The Brightest Known H2CO Maser in the Milky Way: G339.88-1.26

Xi Chen, Zhi Qiang Shen, Simon P. Ellingsen, Xiao Qiong Li, Kai Yang, Hong Ying Chen, Jian Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report the detection of the strongest 101111 6 cm H2CO emission in our Galaxy. The detection toward the massive star-forming region G339.88-1.26 was made using the Shanghai Tianma radio telescope (TMRT). The G339.88-1.26 star formation region hosts one of the strongest 6.7 GHz methanol masers and has an accompanying collimated, ionized jet seen in radio continuum freefree emission. The peak flux density of the detected H2CO emission is ∼19 Jy, one order of magnitude stronger than the nine previously known H2CO maser sources. The corresponding luminosity is also brighter than has been observed in previous H2CO maser sources, even those detected in the Central Molecular Zone of our Galaxy. A TMRT on-the-fly map of the region shows a point-like source structure and this, combined with the spectral characteristics of the H2CO emission (multiple, narrow components), leads us to conclude that the detected H2CO emission is masing (with a brightness temperature in excess of 104 K). The detection of a very strong H2CO maser in G339.88-1.26 suggests that ionized jet/outflow environments might provide efficient maser pumping for this transition, with the ionized jet/outflow-driven shock causing collisional excitation, and are also able to provide additional seed photons for maser amplification of the radio continuum emission.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL3
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume851
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

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