Planetary nebula lasers

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Astronomical masers (the radio wavelength analogs of lasers) were first identified in space over fifty years ago and have since been seen in many locations; astronomical lasers have since been seen as well. Some of the most spectacular masers are found in regions of active star formation; in one case the region radiates as much energy in a single spectral line as does our Sun in its entire visible spectrum. Typically the maser radiation comes from molecules like water or OH that are excited by collisions and the radiation environment around young stars. In 1989, maser emission from atoms of atomic hydrogen gas was discovered around the star MWC349.