Abstract We present an analysis of the infrared properties of 1417 water masers collected from the literature published by December 2004. The associated infrared sources of the water masers were identified with IRAS and MSX (Midcourse Space Experiment) catalogues. There are 1252 water masers associated with IRAS sources within 1', which include 700 interstellar and 552 stellar sources. For 382 sources, the IRAS counterpart identification and the maser classification are new. We found the colors of the interstellar maser sources are much redder than those of the stellar ones at IRAS wavelength bands; 99% of the interstellar maser sources are above black body line, while 95% of the stellar masers are below. The distribution difference of the two kinds of masers shown in the color-color diagram is due to their different optical depths and temperature distributions of dust regions. There are 743 water masers with MSX counterparts, of which 552 are interstellar masers and 191 are stellar masers. MSX colors of the associated sources of water masers are here analyzed for the first time. The color differences among the MSX bands are small and the interstellar masers are redder than the stellar masers. There is a correlation between the intensity of the stellar water maser emission and that of the 12 μm and 25 μm emissions, while there is no correlation between the water maser emission and the 8 μm emission. The infrared intensity increases with increasing wavelength for the interstellar masers, while it is the opposite for stellar masers. These results may provide clues for the pumping of water maser and for the properties of the two kinds of maser emission regions.
Keywords masers --- ISM: kinematics and dynamics --- stars: mass loss
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