The Effelsberg survey of FU Orionis and EX Lupi objects II. H2O maser observations

Zs M. Szabó*, Y. Gong, Wenjin Yang, K. M. Menten, O. S. Bayandina, C. J. Cyganowski, Á. Kóspál, P. Ábrahám, A. Belloche, F. Wyrowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context. FU Orionis (FUor) and EX Lupi (EXor) type objects are two groups of peculiar and rare pre-main sequence low-mass stars that are undergoing powerful accretion outbursts during their early stellar evolution. Although water masers are widespread in star-forming regions and serve as powerful probes of mass accretion and ejection on small scales, little is known about the prevalence of water masers toward FUors and EXors.

Aims. We aim to perform the first systematic search for the 22.2 GHz water maser line in FUors and EXors in order to determine its overall incidence in these eruptive variables and to facilitate high angular-resolution follow-up observations.

Methods. We used the Effelsberg 100-m radio telescope to observe the H2O (616 – 523) transition at 22.2GHz toward a sample of 51 eruptive young stellar objects.

Results. We detected a total of five water masers in our survey; three are associated with eruptive stars, equivalent to a detection rate of ~6% for our sample of eruptive sources. These detections include one EXor, V512 Per (also known as SVS 13 or SVS 13A), and two FUors, Z CMa, and HH 354 IRS. This is the first reported detection of water maser emission towards HH 354 IRS. We also detected water maser emission in our pointing towards the FUor binary RNO 1B/1C, which most likely originates from the nearby deeply embedded source IRAS 00338+6312 (~4″ from RNO 1B/1C). Emission was also detected from H2O(B), (also known as SVS 13C), a Class 0 source ~30″ from the EXor V512 Per. The peak flux density of H2O(B) in our observations, 498.7 Jy, is the highest observed to date, indicating that we have serendipitously detected a water maser flare in this source. In addition to the two non-eruptive Class 0 sources (IRAS 00338+6312 and H2O(B)/SVS 13C), we detected maser emission towards one Class 0/I (HH 354 IRS) and two Class I (V512 Per/SVS 13A and Z CMa) eruptive stars.

Conclusions. Despite the low detection rate, we demonstrate the presence of 22.2 GHz water maser emission in both FUor and EXor systems, paving the way to radio interferometric observations to study the environments of these eruptive stars on small scales. Comparisons of our data with historical observations spanning several decades suggest that multiple water maser flares have occurred in both V512 Per and H2O(B).
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA202
Number of pages12
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2023


  • Stars: pre-main sequence
  • Stars: low-mass
  • Stars: formation
  • Masers


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