AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 4. Star-Forming Environments
Display, Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Monroe/Lincoln

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[4.14] A Search for Class I Methanol Masers

P. Pratap (MIT Haystack Observatory)

Class I masers are thought to be associated with outflow activity from young stars and are easily explained with a collisional pumping model. However, masers have been found in regions where there is no apparent star formation or outflow activity. These masers could be probing a very early stage of star formation. Most searches for Class I masers have been done toward regions of known star formation. Such searches are biased as they would not find masers offset by distances greater than the telescope beam.

The MIT Haystack Observatory Class I methanol maser survey is a project conducted by undergraduate students using the Haystack 37-m telescope. Each student maps a chosen molecular cloud and searches for maser emission. Once the student project is complete the data becomes part of a database of methanol masers. This collaborative observing strategy results in an unbiased search for new sites of methanol maser activity. Currently five clouds have been mapped and several new sites of methanol maser activity have been discovered.

This project is funded by the Divisions of Astronomy and Undergraduate Education of the National Science Foundation.

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