(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have created the most complete and user-friendly online database of cosmic sources of microwave radiation (water masers).
Using this database, researchers around the world will be able to identify and study the most promising objects in our galaxy, as well as discover new patterns in the development of star formation regions.
Masers are sources of microwave radiation much more powerful than that from stars. Therefore, focusing on masers, scientists can explore remote areas of space.
For example, the emission of masers in the water vapor line indicates active star formation processes. In addition, the radiation of such masers is found in the disks of evolved stars, as well as in outer galaxies.
Water masers are formed in shock waves at high temperatures and gas densities and can be associated with both massive and low-mass objects. Water masers in star-forming regions are the most common type of water masers. Of the 2600 water masers known to science, about 1600 belong to this type of water maser.
According to scientists of the Kourovka Astronomical Observatory, there are about 3,000 star-forming regions in the Milky Way galaxy with a high probability of detecting a water maser. Thus, about 1400 objects with maser emission in the water vapor line may be detected in the future in star-forming regions.
The leader in the number of known maser objects is the group of hydroxyl masers (about 3000). The total number of galactic maser sources of various types currently known is about 8000.
“Our database of water masers in the galaxy is the most comprehensive. It covers 95 percent of all observations of water masers in star forming regions published since 1989 and almost 100 percent of the sources.
The database is constantly updated and will soon contain all the information about water masers in star-forming regions.
The database contains the complete observational characteristics of masers: position, radial velocity, radiation intensity, and others,” says Dmitry Ladeyshchikov, head of the project, senior researcher at the Kourovka Astronomical Observatory of UrFU.
Masers in star-forming regions (mainly of three types: water, methanol, and hydroxyl) are a phenomenon that is often found in our galaxy, and is variable: their radiation is either brighter or weaker. Therefore, it is necessary to study masers, among other things, with the help of data on their previous state.
As source material, the developers used data from more than 140 articles, from which they extracted not only numerical information, but also images (spectra) and textual descriptions of maser sources.
As a result, several categories were identified: general studies of masers, studies of their variability, studies of maser bursts, and so on. In addition, the database contains data on infrared, millimeter and other wavelength ranges. This is especially important for a comprehensive study of maser sources.
“The base opens up opportunities for prompt and convenient access to almost the entire corpus of observational archives.
Previously, maser researchers had to independently search for and analyze a large amount of heterogeneous data dispersed over different articles. Now comprehensive information is systematized, the process of finding it takes a few seconds.
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