Masers are observed at a range of scales – from comets, through star-forming clouds, to galactic nuclei – and have many astrophysical applications, for example measuring cosmological distances. Written for postgraduate students and professional researchers in molecular astrophysics, Maser Sources in Astrophysics is an up-to-date survey of the theory and observations of astrophysical maser sources and their use as astronomical tools.
Maser Sources in Astrophysics summarizes the history of the discovery of various maser molecules and lines, and discusses maser observations on various scales. The theory is discussed in detail, including the quantum-mechanical response of the molecules, before being linked to more general radiation transfer. A discussion of spectral-line radio astronomy techniques shows how maser observations can be applied more generally to radio astronomy.
Maser Sources in Astrophysics introduces new and projected instruments, including ALMA and SKA. Additional topics address the radiation statistics of astrophysical masers, and numerical methods of analysis.
3. Basic theory
4. Observations of masers
5. Maser molecules
6. Environments of masers
7. Advanced theory
8. Computer modelling
9. Masers as diagnostics
10. Future prospects
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Malcolm Gray is a Senior Lecturer at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. Astrophysical masers have been a major theme in Dr Gray's research career, but he has also worked in the fields of astrophysical dust, the calculation of collision cross-sections for astrophysical molecules and radiation transfer.