Relative Astrometry of the J = 1-->0, v = 1 and v = 2 SiO Masers toward R Leonis Minoris Using VERA

Maria Rioja, Richard Dodson, R Kamohara, F Colomer, V Bujarrabal, H Kobayashi

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    Oxygen-rich Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars are intense emitters of SiO and H$_2$O maser lines at 43 (J=1-0, v=1 and 2) and 22 GHz, respectively. VLBI observations of the maser emission provides a unique tool to sample the innermost layers of the circumstellar envelopes in AGB stars. Nevertheless, the difficulties in achieving astrometrically aligned v=1 and v=2 SiO maser maps have traditionally prevented a unique interpretation of the observations in terms of physical underlying conditions, which depend on the nature of the SiO pumping mechanism. We have carried out observations of the SiO and H$_2$O maser emission towards RLMi, using the astrometric capabilities of VERA. Due to the too-weak emission of the reference calibrator we had to develop a special method to accurately relate the coordinates for both transitions. We present relative astrometrically aligned v=1 and v=2 J=1-0 SiO maser maps, at multiple epochs, and discuss the astrophysical results. The incorporation of astrometric information into the maps of SiO masers challenges the weak points in the current theoretical models, which will need further refinements to address the observations results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1031--1038
    JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Japan
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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