest the identifications of possible Zeeman patterns. We have found several features having FORMULA polarization. Combining our magnetic field measurements with other published results we find that the dominant field alignment is consistent with the direction of the Galactic rotation. However, there is no convincing correlation of the field direction with the Galactic spiral pattern, and it is possible that the field direction is not preserved in the star formation process.

Key words: masers - stars: formation - interstellar medium: HII regions, magnetic fields - radio lines: ISM

*Tables 1,2,4 and 6 are only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Abstract.html

Send offprint requests to: A. Baudry (Observatoire de Bordeaux)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997