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  1. Abstract In the local universe, OH megamasers (OHMs) are detected almost exclusively in infrared-luminous galaxies, with a prevalence that increases with IR luminosity, suggesting that they trace gas-rich galaxy mergers. Given the proximity of the rest frequencies of OH and the hyperfine transition of neutral atomic hydrogen (H i ), radio surveys to probe the cosmic evolution of H i in galaxies also offer exciting prospects for exploiting OHMs to probe the cosmic history of gas-rich mergers. Using observations for the Looking At the Distant Universe with the MeerKAT Array (LADUMA) deep H i survey, we report the first untargetedmore »detection of an OHM at z > 0.5, LADUMA J033046.20−275518.1 (nicknamed “Nkalakatha”). The host system, WISEA J033046.26−275518.3, is an infrared-luminous radio galaxy whose optical redshift z ≈ 0.52 confirms the MeerKAT emission-line detection as OH at a redshift z OH = 0.5225 ± 0.0001 rather than H i at lower redshift. The detected spectral line has 18.4 σ peak significance, a width of 459 ± 59 km s −1 , and an integrated luminosity of (6.31 ± 0.18 [statistical] ± 0.31 [systematic]) × 10 3 L ⊙ , placing it among the most luminous OHMs known. The galaxy’s far-infrared luminosity L FIR = (1.576 ±0.013) × 10 12 L ⊙ marks it as an ultraluminous infrared galaxy; its ratio of OH and infrared luminosities is similar to those for lower-redshift OHMs. A comparison between optical and OH redshifts offers a slight indication of an OH outflow. This detection represents the first step toward a systematic exploitation of OHMs as a tracer of galaxy growth at high redshifts.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  2. We present the serendipitous detection of the two main OH maser lines at 1667 and 1665 MHz associated with IRAS 10597+5926 at z ⊙  = 0.19612 in the untargeted Apertif Wide-area Extragalactic imaging Survey (AWES), and the subsequent measurement of the OH 1612 MHz satellite line in the same source. With a total OH luminosity of log( L / L ⊙ ) = 3.90 ± 0.03, IRAS 10597+5926 is the fourth brightest OH megamaser (OHM) known. We measure a lower limit for the 1667/1612 ratio of R 1612  > 45.9, which is the highest limiting ratio measured for the 1612 MHz OH satellite linemore »to date. OH satellite line measurements provide a potentially valuable constraint by which to compare detailed models of OH maser pumping mechanisms. Optical imaging shows that the galaxy is likely a late-stage merger. Based on published infrared and far ultraviolet fluxes, we find that the galaxy is an ultra-luminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG) with log( L TIR / L ⊙ ) = 12.24 that is undergoing a starburst with an estimated star formation rate of 179 ± 40 M ⊙ yr −1 . These host galaxy properties are consistent with the physical conditions responsible for very bright OHM emission. Finally, we provide an update on the predicted number of OH masers that may be found in AWES and estimate the total number of OH masers that will be detected in each of the individual main and satellite OH 18 cm lines.« less