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Creators/Authors contains: "De Gregorio-Monsalvo, Itziar"

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    The evolution of asymptotic giant branch stars from the spherical symmetry into the diverse shapes of planetary nebulae (PNe) is a topic of intensive research. Young PNe provide a unique opportunity to characterize the onset of this transitional phase. In particular, OH maser-emitting PNe (OHPNe) are considered nascent PNe. In fact, only six OHPNe have been confirmed to date. In order to identify and characterize more OHPNe, we processed the unpublished continuum data of the interferometric follow-up of the Southern Parkes Large-Area Survey in Hydroxyl (SPLASH). We then matched the interferometric positions of OH maser and radio continuum emission, considering the latter as a possible tracer of free–free emission from photoionized gas, characteristic of PNe. We report eight objects with a positive coincidence, four of which are classified as candidate OHPNe here for the first time (IRAS 16372–4808, IRAS 17494–2645, IRAS 18019–2216, and OH 341.6811+00.2634). Available evidence strongly indicates that they are evolved stars, while the comparison with confirmed OHPNe indicates that they are likely to be PNe. Their final confirmation as bona fide PNe, however, requires optical/infrared spectroscopy. The obtained spectral indices of the radio continuum emission (between ≃0.4–1.3) are consistent with partially optically thick free–free emission frommore »photoionized gas. Also, they cluster in the same region of a WISE colour–colour diagram as that of the confirmed OHPNe ($9.5\lesssim[3.4]{-}[22]\lesssim13.5$, and $4.0\lesssim[4.6]{-}[12] \lesssim7.0$), thus this diagram could help to identify more OHPNe candidates in the future.

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