Supernova Remnant OH Masers: Signposts of Cosmic Collision

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Science  28 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5577, pp. 2350-2354
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068168

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A supernova explosion, the final death throe of a massive star, creates an expanding bubble of hot gas that overruns up the surrounding medium. When a supernova remnant encounters a dense interstellar cloud, the compression may trigger gravitational collapse and the formation of a new generation of stars. This event can be detected through intense stimulated emission in the 1720-megahertz transition of the hydroxyl radical, OH, which yields unique insights into the physical processes and conditions occurring during the interaction.

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