Supernova Maser Emission

Science  15 Dec 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5243, pp. 1771-1772
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5243.1771


Maser emission—the microwave equivalent of laser light—has been observed in interstellar molecules since 1965. Similar maser radiation should be expected from supernova shock waves, but this has been harder to observe. In his Perspective, Fukui discusses images presented in this issue by Yusef-Zadeh et al. (p. 1801) of maser emission from a supernova near the center of our galaxy. Such observations should permit a better understanding of radiative processes in gas under extreme conditions.