Discovery of the First Methanol Maser in M31

Type Conference Paper
Names Claire Murray, L. Sjouwerman, Y. Pihlstrom
Proceedings Title Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Conference Name AAS Meeting #217, #246.07
Volume 43
Pages 24607
Date January 1, 2011
Library Catalog
Abstract We present the detection of the first 6.7 GHz Class II methanol maser in the Andromeda galaxy (M31). This methanol maser was detected using the Very Large Array (VLA) in the fall of 2009 and confirmed using the new Expanded VLA in August 2010. We were unsuccessful in detecting a water maser at this location. The confirmed maser can be used for proper motion studies of M31, as was previously accomplished in IC10 and M33 using water masers. This would determine a pressing unknown in the evolution and dynamics of the Local Group: the transverse motion of M31. Our survey has revealed more candidate masers which yet need to be confirmed. Detecting more masers and using them in the proper motion measurements would allow for a more accurate determination of the three-dimensional velocity of M31 and a geometric distance to the galaxy. This research was supported by the Research Experience for Undergraduate Program of the National Science Foundation, and was completed at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico.
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