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Sample records for abundant interstellar molecules

  1. Interstellar molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, D.

    1987-09-01

    Some 70 different molecular species have so far been detected variously in diffuse interstellar clouds, dense interstellar clouds, and circumstellar shells. Only simple (diatomic and triatomic) species exist in diffuse clouds because of the penetration of destructive UV radiations, whereas more complex (polyatomic) molecules survive in dense clouds as a result of the shielding against this UV radiation provided by dust grains. A current list of interstellar molecules is given together with a few other molecular species that have so far been detected only in circumstellar shells. Also listed are those interstellar species that contain rare isotopes of several elements. The gas phase ion chemistry is outlined via which the observed molecules are synthesized, and the process by which enrichment of the rare isotopes occurs in some interstellar molecules is described.

  2. Interstellar Molecules

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Solomon, Philip M.

    1973-01-01

    Radioastronomy reveals that clouds between the stars, once believed to consist of simple atoms, contain molecules as complex as seven atoms and may be the most massive objects in our Galaxy. (Author/DF)

  3. Interstellar Abundance Standards Revisited

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sofia, Ulysses J.; Meyer, David M.

    2001-06-01

    We evaluate the stellar abundances often used to represent the total (gas plus dust) composition of the interstellar medium. Published abundances for B stars, young later type (F and G) stars, and the Sun are compared to the modeled dust-phase and measured gas-phase compositions of the interstellar medium. This study uses abundances for the five most populous elements in dust grains-C, O, Mg, Si, and Fe-and the cosmically abundant element, N. We find that B stars have metal abundances that are too low to be considered valid representations of the interstellar medium. The commonly invoked interstellar standard that is two-thirds of the solar composition is also rejected by recent observations. Young (<=2 Gyr) F and G disk stars and the Sun, however, cannot be ruled out as reliable proxies for the total interstellar composition. If their abundances are valid representations of the interstellar medium, then the apparent underabundance of carbon with respect to that required by dust models, i.e., the carbon crisis, is substantially eased.

  4. Interstellar molecules and dense clouds.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rank, D. M.; Townes, C. H.; Welch, W. J.

    1971-01-01

    Current knowledge of the interstellar medium is discussed on the basis of recent published studies. The subjects considered include optical identification of interstellar molecules, radio molecular lines, interstellar clouds, isotopic abundances, formation and disappearance of interstellar molecules, and interstellar probing techniques. Diagrams are plotted for the distribution of galactic sources exhibiting molecular lines, for hydrogen molecule, hydrogen atom and electron abundances due to ionization, for the densities, velocities and temperature of NH3 in the direction of Sagitarius B2, for the lower rotational energy levels of H2CO, and for temporal spectral variations in masing H2O clouds of the radio source W49. Future applications of the maser and of molecular microscopy in this field are visualized.

  5. A new and simple approach to determine the abundance of hydrogen molecules on interstellar ice mantles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hincelin, U.; Chang, Q.; Herbst, E.

    2015-02-01

    Context. Water is usually the main component of ice mantles, which cover the cores of dust grains in cold portions of dense interstellar clouds. When molecular hydrogen is adsorbed onto an icy mantle through physisorption, a common assumption in gas-grain rate-equation models is to use an adsorption energy for molecular hydrogen on a pure water substrate. However, at high density and low temperature, when H2 is efficiently adsorbed onto the mantle, its surface abundance can be strongly overestimated if this assumption is still used. Unfortunately, the more detailed microscopic Monte Carlo treatment cannot be used to study the abundance of H2 in ice mantles if a full gas-grain network is utilized. Aims: We present a numerical method adapted for rate-equation models that takes into account the possibility that an H2 molecule can, while diffusing on the surface, find itself bound to another hydrogen molecule, with a far weaker bond than the H2-water bond, which can lead to more efficient desorption. We label the ensuing desorption "encounter desorption". Methods: The method is implemented first in a simple system consisting only of hydrogen molecules at steady state between gas and dust using the rate-equation approach and comparing the results with the results of a microscopic Monte Carlo calculation. We then discuss the use of the rate-equation approach with encounter desorption embedded in a complete gas-grain chemical network. Results: For the simple system, the rate-equation model with encounter desorption reproduces the H2 granular coverage computed by the microscopic Monte Carlo model at 10 K for a gas density from 104 to 1012 cm-3, and yields up to a factor 4 difference above 1012 cm-3. The H2 granular coverage is also reproduced by a complete gas-grain network. We use the rate-equation approach to study the gas-grain chemistry of cold dense regions with and without the encounter desorption mechanism. We find that the grain surface and gas phase species can be

  6. Ion-molecule calculation of the abundance ratio of CCD to CCH in dense interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herbst, Eric; Adams, Nigel G.; Smith, David; Defrees, D. J.

    1987-01-01

    Laboratory measurements and calculations have been performed to determine the abundance ratio of the deuterated ethynyl radical (CCD) to the normal radical (CCH) which can be achieved in dense interstellar clouds via isotopic fractionation in the C2H2(+) (HD)=C2HD(+)(H2) system of reactions. According to this limited treatment, the CCD/CCH abundance ratio which can be attained is in the range 0.02-0.03 for the Orion molecular cloud and 0.0l-0.02 for TMC-1. These ranges of numbers are in reasonable agreement with the observed values in Orion and TMC-1. However, the analysis of the CCD/CCH abundance ratio is complicated via the presence of competing fractionation mechanisms, especially in the low-temperature source TMC-1.

  7. Ion-molecule calculation of the abundance ratio of CCD to CCH in dense interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Herbst, E; Adams, N G; Smith, D; DeFrees, D J

    1987-01-01

    Laboratory measurements and calculations have been performed to determine the abundance ratio of the deuterated ethynyl radical (CCD) to the normal radical (CCH) which can be achieved in dense interstellar clouds via isotopic fractionation in the C2H2+ (HD) = C2HD+ (H2) system of reactions. According to this limited treatment, the CCD/CCH abundance ratio which can be attained is in the range 0.02-0.03 for the Orion molecular cloud and 0.01-0.02 for TMC-1. These ranges of numbers are in reasonable agreement with the observed values in Orion and TMC-1. However, the analysis of the CCD/CCH abundance ratio is complicated via the presence of competing fractionation mechanisms, especially in the low-temperature source TMC-1.

  8. Photochemistry of interstellar molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stief, L. J.

    1971-01-01

    The photochemistry of two diatomic and eight polyatomic molecules is discussed quantitatively. For an interstellar molecule, the lifetime against photodecomposition depends upon the absorption cross section, the quantum yield or probability of dissociation following photon absorption, and the interstellar radiation field. The constant energy density of Habing is used for the unobserved regions of interstellar radiation field, and the field in obscuring clouds is estimated by combining the constant flux with the observed interstellar extinction curve covering the visible and ultraviolet regions. Lifetimes against photodecomposition in the unobscured regions and as a function of increasing optical thickness in obscuring clouds are calculated for the ten species. The results show that, except for CO, all the molecules have comparable lifetimes of less than one hundred years. Thus they can exist only in dense clouds and can never have been exposed to the unobscured radiation. The calculations further show that the lifetimes in clouds of moderate opacity are of the order of one million years.

  9. Chemical abundances in cold, dark interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, William M.; Kaifu, Norio; Ohishi, Masatoshi

    1991-01-01

    Current tabulations are presented of the entire range of known interstellar molecules, giving attention to that subset which has been identified in the cold, dark interstellar clouds out of which the sun has been suggested to have formed. The molecular abundances of two such clouds, Taurus Molecular Cloud 1 and Lynd's 134N, exhibit prepossessing chemical differences despite considerable physical similarities. This discrepancy may be accounted for by the two clouds' differing evolutionary stages. Two novel classes of interstellar molecules are noted: sulfur-terminated carbon chains and silicon-terminated ones.

  10. Interstellar magnesium abundances

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murray, M. J.; Dufton, P. L.; Hibbert, A.; York, D. G.

    1984-01-01

    An improved evaluation of the Mg II 1240 A doublet oscillator strength is used in conjunction with recently published Copernicus observations to derive accurate Mg II column densities toward 74 stars. These imply an average of 40 percent of interstellar magnesium is in the gaseous phase. Magnesium depletion is examined as a function of various interstellar extinction and density parameters, and the results are briefly discussed in terms of current depletion theories.

  11. A new interstellar molecule - Tricarbon monoxide

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matthews, H. E.; Irvine, W. M.; Friberg, P.; Brown, R. D.; Godfrey, P. D.

    1984-01-01

    The C3O molecule, whose pure rotational spectrum has only recently been studied in the laboratory, has been detected in the cold, dark interstellar Taurus Molecular Cloud 1. Since C3O is the first interstelar carbon chain molecule to contain oxygen, its existence places an important new constraint on chemical schemes for cold interstellar clouds. The abundance of C3O can be understood in terms of purely gas-phase ion-molecule chemistry.

  12. Erratum: Interstellar Abundance Standards Revisited

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sofia, U. J.; Meyer, D. M.

    2001-09-01

    In the Letter ``Interstellar Abundance Standards Revisited'' by U. J. Sofia and D. M. Meyer (ApJ, 554, L221 [2001]), Table 2 and its footnotes contain several typographical errors. The corrected table is shown below. We note that the solar reference standard now implies a positive abundance of nitrogen in halo dust.

  13. Chemical abundances in cold, dark interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Irvine, W M; Ohishi, M; Kaifu, N

    1991-05-01

    The Sun may well have formed in the type of interstellar cloud currently referred to as a cold, dark cloud. We present current tabulations of the totality of known interstellar molecules and of the subset which have been identified in cold clouds. Molecular abundances are given for two such clouds which show interesting chemical differences in spite of strong physical similarities, Taurus Molecular Cloud 1 (TMC-1) and Lynd's 134N (L134N, also referred to as L183). These regions may be at different evolutionary stages.

  14. Abundance and chemistry of interstellar HOCO+.

    PubMed

    Minh, Y C; Brewer, M K; Irvine, W M; Friberg, P; Johansson, L E

    1991-01-01

    We derive HOCO+ column densities approximately 10(15) cm-2 toward the Galactic center and < or = 10(12) cm-2 for cold dark clouds from observations and an LVG model. We mapped the HOCO+ 4(04)-3(03) line toward Sgr A. The fractional abundance of HOCO+ in the Galactic center region is three orders of magnitude larger than predicted by quiescent ion-molecule chemistry and an order of magnitude larger than predicted by a MHD shock model. If HOCO+ traces interstellar CO2, the implied high abundance ([CO2] approximately [CO]) in the Galactic center may result from UV photolysis of grain mantles.

  15. Indirect observation of unobservable interstellar molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herbst, E.; Green, S.; Thaddeus, P.; Klemperer, W.

    1977-01-01

    It is suggested that the abundances of neutral non-polar interstellar molecules unobservable by radio astronomy can be systematically determined by radio observation of the protonated ions. As an example, observed N2H(+) column densities are analyzed to infer molecular nitrogen abundances in dense interstellar clouds. The chemistries and expected densities of the protonated ions of O2, C2, CO2, C2H2 and CH4 are then discussed. Microwave transition frequencies fo HCO2(+) and C2H3(+) are estimated, and a preliminary astronomical search for HCO2(+) is described.

  16. The Abundance of Interstellar Fluorine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lauroesch, James T.

    2005-01-01

    The primary objective of this program was to obtain FUSE observations of the interstellar absorption lines of F I at 951 and 954 Angstroms to derive the abundance of fluorine toward the star HD 164816. The nucleosynthetic source(s) of fluorine are still a matter of debate - the present day abundance of fluorine can potentially constrain models for pulsationally driven dredge-up in asymptotic giant branch stars. An accurate measure for the depletion behavior of fluorine will determine whether it may be detectable in QSO absorption line systems - an unambiguous detection of fluorine at suitably high redshifts would provide the best evidence to date for the neutrino process in massive stars. Furthermore, due to its extreme reactivity, measurement of the gas-phase interstellar fluorine abundance is important for models of grain chemistry. Despite the importance of measuring the interstellar fluorine abundance, at the time of our proposal only one previous detection has been made due to the low relative abundance of fluorine, the lack of lines outside the far-UV, and the blending of the available F I transitions with lines of Hz. The star HD 164816 is associated with the Lagoon nebula (M8), and at a distance of approximately 1.5 kpc probes both distant and local gas. Beginning April 8th, 2004 FUSE FP-Split observations of the star HD 164816 were obtained for this program. This data became available in the FUSE data archive May 21, 2004, and these observations were then downloaded and we began our analysis. Our analysis procedure has involved (1) fitting stellar models to the FUSE spectra, (2) using the multiple lines of Hz and N I at other wavelengths in the FUSE bandpass to derive column densities for the lines of H2 and N I which are blended with the F I features at 951 and 954 angstroms (3) the measurement of the column densities of F I and the species O I and C1 I which are important species for the dis-entangling of dust and nucleosynthetic effects. As discussed in

  17. Organic molecules in translucent interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Krełowski, Jacek

    2014-09-01

    Absorption spectra of translucent interstellar clouds contain many known molecular bands of CN, CH+, CH, OH, OH(+), NH, C2 and C3. Moreover, one can observe more than 400 unidentified absorption features, known as diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs), commonly believed to be carried by complex, carbon-bearing molecules. DIBs have been observed in extragalactic sources as well. High S/N spectra allow to determine precisely the corresponding column densities of the identified molecules, rotational temperatures which differ significantly from object to object in cases of centrosymmetric molecular species, and even the (12)C/(13)C abundance ratio. Despite many laboratory based studies of possible DIB carriers, it has not been possible to unambiguously link these bands to specific species. An identification of DIBs would substantially contribute to our understanding of chemical processes in the diffuse interstellar medium. The presence of substructures inside DIB profiles supports the idea that DIBs are very likely features of gas phase molecules. So far only three out of more than 400 DIBs have been linked to specific molecules but none of these links was confirmed beyond doubt. A DIB identification clearly requires a close cooperation between observers and experimentalists. The review presents the state-of-the-art of the investigations of the chemistry of interstellar translucent clouds i.e. how far our observations are sufficient to allow some hints concerning the chemistry of, the most common in the Galaxy, translucent interstellar clouds, likely situated quite far from the sources of radiation (stars). PMID:25467771

  18. Organic molecules in translucent interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Krełowski, Jacek

    2014-09-01

    Absorption spectra of translucent interstellar clouds contain many known molecular bands of CN, CH+, CH, OH, OH(+), NH, C2 and C3. Moreover, one can observe more than 400 unidentified absorption features, known as diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs), commonly believed to be carried by complex, carbon-bearing molecules. DIBs have been observed in extragalactic sources as well. High S/N spectra allow to determine precisely the corresponding column densities of the identified molecules, rotational temperatures which differ significantly from object to object in cases of centrosymmetric molecular species, and even the (12)C/(13)C abundance ratio. Despite many laboratory based studies of possible DIB carriers, it has not been possible to unambiguously link these bands to specific species. An identification of DIBs would substantially contribute to our understanding of chemical processes in the diffuse interstellar medium. The presence of substructures inside DIB profiles supports the idea that DIBs are very likely features of gas phase molecules. So far only three out of more than 400 DIBs have been linked to specific molecules but none of these links was confirmed beyond doubt. A DIB identification clearly requires a close cooperation between observers and experimentalists. The review presents the state-of-the-art of the investigations of the chemistry of interstellar translucent clouds i.e. how far our observations are sufficient to allow some hints concerning the chemistry of, the most common in the Galaxy, translucent interstellar clouds, likely situated quite far from the sources of radiation (stars).

  19. Interstellar grain chemistry and organic molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allamandola, L. J.; Sandford, S. A.

    1990-01-01

    The detection of prominant infrared absorption bands at 3250, 2170, 2138, 1670 and 1470 cm(-1) (3.08, 4.61, 4.677, 5.99 and 6.80 micron m) associated with molecular clouds show that mixed molecular (icy) grain mantles are an important component of the interstellar dust in the dense interstellar medium. These ices, which contain many organic molecules, may also be the production site of the more complex organic grain mantles detected in the diffuse interstellar medium. Theoretical calculations employing gas phase as well as grain surface reactions predict that the ices should be dominated only by the simple molecules H2O, H2CO, N2, CO, O2, NH3, CH4, possibly CH3OH, and their deuterated counterparts. However, spectroscopic observations in the 2500 to 1250 cm(-1)(4 to 8 micron m) range show substantial variation from source reactions alone. By comparing these astronomical spectra with the spectra of laboratory-produced analogs of interstellar ices, one can determine the composition and abundance of the materials frozen on the grains in dense clouds. Experiments are described in which the chemical evolution of an interstellar ice analog is determined during irradiation and subsequent warm-up. Particular attention is paid to the types of moderately complex organic materials produced during these experiments which are likely to be present in interstellar grains and cometary ices.

  20. A new interstellar molecule: tricarbon monoxide.

    PubMed

    Matthews, H E; Irvine, W M; Friberg, P; Brown, R D; Godfrey, P D

    1984-07-12

    The cold dark interstellar Taurus Molecular Cloud One (TMC-1) is a rich source of acetylenic and polyacetylenic molecular species. As well as linear closed-shell molecules (H(C triple bond C)nCN) and symmetric rotors (CH3C triple bond CH, CH3C triple bond CCN), several radicals (C triple bond CH, C triple bond CCN, (C triple bond C2H) have also been identified, many of which had not been studied previously in the laboratory. Whether the observed abundances can be understood in terms of purely gas-phase ion-molecule chemical schemes, which produce reasonable agreement for the simplest polyatomic species, is unclear; alternative models involving the particulate interstellar grains as catalysts or sources have also been suggested. We now report the detection in TMC-1 of a new molecule, tricarbon monoxide (C3O), whose pure rotational spectrum has only very recently been studied in the laboratory. As C3O is the first known interstellar carbon chain molecule to contain oxygen, its existence places an important new constraint on chemical schemes for cold interstellar clouds. In fact, the observed abundance of tricarbon monoxide fits quite well into our model of galactochemistry.

  1. Progress in searches for prebiotic interstellar molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hjalmarson, Å.; Bergman, P.; Nummelin, A.

    2001-08-01

    Recent progress in our searches for complex interstellar molecules, which may be important for the origin of life on habitable planets, is reviewed. The molecular abundance ranges and current search limits observed in a number of "hot core" sources are tabulated and discussed. The abundance limits reached in searches for most complex interstellar molecules are not much lower than the detection levels of other large molecules. While our detection of c-C2H4O (ethylene oxide, oxirane) may suggest the interstellar presence of the next larger similar ring c-C4H4O (furan - the core of the simple sugars ribose and deoxyribose, which form the backbones of RNA and DNA), our current search limits are just barely lower than the abundance level of ethylene oxide. Really deep searches for prebiotic molecules in compact cloud cores will have to await the erection of the very sensitive aperture synthesis instrument ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimetre Array, to be located in the Chilean Andes.

  2. Interstellar Dust Models Consistent with Extinction, Emission, and Abundance Constraints

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zubko, Viktor; Dwek, Eli; Arendt, Richard G.

    2004-01-01

    We present new interstellar dust models which have been derived by simultaneously fitting the far ultraviolet to near infrared extinction, the diffuse infrared emission, and, unlike previous models, the elemental abundances in dust for the diffuse interstellar medium. We found that dust models consisting of a mixture of spherical graphite and silicate grains, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules, in addition to porous composite particles containing silicate, organic refractory, and water ice, provide an improved .t to the UV-to-infrared extinction and infrared emission measurements, while consuming the amounts of elements well within the uncertainties of adopted interstellar abundances, including B star abundances. These models are a signi.cant improvement over the recent Li & Draine (2001, ApJ, 554, 778) model which requires an excessive amount of silicon to be locked up in dust: 48 ppm (atoms per million of H atoms), considerably more than the solar abundance of 34 ppm or the B star abundance of 19 ppm.

  3. Deuterium Abundance in the Local Interstellar Medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ferlet, R.; Gry, C.; Vidal-Madjar, A.

    1984-01-01

    The present situation of deuterium abundance evaluation in interstellar space is discussed, and it is shown that it should be or = .00001 by studying in more detail lambda the Sco line of sight and by observing two NaI interstellar components toward that star, it can be shown that the D/H evaluation made toward lambda Sco is in fact related to the local interstellar medium (less than 10 pc from the Sun). Because this evaluation is also or = .00001 it is in striking contrast with the one made toward alpha Aur (D/H or = .000018 confirming the fact that the deuterium abundance in the local interstellar medium varies by at least a factor of two over few parsecs.

  4. Characterization of Interstellar Organic Molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Gencaga, Deniz; Knuth, Kevin H.; Carbon, Duane F.

    2008-11-06

    Understanding the origins of life has been one of the greatest dreams throughout history. It is now known that star-forming regions contain complex organic molecules, known as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), each of which has particular infrared spectral characteristics. By understanding which PAH species are found in specific star-forming regions, we can better understand the biochemistry that takes place in interstellar clouds. Identifying and classifying PAHs is not an easy task: we can only observe a single superposition of PAH spectra at any given astrophysical site, with the PAH species perhaps numbering in the hundreds or even thousands. This is a challenging source separation problem since we have only one observation composed of numerous mixed sources. However, it is made easier with the help of a library of hundreds of PAH spectra. In order to separate PAH molecules from their mixture, we need to identify the specific species and their unique concentrations that would provide the given mixture. We develop a Bayesian approach for this problem where sources are separated from their mixture by Metropolis Hastings algorithm. Separated PAH concentrations are provided with their error bars, illustrating the uncertainties involved in the estimation process. The approach is demonstrated on synthetic spectral mixtures using spectral resolutions from the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). Performance of the method is tested for different noise levels.

  5. A New Interstellar Cyclic Molecule, Ethylene Oxide

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dickens, J. E.; Irvine, W. M.; Ohishi, M.; Ikeda, M.; Ishikawa, S.; Nummelin, A.; Hjalmarson, A.

    1997-12-01

    Ethylene oxide (c-C2H4O) is only the fourth known ring molecule identified in the interstellar medium, detected in the Galactic Center cloud SgrB2(N) by Dickens et al. (1997). It is the higher energy isomer of both the more familiar interstellar species acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) and the as yet undetected molecule vinyl alcohol (CH2CHOH). Dickens et al. (1997) reported a c-C2H4O molecular column density about an order of magnitude less than that reported for CH3CHO in SgrB2(N). This is a factor of 200 larger than the predictions of the new standard gas phase chemistry model of Lee, Bettens, and Herbst (1996), suggesting that the formation of c-C2H4O may be related to molecular formation on interstellar grains. We present observations of the c-C2H4O to CH3CHO abundance ratio in 5 additional molecular clouds. The data were taken in October 1997 with the Swedish-European Submillimeter Telescope in Chile. The confirmation of ethylene oxide in molecular clouds provides an appealing scenario for the first link in the chain of reactions leading to the origin of life, since it has been suggested as a possible pathway to the formation of the related cyclic molecule oxiranecarbonitrile (c-C3H3NO; cf., Dickens et al. 1996), a precursor to the synthesis of sugar phosphates which comprise the backbone of our molecular genetic structure. References: Dickens, J.E., Irvine, W.M., Ohishi, M., Ikeda, M., Ishikawa, S., Nummelin, A., and Hjalmarson, A. 1997, Astrophys. J., 489 (in press). Dickens, J.E. et al. 1996, Orig. Life Evol. Biosphere, 26, 97. Lee, H.-H., Bettens, R.P.A., and Herbst, E. 1996, Astron. Astrophys. Supp., 119, 111.

  6. Metastable isomers - A new class of interstellar molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Green, S.; Herbst, E.

    1979-01-01

    The abundances of a variety of metastable isomers of small organic molecules, analogous to HNC/HCN, in dense interstellar clouds are considered. These metastable species, some of which are thought to exist as intermediates in laboratory organic chemical reactions, are of considerable interest to chemists. Current ideas of gas-phase, ion-molecule chemistry are utilized to demonstrate that such metastable species should often be present in dense clouds in sufficient abundance to be observed. Unfortunately, the spectral constants of metastable isomers have rarely been determined in the laboratory, and quantum chemical calculations of a varying degree of accuracy must be utilized; results are included of some new quantum chemical calculations. The interstellar chemistry and expected microwave spectra of a representative sample of possibly important interstellar metastable isomers are discussed.

  7. The interstellar N2 abundance towards HD 124314 from far-ultraviolet observations.

    PubMed

    Knauth, David C; Andersson, B-G; McCandliss, Stephan R; Moos, H Warren

    2004-06-10

    The abundance of interstellar molecular nitrogen (N2) is of considerable importance: models of steady-state gas-phase interstellar chemistry, together with millimetre-wavelength observations of interstellar N2H+ in dense molecular clouds predict that N2 should be the most abundant nitrogen-bearing molecule in the interstellar medium. Previous attempts to detect N2 absorption in the far-ultraviolet or infrared (ice features) have hitherto been unsuccessful. Here we report the detection of interstellar N2 at far-ultraviolet wavelengths towards the moderately reddened star HD 124314 in the constellation of Centaurus. The N2 column density is larger than expected from models of diffuse clouds and significantly smaller than expected for dense molecular clouds. Moreover, the N2 abundance does not explain the observed variations in the abundance of atomic nitrogen (N I) towards high-column-density sightlines, implying that the models of nitrogen chemistry in the interstellar medium are incomplete.

  8. Carbon chain abundance in the diffuse interstellar medium.

    PubMed

    Allamandola, L J; Hudgins, D M; Bauschlicher, C W; Langhoff, S R

    1999-12-10

    Thanks to the mid-IR sensitivities of the ISO and IRTS orbiting spectrometers it is now possible to search the diffuse interstellar medium for heretofore inaccessible molecular emission. In view of the recent strong case for the presence of C(7-) (Kirkwood et al. 1998, Tulej et al. 1998),and the fact that carbon chains possess prominent infrared active modes in a very clean portion of the interstellar spectrum, we have analyzed the IRTS spectrum of the diffuse interstellar medium for the infrared signatures of these species. Theoretical and experimental infrared band frequencies and absolute intensities of many different carbon chain species are presented. These include cyanopolyynes, neutral and anionic linear carbon molecules, and neutral and ionized, even-numbered, hydrogenated carbon chains. We show that--as a family--these species have abundances in the diffuse ISM on the order of 10(-10) with respect to hydrogen, values consistent with their abundances in dense molecular clouds. Assuming an average length of 10 C atoms per C-chain implies that roughly a millionth of the cosmically available carbon is in the form of carbon chains and that carbon chains can account for a few percent of the visible to near-IR diffuse interstellar band (DIB) total equivalent width (not DIB number).

  9. Newly detected molecules in dense interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Irvine, W M; Avery, L W; Friberg, P; Matthews, H E; Ziurys, L M

    1988-01-01

    The last year or so has seen the identification of several new interstellar molecules, including C2S, C3S, C5H, C6H, and (probably) HC2CHO in the cold, dark cloud TMC-1; and the discovery of the first interstellar phosphorous-containing molecule, PN, in the Orion "plateau" source. Further interesting results include the observations of 13C3H2 and C3HD, and the first detection of HCOOH (formic acid) in a cold cloud.

  10. The abundant elements in interstellar dust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sofia, Ulysses J.; Cardelli, Jason A.; Savage, Blair D.

    1994-01-01

    We explore the incorporation of the cosmically abundant species O, C, N, Mg, Si, Fe, and S into interstellar dust. Column densities based on Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph 3.5 km/s resolution measurements from the literature for eight individual absorbing regions toward five lines of sight are used. Corrections are applied as needed in order to account for recent improvements in oscillator strengths. In order to acquire the most accurate column densities, and check on the accuracy of the oscillator strengths, we compare column densities based on the very strong Lorentzian damped lines of C II, O I, N I, and Mg II with results for the weak lines of these species, and confirm the previously determined f-values for O I lambda 1335, C II lambda 2325, and N I lambda lambda 1159, 1160. New empirical f-values of 1.25 x 10(exp -3) and 6.25 x 10(exp -4), respectively, are derived for the Mg II weak doublet at 1239 and 1240 A. Assuming a cosmic reference abundance based on solar and B star values, we derive depletions and dust-phase abundances which suggest that more than 70% of the available Mg and Fe is incorporated into dust-grain cores, whereas only 35% of the silicon is. This implies that oxides are important constituents of the grain core population. Mg and Fe atoms are mantled onto grain cores in a ratio of 1.8 to 1, whereas approximately 4.0 Si atoms are in the mantle per Fe atom. Since Si is not expected to accrete onto silicate or graphite grains, other grain cores, perhaps oxides and/or metallic Fe, may provide mantling sites for this species. The abundances of Fe and Mg in mantles would imply that graphite grains must have a substantial coating unless oxides provide significant mantling sites for these species. The abundance of O and N in the dust phase as implied by the solar reference abundance values are difficult to reconcile with the fact that these elements are not expected to participate in mantle formation, and the 3.1 micrometer H2O ice feature is

  11. Circumstellar and interstellar synthesis of organic molecules.

    PubMed

    Tielens, A G; Charnley, S B

    1997-06-01

    We review the formation and evolution of complex circumstellar and interstellar molecules. A number of promising chemical routes are discussed which may lead to the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules, fullerenes, and unsaturated hydrocarbon chains in the outflows from stars. Some of the problems with these chemical schemes are pointed out as well. We also review the role of grains in the formation of complex molecules in interstellar molecular clouds. This starts with the formation of simple molecules in an ice grain mantle. UV photolysis and/or thermal polymerization can convert some of these simple molecules into more complex polymeric structures. Some of these species may be released to the gas phase, particularly in the warm regions around newly formed stars. Methanol and formaldehyde seem to play an important role in this drive towards molecular complexity and their chemistry is traced in some detail.

  12. INTERSTELLAR ABUNDANCES TOWARD X Per, REVISITED

    SciTech Connect

    Valencic, Lynne A.; Smith, Randall K.

    2013-06-10

    The nearby X-ray binary X Per (HD 24534) provides a useful beacon with which to examine dust grain types and measure elemental abundances in the local interstellar medium (ISM). The absorption features of O, Fe, Mg, and Si along this line of sight were measured using spectra from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory's LETG/ACIS-S and XMM-Newton's RGS instruments, and the Spex software package. The spectra were fit with dust analogs measured in the laboratory. The O, Mg, and Si abundances were compared to those from standard references, and the O abundance was compared to that along lines of sight toward other X-ray binaries. The results are as follows. First, it was found that a combination of MgSiO{sub 3} (enstatite) and Mg{sub 1.6}Fe{sub 0.4}SiO{sub 4} (olivine) provided the best fit to the O K edge, with N(MgSiO{sub 3})/N(Mg{sub 1.6}Fe{sub 0.4}SiO{sub 4}) = 3.4. Second, the Fe L edge could be fit with models that included metallic iron, but it was not well described by the laboratory spectra currently available. Third, the total abundances of O, Mg, and Si were in very good agreement with that of recently re-analyzed B stars, suggesting that they are good indicators of abundances in the local ISM, and the depletions were also in agreement with expected values for the diffuse ISM. Finally, the O abundances found from X-ray binary absorption spectra show a similar correlation with Galactocentric distances as seen in other objects.

  13. The synthesis of complex molecules in interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huntress, W. T., Jr.; Mitchell, G. F.

    1979-01-01

    The abundances of polyatomic molecules that may be formed by CH3(+) radiative association reactions in dense interstellar molecular clouds are reevaluated. The formation of a number of complex interstellar molecules via radiative association reactions involving ionic precursors other than CH3(+) is also investigated; these additional precursors include CH3O(+), CH3CO(+), CH5(+), HCO(+), NO(+), H2CN(+), C2H2(+), and NH3(+). The results indicate that the postulated gas-phase ion-molecule radiative association reactions could potentially explain the synthesis of most of the more complex species observed in dense molecular clouds such as Sgr B2. It is concluded, however, that in order to be conclusive, laboratory data are needed to show whether or not these reactions proceed at the required rates at low temperatures.

  14. Abundance and chemistry of interstellar HOCO(+)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Minh, Y. C.; Brewer, M. K.; Irvine, W. M.; Friberg, P.; Johansson, L. E. B.

    1991-01-01

    Column densities of 10 to the 15th/sq cm toward the Galactic center and not more than 10 to the 12th/sq cm for cold dark clouds are derived from observations using an LVG model, and the chemical implications are discussed. The HOCO(+) 4(04)-3(03) line toward Sgr A is mapped. The fractional abundance of HOCO(+) in the Galactic center region was found to be three orders of magnitude larger than predicted by quiescent ion-molecule chemistry and an order of magnitude larger than predicted by an MHD shock model. It is suggested that the possibly high CO2 abundance, and consequently the observed HOCO(+) abundance in the Galactic center, may result from UV photolysis of grain mantles.

  15. THE CHEMISTRY OF INTERSTELLAR MOLECULES CONTAINING THE HALOGEN ELEMENTS

    SciTech Connect

    Neufeld, David A.; Wolfire, Mark G. E-mail: mwolfire@astro.umd.ed

    2009-12-01

    Although they are only minor constituents of the interstellar medium, halogen-containing molecules are of special interest because of their unique thermochemistry. Here, we present a theoretical study of the chemistry of interstellar molecules containing the halogen elements chlorine and fluorine. We have modeled both diffuse and dense molecular clouds, making use of updated estimates for the rates of several key chemical processes. We present predictions for the abundances of the three halogen molecules that have been detected to date in the interstellar medium: HF, CF{sup +}, and HCl. As in our previous study of fluorine-bearing interstellar molecules, we predict HF to be the dominant gas-phase reservoir of fluorine within both diffuse and dense molecular clouds; we expect the Herschel Space Observatory to detect widespread absorption in the HF J = 1 - 0 transition. Our updated model now overpredicts the CF{sup +} abundance by a factor approx>10 relative to observations of the Orion Bar; this discrepancy has widened because we now adopt a laboratory measurement of the CF{sup +} dissociative recombination rate that is smaller than the estimate we adopted previously. This disagreement suggests that the reaction of C{sup +} with HF proceeds more slowly than the capture rate assumed in our model; a laboratory measurement of this reaction rate would be very desirable. Our model predicts diffuse cloud HCl abundances that are similar to those predicted previously and detected tentatively toward zeta Oph. Two additional species are potentially detectable from photodissociation regions: the H{sub 2}Cl{sup +}, and HCl{sup +} molecular ions. Ortho-H{sub 2}Cl{sup +} has its lowest-lying transition in the millimeter spectral region observable from the ground, and the lowest rotational transition of HCl{sup +} is observable with Herschel's HIFI instrument.

  16. Interstellar molecules - Formation in solar nebulae

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anders, E.

    1973-01-01

    Herbig's (1970) hypothesis that solar nebulae might be the principal source of interstellar grains and molecules is investigated. The investigation includes the determination of physical and chemical conditions in the early solar system. The production of organic compounds in the solar nebula is studied, and the compounds in meteorites are compared with those obtained in Miller-Urey and Fischer-Tropsch-type (FTT) reactions, taking into consideration aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, purines, pyrimidines, amino acids, porphyrins, and aspects of carbon-isotope fractionation. It is found that FTT reactions account reasonably well for all well-established features of organic matter in meteorites investigated. The distribution of compounds produced by FTT reactions is compared with the distribution of interstellar molecules. Biological implications of the results are considered.

  17. Detection of a new interstellar molecule, H2CN

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ohishi, Masatoshi; Mcgonagle, Douglas; Irvine, William M.; Yamamoto, Satoshi; Saito, Shuji

    1994-01-01

    We have detected a new interstellar molecule, H2CN (methylene amidogen), in the cold, dark molecular cloud TMC-1. The column density of H2CN is estimated to be approximately 1.5 x 10(exp 11) cm(exp -2) by assuming an excitation temperature of 5 K. This column density corresponds to a fractional abundance relative to H2 of approximately 1.5 x 10(exp -11). This value is more than three orders of magnitude less than the abundance of the related molecule HCN in TMC-1. We also report a tentative detection of H2CN in Sgr B2(N). The formation mechanism of H2CN is discussed. Our detection of the N2CN molecule may suggest the existence of a new series of carbon-chain molecules, CH2C(n)N (N = 0, 1, 2, ...).

  18. Complex Molecules in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandford, Scott

    1996-01-01

    A brief review of the current state of knowledge concerning the composition of complex molecules in the interstellar medium (ISM) is given. The materials in interstellar dense molecular clouds is also discussed. As well as the formation of stars and planetary systems. A concentration on solids are addressed, because they contain a major fraction of the heavier elements in these clouds and because these materials are the most likely to survive incorporation into new planetary systems and participate in the subsequent formation and evolution of life. However, dense clouds are not well-defined, long-lived entities but are dynamic objects that are formed from materials in the diffuse ISM and destroyed on time scales of 10(exp 6)-10(exp 8) years. As a result, materials in space are probably constantly being mixed between the dense ISM and the more diffuse intercloud ISM, and some discussion of the materials found in the diffuse ISM is also merited.

  19. RKR Franck-Condon factors for blue and ultraviolet transitions of some molecules of astrophysical interest and some comments on the interstellar abundance of CH, CH+ and SiH+.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Liszt, H. S.; Hayden Smith, W.

    1972-01-01

    RKR Franck-Condon factors for thirteen of the blue and ultraviolet transitions of AlF, AlO, BH, BD, CH, CD, CH(+), SiO and SiH(+) have been calculated. The interstellar abundances of CH, CH(+) and SiH(+) are discussed with regard to recent laboratory measurements, our Franck-Condon factors, and observations of the sun and the interstellar medium.

  20. Non-equilibrium processes in interstellar molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strelnitskiy, V. S.

    1979-01-01

    The types of nonequilibrium emission and absorption by interstellar molecules are summarized. The observed brightness emission temperatures of compact OH and H2O sources are discussed using the concept of maser amplification. A single thermodynamic approach was used in which masers and anti-masers are considered as heat engines for the theoretical interpretation of the cosmic maser and anti-maser phenomena. The requirements for different models of pumping are formulated and a classification is suggested for the mechanisms of pumping, according to the source and discharge of energy.

  1. Is HO{sup 2 sub +} a detectable interstellar molecule?

    SciTech Connect

    Widicus Weaver, S. L.; Woon, D. E.; Ruscic, B.; McCall, B. J.; Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division; Univ. of Illinois

    2009-05-20

    Although molecular oxygen, O{sub 2}, has long been thought to be present in interstellar environments, it has only been tentatively detected toward one molecular cloud. The fractional abundance of O{sub 2} determined from these observations is well below that predicted by astrochemical models. Given the difficulty of O{sub 2} observations from ground-based telescopes, identification of a molecule that could be used as a tracer of O{sub 2} in interstellar environments would be quite useful. To this end, we have undertaken a collaborative examination of HO{sub 2}{sup +} in an attempt to evaluate the feasibility of its detection in interstellar clouds. We have conducted high-level ab initio calculations of its structure to obtain its molecular parameters. The reaction responsible for the formation of HO{sub 2}{sup +} is nearly thermoneutral, and so a careful analysis of its thermochemistry was also required. Using the Active Thermochemical Tables approach, we have determined the most accurate values available to date for the proton affinities of O{sub 2} and H{sub 2}, and the enthalpy, Gibbs energy, and equilibrium constant for the reaction H{sub 3}{sup +} + O{sub 2} {yields} HO{sub 2}{sup +} + H{sub 2}. We find that while this reaction is endothermic by 50 {+-} 9 cm{sup -1} at 0 K, its equilibrium is shifted toward HO{sub 2}{sup +} at the higher temperatures of hot cores. We have examined the potential formation and destruction pathways for HO{sub 2}{sup +} in interstellar environments. Combining this information, we estimate the HO{sub 2}{sup +} column density in dense clouds to be {approx}10{sup 9} cm{sup -2}, which corresponds to line brightness temperatures of {le} 0.2 mK. If our results prove correct, HO{sub 2}{sup +} is clearly not a detectable interstellar molecule.

  2. Organic molecules in the gas phase of dense interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Irvine, W M

    1995-03-01

    Since a previous COSPAR review on this subject, the number of molecular species identified by astronomers in dense interstellar clouds or in the envelopes expelled by evolved stars has grown from about eighty to approximately one hundred. Recent detections in stellar envelopes include the radical CP, the second phosphorus-containing astronomical molecule; SiN, the first astronomical molecule with a Si-N bond; and the HCCN radical. In the dense interstellar clouds recent detections or verifications of previous possible identifications include the H3O+ ion, which is a critical intermediary in the production of H2O and O2; the CCO radical, which is isoelectronic with HCCN; the SO+ ion, which appears to be diagnostic of shock chemistry; two new isomers of cyanoacetylene, HCCNC and CCCNH; and the two cumulenes H2C3 and H2C4. Some recent work is also described on the mapping of interstellar clouds in multiple molecular transitions in order to separate variations in chemical abundance from gradients in physical parameters.

  3. New Large Interstellar Molecules Detected with the GBT

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollis, Jan M.

    2005-01-01

    At present, more than 135 different molecules have been identified in interstellar clouds. The newest instrument in the interstellar molecule search arsenal is the recently commissioned Green Bank Telescope (GBT). In 2004, the large aldehydes propenal (CH2CHCHO) and propanal (CH3CH2CHO) were the first new interstellar molecules discovered with the GBT. At the same time, the GBT was used to observe interstellar glycolaldehyde (CH2OHCHO), which is the simplest possible aldehyde sugar; interstellar ethylene glycol (HOCH2CH2OH), which is the sugar alcohol of glycolaldehyde; and interstellar methylcyanodiacetylene (CH3C5N). These new GBT observations suggest that successive atomic addition reactions are common in the formation of larger related species. The observations will be presented and discussed.

  4. On the abundance of interstellar oxygen toward Zeta Ophiuchi

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    De Boer, K. S.

    1979-01-01

    Zeippen, Seaton, and Morton (1977) recently published profiles of interstellar neutral oxygen lines in Zeta Oph. From a reconsideration of the profiles of visual interstellar lines to that star, it follows that the cloud dominating the O I absorption could have a very small velocity spread, approximately 0.5 km/s. Analysis of the profile of the 1302-A line gives a column density of O I in that cloud of 6.0 + or - 5 x 10 to the 17th per sq cm. This implies an upward revision of the abundance of free oxygen by a factor 1.5 and hence that oxygen is only 25% depleted in the gas to Zeta Oph, contrary to the minimum depletion of a factor 1.8 found by Zeippen, Seaton, and Morton. This small depletion of oxygen in interstellar gas is consistent with the widespread absence of absorption by H2O ice mantles on interstellar dust grains.

  5. Interstellar Abundances Toward X Per, Revisited

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valencic, Lynne A.; Smith, Randall K.

    2012-01-01

    The nearby X-ray binary X Per (HD 24534) provides a useful beacon with which to measure elemental abundances in the local ISM. We examine absorption features of O, Mg, and Si along this line of sight using spectra from the Chandra Observatory's LETG/ACIS-S and XMM-Newton's RGS instruments. In general, we find that the abundances and their ratios are similar to those of young F and G stars and the most recent solar values. We compare our results with abundances required by dust grain models.

  6. Interstellar Abundances Toward X Per, Revisited

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valencic, Lynne A.; Smith, Randall K.

    2014-01-01

    The nearby X-ray binary X Per (HD 24534) provides a useful beacon with which to measure elemental abundances in the local ISM. We examine absorption features of 0, Mg, and Si along this line of sight using spectra from the Chandra Observatory's LETG/ ACIS-S and XMM-Newton's RGS instruments. In general, we find that the abundances and their ratios are similar to those of young F and G stars and the most recent solar values. We compare our results with abundances required by dust grain models.

  7. Anomalous Oxygen and Krypton Abundances in Interstellar Gas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meyer, David M.

    2004-01-01

    The primary objective of this program was to obtain FUSE observations of the interstellar H2 absorption toward a sample of stars observed with the HST STIS spectrograph as part of the ISM SNAP Survey. This Survey was designed to produce a database of high quality, high resolution W spectra from which interstellar gas-phase elemental abundances could be derived for large portions of the Galaxy. In particular, oxygen and krypton were chosen as excellent tracers for measuring the homogeneity of the interstellar gas due to their weak depletion into dust grains. The gas-phase 0 and Kr abundances relative to total hydrogen column density had previously been shown with HST GHRS measurements to be essentially constant in the local Milky Way. One of the main motivations of the ISM SNAP Survey was to determine if this constancy held at greater distances and in denser sightlines (where depletion into dust could be a possibility). The initial ISM SNAP STIS observations indicated a number of sightlines with unusual 0 and Kr abundances relative to the measured H I column densities. Since the appropriate benchmark for accurate abundance comparisons is the total hydrogen column density (H I plus H2), FUSE observations of interstellar H2 were carried out in these sightlines in order to determine if they represent cases of true abundance anomalies.

  8. Photoabsorption and photodissociation of molecules important in the interstellar medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Long C.; Suto, Masako

    1989-01-01

    Photoabsorption and fluorescence cross sections of molecules important in the interstellar medium were measured in the 90 to 200 nm region using synchrotron radiation, excimer laser, and condensed discharge lamps as light sources. The quantitative spectroscopic data are currently needed for the modeling of formation and destruction rates of molecules by the interstellar radiation field. Fluorescences from excited photofragments produced by vacuum ultraviolet radiation of molecules are dispersed to identify the emitting species. The fluorescence data are useful for the identification of emission sources in interstellar clouds.

  9. Interstellar abundance and depletion studies along Galactic sightlines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haris, U.; Murthy, Jayant; Sofia, Ulysses

    2016-07-01

    The Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has enhanced our understanding many aspects of interstellar medium of our galaxy. The wavelength coverage of FUSE and HST is of great astrophysical importance. We use FUSE and HST data for interstellar abundances studies of some important atomic species, such as sulphur and silicon. We report the newly derived column densities by measuring the equivalent widths of several ultraviolet absorption lines. Comparisons of observed depletions and grain properties with existing dust models will be discussed.

  10. The Submillimeter-wave Rotational Spectra of Interstellar Molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Herbst, Eric; DeLucia, Frank C.; Butler, R. A. H.; Winnewisser, M.; Winnewisser, G.; Fuchs, U.; Groner, P.; Sastry, K. V. L. N.

    2002-01-01

    We discuss past and recent progress in our long-term laboratory program concerning the submillimeter-wave rotational spectroscopy of known and likely interstellar molecules, especially those associated with regions of high-mass star formation. Our program on the use of spectroscopy to study rotationally inelastic collisions of interstellar interest is also briefly mentioned.

  11. Abundance of complex organic molecules in comets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Biver, N.; Bockelée-Morvan, D.; Debout, V.; Crovisier, J.; Moreno, R.; Boissier, J.; Lis, D.; Colom, P.; Paubert, G.; Dello Russo, N.; Vervack, R.; Weaver, H.

    2014-07-01

    The IRAM-30m submillimetre radio telescope has now an improved sensitivity and versality thanks to its wide-band EMIR receivers and high-resolution FFT spectrometer. Since 2012, we have undertaken ~70 GHz wide spectral surveys in the 1-mm band in several comets: C/2009 P1 (Garradd), C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS), C/2012 F6 (Lemmon), C/2012 S1 (ISON), and C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy). Since their discovery in comet C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) in 1997 (Bockelée-Morvan et al. 2000, Crovisier et al. 2004a, 2004b), we have detected complex CHO(N)-molecules such as formic acid (HCOOH), formamide (NH_2CHO), acetaldehyde (CH_3CHO), and ethylene glycol ((CH_2OH)_2) in several other comets. HCOOH has now been detected in 6 other comets since 2004, and formamide, ethylene glycol, and acetaldehyde were re-detected for the first time in comets Lemmon or Lovejoy in 2013 (Biver et al. 2014). We will present the abundances relative to water we derive for these species, and the sensitive upper limits we obtain for other complex CHO-bearing molecules. We will discuss the implication of these findings on the origin of cometary material in comparison with observations of such molecules in the interstellar medium.

  12. Interstellar molecules. [detection from Copernicus satellite UV absorption data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Drake, J. F.

    1974-01-01

    The Princeton equipment on the Copernicus satellite provides the means to study interstellar molecules between the satellite and stars from 20 to 1000 pc distant. The study is limited to stars relatively unobscured by dust which strongly attenuates the ultraviolet continuum flux used as a source to probe the interstellar medium. Of the 14 molecules searched for only three have been detected including molecular hydrogen, molecular HD, and carbon monoxide.

  13. DETECTION OF A NEW INTERSTELLAR MOLECULE: THIOCYANIC ACID HSCN

    SciTech Connect

    Halfen, D. T.; Ziurys, L. M.; Bruenken, S.; Gottlieb, C. A.; McCarthy, M. C.; Thaddeus, P. E-mail: lziurys@as.arizona.edu E-mail: cgottlieb@cfa.harvard.edu E-mail: pthaddeus@cfa.harvard.edu

    2009-09-10

    A new interstellar molecule, HSCN (thiocyanic acid), an energetic isomer of the well-known species HNCS, has been detected toward Sgr B2(N) with the Arizona Radio Observatory 12 m telescope. Eight rotational transitions in the K{sub a} = 0 ladder were observed in the 2 mm and 3 mm bands. Five consecutive transitions in the 3 mm band are unblended, but three in the 2 mm band are partially masked by lines of other molecules. The peak intensity of all eight transitions are well described by a rotational temperature that is in very good agreement with that of many other molecules in this source. The line width and radial velocity of HSCN match closely with those of the ground state isomer HNCS (isothiocyanic acid), HNCO (isocyanic acid), and HOCN (cyanic acid); preliminary maps indicate that all four molecules are similarly distributed in Sgr B2. Although HSCN is calculated to lie over 3000 K higher in energy than HNCS, its column density of 1.3 x 10{sup 13} cm{sup -2} in Sgr B2(N) is only three times lower than that of HNCS. The fractional abundances of HSCN and HNCS relative to H{sub 2} are 4.5 x 10{sup -12} and 1.1 x 10{sup -11}. By analogy with the isomeric pair HCN and HNC, these two sulfur-bearing isomers are plausibly formed from a common cation precursor.

  14. Photochemistry and Astrochemistry: Photochemical Pathways to Interstellar Complex Organic Molecules.

    PubMed

    Öberg, Karin I

    2016-09-14

    The interstellar medium is characterized by a rich and diverse chemistry. Many of its complex organic molecules are proposed to form through radical chemistry in icy grain mantles. Radicals form readily when interstellar ices (composed of water and other volatiles) are exposed to UV photons and other sources of dissociative radiation, and if sufficiently mobile the radicals can react to form larger, more complex molecules. The resulting complex organic molecules (COMs) accompany star and planet formation and may eventually seed the origins of life on nascent planets. Experiments of increasing sophistication have demonstrated that known interstellar COMs as well as the prebiotically interesting amino acids can form through ice photochemistry. We review these experiments and discuss the qualitative and quantitative kinetic and mechanistic constraints they have provided. We finally compare the effects of UV radiation with those of three other potential sources of radical production and chemistry in interstellar ices: electrons, ions, and X-rays.

  15. Chemical Simulations of Prebiotic Molecules: Interstellar Ethanimine Isomers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quan, Donghui; Herbst, Eric; Corby, Joanna F.; Durr, Allison; Hassel, George

    2016-06-01

    The E- and Z-isomers of ethanimine (CH3CHNH) were recently detected toward the star-forming region Sagittarius (Sgr) B2(N) using the Green Bank Telescope PRIMOS cm-wave spectral data, and imaged by the Australia Telescope Compact Array. Ethanimine is not reported in the hot cores of Sgr B2, but only in gas that absorbs at +64 and +82 km s-1 in the foreground of continuum emission generated by H ii regions. The ethanimine isomers can serve as precursors of the amino acid alanine and may play important roles in forming biological molecules in the interstellar medium. Here we present a study of the chemistry of ethanimine using a gas-grain simulation based on rate equations, with both isothermal and warm-up conditions. In addition, the density, kinetic temperature, and cosmic ray ionization rate have been varied. For a variety of physical conditions in the warm-up models for Sgr B2(N) and environs, the simulations show reasonable agreement with observationally obtained abundances. Isothermal models of translucent clouds along the same line of sight yield much lower abundances, so that ethanimine would be much more difficult to detect in these sources despite the fact that other complex molecules have been detected there.

  16. Chemical Simulations of Prebiotic Molecules: Interstellar Ethanimine Isomers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quan, Donghui; Herbst, Eric; Corby, Joanna F.; Durr, Allison; Hassel, George

    2016-06-01

    The E- and Z-isomers of ethanimine (CH3CHNH) were recently detected toward the star-forming region Sagittarius (Sgr) B2(N) using the Green Bank Telescope PRIMOS cm-wave spectral data, and imaged by the Australia Telescope Compact Array. Ethanimine is not reported in the hot cores of Sgr B2, but only in gas that absorbs at +64 and +82 km s‑1 in the foreground of continuum emission generated by H ii regions. The ethanimine isomers can serve as precursors of the amino acid alanine and may play important roles in forming biological molecules in the interstellar medium. Here we present a study of the chemistry of ethanimine using a gas-grain simulation based on rate equations, with both isothermal and warm-up conditions. In addition, the density, kinetic temperature, and cosmic ray ionization rate have been varied. For a variety of physical conditions in the warm-up models for Sgr B2(N) and environs, the simulations show reasonable agreement with observationally obtained abundances. Isothermal models of translucent clouds along the same line of sight yield much lower abundances, so that ethanimine would be much more difficult to detect in these sources despite the fact that other complex molecules have been detected there.

  17. Photoabsorption and photodissociation of molecules important in the interstellar medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Long C.; Suto, Masako

    1991-01-01

    The photoabsorption, photodissociation, and fluorescence cross sections of interstellar molecules are measured at 90 to 250 nm. These quantitative optical data are needed for the understanding of the formation and destruction processes of molecules under the intense interstellar UV radiation field. Research covering the following topics is presented: (1) fluorescences from photoexcitation of CH4, CH3OH, and CH3SH; (2) NO gamma emission from photoexcitation of NO; (3) photoexcitation cross sections of aromatic molecules; (4) IR emission from UV excitation of HONO2; (5) IR emission from UV excitation of benzene and methyl-derivitives; and (6) IR emission from UV excitation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules.

  18. The interstellar abundances of tin and four other heavy elements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hobbs, L. M.; Welty, D. E.; Morton, D. C.; Spitzer, L.; York, D. G.

    1993-01-01

    Spectra recorded at 1150-1600 A with an instrumental resolution near 16 km/s were obtained with the Goddard High-Resolution Spectrograph on board the HST. The gaseous interstellar abundances of five heavy elements along the light paths to 23 Ori, 15 Mon, 1 Sco, Pi Sco, and Pi Aqr were determined from the observations. The 1400.450 A line of Sn II was detected and identified toward three stars; at Z = 50, tin is the first element from the fifth row of the periodic table to be identified in the interstellar medium. One spectral line of each of Cu II (Z = 29) and Ga II (Z = 31), three lines of Ge II (Z = 32), and two lines of Kr I (Z = 36) were also detected toward some or all of the five stars. The depletions of these five heavy elements generally decrease monotonically with increasing atomic number toward each of the six stars, and tin is generally undepleted within the observational errors. The depletions of 26 elements from the interstellar gas in an average dense interstellar cloud appear to correlate with the elemental 'nebular' condensation temperatures more closely than with the first ionization potentials.

  19. DETERMINING INTERSTELLAR CARBON ABUNDANCES FROM STRONG-LINE TRANSITIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Sofia, U. J.; Parvathi, V. S.; Babu, B. R. S.; Murthy, J.

    2011-01-15

    Carbon is arguably the most important element in the interstellar medium, yet its abundance in gas and dust is poorly understood due to a paucity of data. We explore the possibility of substantially increasing our knowledge of interstellar carbon by applying and assessing a new method for determining the column density of the dominant ion of interstellar carbon in diffuse neutral lines of sight. The method relies on profile fitting of the strong transition of C II at 1334 A in spectra continuum normalized with stellar models. We apply our method to six sight lines for which the carbon abundance has previously been determined with a weak intersystem absorption transition. Our strong-line method consistently shows a significantly lower gas-phase C abundance than the measurements from the weak lines. This result implies that more carbon could reside in dust than was previously thought. This has implications for dust models, which often suffer from a lack of sufficient carbon to plausibly explain extinction. There is no immediately clear explanation for the difference found between the strong- and weak-line C II determinations, but there are indications that the results from the method presented here have advantages over the weak-line column densities. If this is the case, then the reported oscillator strength for the C II transition at 2325 A may be too small. Our findings further suggest that damping wings modeled with a single absorption component may not produce accurate abundances. This problem could affect a large number of H I abundances determined through absorption line analysis that are reported in the literature.

  20. Molecule formation by inverse predissociation. [in interstellar space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Julienne, P. S.; Krauss, M.

    1973-01-01

    The general theory of inverse predissociation is described, and is applied to specific molecules. The list of molecules which can be formed by radiative association will be lengthened considerably by considering this phenomenon. Typical rate constants for diatoms will lie in the range 10 to the minus 16th power to 10 to the minus 20th power cu cm/sec/molecule, with the heavy atom molecules such as CN, CO, or NO generally having larger rates than the hydrides. An attempt is made to point out what molecular characteristics determine the radiative association rate and also to make estimates of what rates may be expected for various interstellar molecules. The formal theory is developed, and the molecular properties are discussed which determine the inverse predissociation rate. The details of the theory as applied to specific interstellar molecules are studied.

  1. CARBON DIOXIDE INFLUENCE ON THE THERMAL FORMATION OF COMPLEX ORGANIC MOLECULES IN INTERSTELLAR ICE ANALOGS

    SciTech Connect

    Vinogradoff, V.; Fray, N.; Bouilloud, M.; Cottin, H.; Duvernay, F.; Chiavassa, T.

    2015-08-20

    Interstellar ices are submitted to energetic processes (thermal, UV, and cosmic-ray radiations) producing complex organic molecules. Laboratory experiments aim to reproduce the evolution of interstellar ices to better understand the chemical changes leading to the reaction, formation, and desorption of molecules. In this context, the thermal evolution of an interstellar ice analogue composed of water, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and formaldehyde is investigated. The ice evolution during the warming has been monitored by IR spectroscopy. The formation of hexamethylenetetramine (HMT) and polymethylenimine (PMI) are observed in the organic refractory residue left after ice sublimation. A better understanding of this result is realized with the study of another ice mixture containing methylenimine (a precursor of HMT) with carbon dioxide and ammonia. It appears that carbamic acid, a reaction product of carbon dioxide and ammonia, plays the role of catalyst, allowing the reactions toward HMT and PMI formation. This is the first time that such complex organic molecules (HMT, PMI) are produced from the warming (without VUV photolysis or irradiation with energetic particles) of abundant molecules observed in interstellar ices (H{sub 2}O, NH{sub 3}, CO{sub 2}, H{sub 2}CO). This result strengthens the importance of thermal reactions in the ices’ evolution. HMT and PMI, likely components of interstellar ices, should be searched for in the pristine objects of our solar system, such as comets and carbonaceous chondrites.

  2. Detection of a branched alkyl molecule in the interstellar medium: iso-propyl cyanide

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belloche, Arnaud; Garrod, Robin T.; Müller, Holger S. P.; Menten, Karl M.

    2014-09-01

    The largest noncyclic molecules detected in the interstellar medium (ISM) are organic with a straight-chain carbon backbone. We report an interstellar detection of a branched alkyl molecule, iso-propyl cyanide (i-C3H7CN), with an abundance 0.4 times that of its straight-chain structural isomer. This detection suggests that branched carbon-chain molecules may be generally abundant in the ISM. Our astrochemical model indicates that both isomers are produced within or upon dust grain ice mantles through the addition of molecular radicals, albeit via differing reaction pathways. The production of iso-propyl cyanide appears to require the addition of a functional group to a nonterminal carbon in the chain. Its detection therefore bodes well for the presence in the ISM of amino acids, for which such side-chain structure is a key characteristic.

  3. Recent observations of organic molecules in nearby cold, dark interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Suzuki, H.; Ohishi, M.; Morimoto, M.; Kaifu, N.; Friberg, P.

    1985-01-01

    Recent investigations of the organic chemistry of relatively nearby cold, dark interstellar clouds are reported. Specifically, the presence of interstellar tricarbon monoxide (C3O) in Taurus Molecular Cloud 1 (TMC-1) is confirmed. The first detection in such regions of acetaldehyde (CH3CHO), the most complex oxygen-containing organic molecule yet found in dark clouds is reported, as well as the first astronomical detection of several molecular rotational transitions, including the J = 18-17 and 14-13 transitions of cyanodiacetylene (HC5N), the 1(01)-0(00) transition of acetaldehyde, and the J = 5-4 transition of C3O. A significant upper limit is set on the abundance of cyanocarbene (HCCN) as a result of the first reported interstellar search for this molecule.

  4. New Interstellar Dust Models Consistent with Interstellar Extinction, Emission and Abundances Constraints

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zubko, V.; Dwek, E.; Arendt, R. G.; Oegerle, William (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    We present new interstellar dust models that are consistent with both, the FUV to near-IR extinction and infrared (IR) emission measurements from the diffuse interstellar medium. The models are characterized by different dust compositions and abundances. The problem we solve consists of determining the size distribution of the various dust components of the model. This problem is a typical ill-posed inversion problem which we solve using the regularization approach. We reproduce the Li Draine (2001, ApJ, 554, 778) results, however their model requires an excessive amount of interstellar silicon (48 ppM of hydrogen compared to the 36 ppM available for an ISM of solar composition) to be locked up in dust. We found that dust models consisting of PAHs, amorphous silicate, graphite, and composite grains made up from silicates, organic refractory, and water ice, provide an improved fit to the extinction and IR emission measurements, while still requiring a subsolar amount of silicon to be in the dust. This research was supported by NASA Astrophysical Theory Program NRA 99-OSS-01.

  5. Centrosymmetric molecules as possible carriers of diffuse interstellar bands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaźmierczak, M.; Schmidt, M. R.; Galazutdinov, G. A.; Musaev, F. A.; Betelesky, Y.; Krełowski, J.

    2010-11-01

    In this paper, we present new data with interstellar C2 (Phillips bands A 1 Πu-X1 Σ+g), from observations made with the Ultraviolet-Visual Echelle Spectrograph of the European Southern Observatory. We have determined the interstellar column densities and excitation temperatures of C2 for nine Galactic lines. For seven of these, C2 has never been observed before, so in this case the still small sample of interstellar clouds (26 lines of sight), where a detailed analysis of C2 excitation has been made, has increased significantly. This paper is a continuation of previous works where interstellar molecules (C2 and diffuse interstellar bands) have been analysed. Because the sample of interstellar clouds with C2 has increased, we can show that the width and shape of the profiles of some diffuse interstellar bands (6196 and 5797 Å) apparently depend on the gas kinetic and rotational temperatures of C2; the profiles are broader because of the higher values of the gas kinetic and rotational temperatures of C2. There are also diffuse interstellar bands (4964 and 5850 Å) for which this effect does not exist. Based on observations made with ESO telescopes at the Paranal Observatory under programme IDs 266.D-5655(A), 67.C-0281(A), 71.C-0513(C), 67.D-0439(A) and 082.C-0566(A) and at La Silla under programme IDs 078.C-0403(A), 076.C-0164(A) and 073.C-0337(A). Also based on observations made with the 1.8-m telescope in South Korea and the 2-m telescope at the International Centre for Astronomical and Medico-Ecological Research, Terskol, Russia. E-mail: kazmierczak@astri.uni.torun.pl (MK); schmidt@ncac.torun.pl (MRS); runizag@gmail.com (GAG); ybialets@eso.org (YB); jacek@astri.uni.torun.pl (JK)

  6. Infrared emission spectra of candidate interstellar aromatic molecules.

    PubMed

    Cook, D J; Schlemmer, S; Balucani, N; Wagner, D R; Steiner, B; Saykally, R J

    1996-03-21

    Interstellar dust is responsible, through surface reactions, for the creation of molecular hydrogen, the main component of the interstellar clouds in which new stars form. Intermediate between small, gas-phase molecules and dust are the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Such molecules could account for 2-30% of the carbon in the Galaxy, and may provide nucleation sites for the formation of carbonaceous dust. Although PAHs have been proposed as the sources of the unidentified infrared emission bands that are observed in the spectra of a variety of interstellar sources, the emission characteristics of such molecules are still poorly understood. Here we report laboratory emission spectra of several representative PAHs, obtained in conditions approximating those of the interstellar medium, and measured over the entire spectral region spanned by the unidentified infrared bands. We find that neutral PAHs of small and moderate size can at best make only a minor contribution to these emission bands. Cations of these molecules, as well as much larger PAHs and their cations, remain viable candidates for the sources of these bands.

  7. Searches for new interstellar molecules, including a tentative detection of aziridine and a possible detection of propenal.

    PubMed

    Dickens, J E; Irvine, W M; Nummelin, A; Møllendal, H; Saito, S; Thorwirth, S; Hjalmarson, A; Ohishi, M

    2001-03-15

    Rotational spectroscopy at millimeter wavelengths is a powerful means of investigating the chemistry of dense interstellar clouds. These regions can exhibit an interesting complement of gas phase molecules, including relatively complex organics. Here we report the tentative first astronomical detection of aziridine (ethylenimine), the possible detection of propenal (acrolein), and upper limits on the abundances of cyclopropenone, furan, hydroxyethanal (glycolaldehyde), thiohydroxylamine (NH2SH), and ethenol (vinyl alcohol) in various interstellar clouds.

  8. Searches for new interstellar molecules, including a tentative detection of aziridine and a possible detection of propenal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dickens, J. E.; Irvine, W. M.; Nummelin, A.; Mollendal, H.; Saito, S.; Thorwirth, S.; Hjalmarson, A.; Ohishi, M.

    2001-01-01

    Rotational spectroscopy at millimeter wavelengths is a powerful means of investigating the chemistry of dense interstellar clouds. These regions can exhibit an interesting complement of gas phase molecules, including relatively complex organics. Here we report the tentative first astronomical detection of aziridine (ethylenimine), the possible detection of propenal (acrolein), and upper limits on the abundances of cyclopropenone, furan, hydroxyethanal (glycolaldehyde), thiohydroxylamine (NH2SH), and ethenol (vinyl alcohol) in various interstellar clouds.

  9. Molecules in Laboratory and in Interstellar Space?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thimmakondu, Venkatesan S.

    2016-06-01

    In this talk, the quantum chemistry of astronomically relevant molecules will be outlined with an emphasis on the structures and energetics of C_7H_2 isomers, which are yet to be identified in space. Although more than 100's of isomers are possible for C_7H_2, to date only 6 isomers had been identified in the laboratory. The equilibrium geometries of heptatriynylidene (1), cyclohepta-1,2,3,4-tetraen-6-yne (2), and heptahexaenylidene (3), which we had investigated theoretically will be discussed briefly. While 1 and 3 are observed in the laboratory, 2 is a hypothetical molecule. The theoretical data may be useful for the laboratory detection of 2 and astronomical detection of 2 and 3. THIS WORK IS SUPPORTED BY A RESEARCH GRANT (YSS/2015/00099) FROM SERB, DST, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. Apponi, A. P.; McCarthy, M. C.; Gottlieb, C. A.; Thaddeus, P. Laboratory Detection of Four New Cumulene Carbenes: H_2C_7, H_2C_8, H_2C_9, and D_2C10, Astrophys. J. 2000, 530, 357-361 Ball, C. D; McCarthy, M. C.; Thaddeus, P. Cavity Ringdown Spectroscopy of the Linear Carbon Chains HC_7H, HC_9H, HC11H, and HC13H. J. Chem. Phys. 2000, 112, 10149-10155 Dua, S.; Blanksby, S. J.; Bowie, J. H. Formation of Neutral C_7H_2 Isomers from Four Isomeric C_7H_2 Radical Anion Precursors in the Gas Phase. J. Phys. Chem. A, 2000, 104, 77-85. Thimmakondu, V. S. The equilibrium geometries of heptatriynylidene, cyclohepta-1,2,3,4-tetraen-6-yne, and heptahexaenylidene, Comput. Theoret. Chem. 2016, 1079, 1-10

  10. Astrochem: Abundances of chemical species in the interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maret, Sébastien; Bergin, Edwin A.

    2015-07-01

    Astrochem computes the abundances of chemical species in the interstellar medium, as function of time. It studies the chemistry in a variety of astronomical objects, including diffuse clouds, dense clouds, photodissociation regions, prestellar cores, protostars, and protostellar disks. Astrochem reads a network of chemical reactions from a text file, builds up a system of kinetic rates equations, and solves it using a state-of-the-art stiff ordinary differential equation (ODE) solver. The Jacobian matrix of the system is computed implicitly, so the resolution of the system is extremely fast: large networks containing several thousands of reactions are usually solved in a few seconds. A variety of gas phase process are considered, as well as simple gas-grain interactions, such as the freeze-out and the desorption via several mechanisms (thermal desorption, cosmic-ray desorption and photo-desorption). The computed abundances are written in a HDF5 file, and can be plotted in different ways with the tools provided with Astrochem. Chemical reactions and their rates are written in a format which is meant to be easy to read and to edit. A tool to convert the chemical networks from the OSU and KIDA databases into this format is also provided. Astrochem is written in C, and its source code is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

  11. Recombination Rates of Electrons with Interstellar PAH Molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ballester, Jorge (Cartographer)

    1996-01-01

    The goal of this project is to develop a general model for the recombination of electrons with PAH molecules in an interstellar environment. The model is being developed such that it can be applied to a small number of families of PAHs without reference to specific molecular structures. Special attention will be focused on modeling the approximately circular compact PAHs in a way that only depends on the number of carbon atoms.

  12. Interferometric observations of large biologically interesting interstellar and cometary molecules.

    PubMed

    Snyder, Lewis E

    2006-08-15

    Interferometric observations of high-mass regions in interstellar molecular clouds have revealed hot molecular cores that have substantial column densities of large, partly hydrogen-saturated molecules. Many of these molecules are of interest to biology and thus are labeled "biomolecules." Because the clouds containing these molecules provide the material for star formation, they may provide insight into presolar nebular chemistry, and the biomolecules may provide information about the potential of the associated interstellar chemistry for seeding newly formed planets with prebiotic organic chemistry. In this overview, events are outlined that led to the current interferometric array observations. Clues that connect this interstellar hot core chemistry to the solar system can be found in the cometary detection of methyl formate and the interferometric maps of cometary methanol. Major obstacles to understanding hot core chemistry remain because chemical models are not well developed and interferometric observations have not been very sensitive. Differentiation in the molecular isomers glycolaldehdye, methyl formate, and acetic acid has been observed, but not explained. The extended source structure for certain sugars, aldehydes, and alcohols may require nonthermal formation mechanisms such as shock heating of grains. Major advances in understanding the formation chemistry of hot core species can come from observations with the next generation of sensitive, high-resolution arrays.

  13. Interferometric observations of large biologically interesting interstellar and cometary molecules

    PubMed Central

    Snyder, Lewis E.

    2006-01-01

    Interferometric observations of high-mass regions in interstellar molecular clouds have revealed hot molecular cores that have substantial column densities of large, partly hydrogen-saturated molecules. Many of these molecules are of interest to biology and thus are labeled “biomolecules.” Because the clouds containing these molecules provide the material for star formation, they may provide insight into presolar nebular chemistry, and the biomolecules may provide information about the potential of the associated interstellar chemistry for seeding newly formed planets with prebiotic organic chemistry. In this overview, events are outlined that led to the current interferometric array observations. Clues that connect this interstellar hot core chemistry to the solar system can be found in the cometary detection of methyl formate and the interferometric maps of cometary methanol. Major obstacles to understanding hot core chemistry remain because chemical models are not well developed and interferometric observations have not been very sensitive. Differentiation in the molecular isomers glycolaldehdye, methyl formate, and acetic acid has been observed, but not explained. The extended source structure for certain sugars, aldehydes, and alcohols may require nonthermal formation mechanisms such as shock heating of grains. Major advances in understanding the formation chemistry of hot core species can come from observations with the next generation of sensitive, high-resolution arrays. PMID:16894168

  14. The prebiotic molecules observed in the interstellar gas

    PubMed Central

    Thaddeus, P

    2006-01-01

    Over 130 molecules have been identified in the interstellar gas and circumstellar shells, the largest among them is a carbon chain with 13 atoms and molecular weight of 147 (twice that of the simplest amino acid glycine). The high reliability of astronomical identifications, as well as the fairly accurate quantitative analysis which can often be achieved, is emphasized. Glycine itself has been claimed, but a recent analysis indicates that few, if any, of the astronomical radio lines attributed to glycine are actually from that molecule. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have long been proposed as the source of the unidentified infrared bands between 3 and 16 μm, but no single PAH has been identified in space, partly because PAHs generally have weak or non-existent radio spectra. A remarkable exception is the non-planar corannulene molecule (C20H10) that has a strong radio spectrum; in the rich molecular cloud TMC-1, it is found that less than 10−5 of the carbon is contained in this molecule, suggesting that PAHs are not the dominant large molecules in the interstellar gas, as has been claimed. Owing to inherent spectroscopic limitations, determining the structures of the large molecules in space may require capture of the dust grains, which are continually entering the outer Solar System. PMID:17008209

  15. The prebiotic molecules observed in the interstellar gas.

    PubMed

    Thaddeus, P

    2006-10-29

    Over 130 molecules have been identified in the interstellar gas and circumstellar shells, the largest among them is a carbon chain with 13 atoms and molecular weight of 147 (twice that of the simplest amino acid glycine). The high reliability of astronomical identifications, as well as the fairly accurate quantitative analysis which can often be achieved, is emphasized. Glycine itself has been claimed, but a recent analysis indicates that few, if any, of the astronomical radio lines attributed to glycine are actually from that molecule. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have long been proposed as the source of the unidentified infrared bands between 3 and 16 microm, but no single PAH has been identified in space, partly because PAHs generally have weak or non-existent radio spectra. A remarkable exception is the non-planar corannulene molecule (C20H10) that has a strong radio spectrum; in the rich molecular cloud TMC-1, it is found that less than 10-5 of the carbon is contained in this molecule, suggesting that PAHs are not the dominant large molecules in the interstellar gas, as has been claimed. Owing to inherent spectroscopic limitations, determining the structures of the large molecules in space may require capture of the dust grains, which are continually entering the outer Solar System. PMID:17008209

  16. Detection of interstellar N2O: A new molecule containing an N-O bond

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziurys, L. M.; Apponi, A. J.; Hollis, J. M.; Snyder, L. E.

    1994-12-01

    A new interstellar molecule, N2O, known as nitrous oxide or 'laughing gas,' has been detected using the NRAO 12 m telescope. The J = 3 - 2, 4 - 3, 5 - 4, and 6 - 5 rotational transitions of this species at 75, 100, 125, and 150 GHz, respectively, were observed toward Sgr B2(M). The column density derived for N2O in this source is Ntot approx. 1015/sq. cm, which corresponds to a fractional abundance of approx. 10-9, relative to H2. This value implies abundance ratios of N2O/NO approx. 0.1 and N2O/HNO approx. 3 in the Galactic center. Such ratios are in excellent agreement with predictions of ion-molecule models of interstellar chemistry using early-time calculations and primarily neutral-neutral reactions. N2O is the third interstellar molecule detected thus far containing an N-O bond. Such bonds cannot be so rare as previously thought.

  17. Detection of interstellar N2O: A new molecule containing an N-O bond

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ziurys, L. M.; Apponi, A. J.; Hollis, J. M.; Snyder, L. E.

    1994-01-01

    A new interstellar molecule, N2O, known as nitrous oxide or 'laughing gas,' has been detected using the NRAO 12 m telescope. The J = 3 - 2, 4 - 3, 5 - 4, and 6 - 5 rotational transitions of this species at 75, 100, 125, and 150 GHz, respectively, were observed toward Sgr B2(M). The column density derived for N2O in this source is N(sub tot) approx. 10(exp 15)/sq. cm, which corresponds to a fractional abundance of approx. 10(exp -9), relative to H2. This value implies abundance ratios of N2O/NO approx. 0.1 and N2O/HNO approx. 3 in the Galactic center. Such ratios are in excellent agreement with predictions of ion-molecule models of interstellar chemistry using early-time calculations and primarily neutral-neutral reactions. N2O is the third interstellar molecule detected thus far containing an N-O bond. Such bonds cannot be so rare as previously thought.

  18. The abundance of boron in diffuse interstellar clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ritchey, Adam M.

    The origins of the stable isotopes of boron remain uncertain despite much theoretical and observational effort. Spallation reactions between relativistic Galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and interstellar nuclei can adequately account for the production of 10 B and contribute to the cosmic abundance of 11 B. However, an additional source of 11 B synthesis is required to raise the isotopic ratio of 11 B/ 10 B from its GCR spallation value (2.4) to the value measured in carbonaceous chondrites (4.0). The n-process, neutrino-induced spallation in Type II supernovae, is a potentially significant source of 11 B production. Since neutrino-induced spallation does not result in substantial yields for 10 B, this process could naturally explain the enhancement in 11 B/ 10 B over the predictions of standard GCR spallation. Without the n-process, enhanced 11 B production, relative to 10 B, could be attributed to an increased flux of low- energy (5-40 MeV nucleon -1 ) cosmic rays, which are unobservable from Earth due to magnetic shielding by the solar wind. In this thesis, I present a comprehensive survey of boron abundances in diffuse interstellar clouds from Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope in an effort to identify the sources responsible for light element nucleosynthesis. The present sample of 56 Galactic sight lines is the result of a complete search of archival STIS data for the B II l1362 resonance line. Each detection is confirmed by the presence of absorption due to O I l1355, Cu II l1358, and Ga II l1414 (when available) at the same velocity. Like B + , these species represent the dominant ionization stage of their element in neutral diffuse clouds and therefore should coexist. Profile templates based on synthesized absorption profiles of O I, Cu II, and Ga II are fitted to the B II line, yielding the total boron column density along each line of sight. By synthesizing B II profiles with components seen in high

  19. Discovery of interstellar ketenyl (HCCO), a surprisingly abundant radical

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agúndez, Marcelino; Cernicharo, José; Guélin, Michel

    2015-05-01

    We conducted radioastronomical observations of 9 dark clouds with the IRAM 30 m telescope. We present the first identification in space of the ketenyl radical (HCCO) toward the starless core Lupus-1A and the molecular cloud L483 and the detection of the related molecules ketene (H2CCO) and acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) in these two sources and 3 additional dark clouds. We also report the detection of the formyl radical (HCO) in the 9 targeted sources and of propylene (CH2CHCH3) in 4 of the observed sources, which significantly extends the number of dark clouds where these molecules are known to be present. We have derived a beam-averaged column density of HCCO of ~5 × 1011 cm-2 in both Lupus-1A and L483, which means that the ketenyl radical is just ~10 times less abundant than ketene in these sources. The non-negligible abundance of HCCO found implies that there must be a powerful formation mechanism able to counterbalance the efficient destruction of this radical through reactions with neutral atoms. The column densities derived for HCO, (0.5-2.7) ×1012 cm-2, and CH2CHCH3, (1.9-4-2) ×1013 cm-2, are remarkably uniform across the sources where these species are detected, confirming their ubiquity in dark clouds. Gas phase chemical models of cold dark clouds can reproduce the observed abundances of HCO, but cannot explain the presence of HCCO in Lupus-1A and L483 and the high abundances derived for propylene. The chemistry of cold dark clouds needs to be revised in light of these new observational results. Based on observations carried out with the IRAM 30 m Telescope. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany) and IGN (Spain).Tables 3-6 are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org

  20. Discovery of interstellar ketenyl (HCCO), a surprisingly abundant radical★

    PubMed Central

    Agúndez, Marcelino; Cernicharo, José; Guélin, Michel

    2015-01-01

    We have conducted radioastronomical observations of 9 dark clouds with the IRAM 30m telescope. We present the first identification in space of the ketenyl radical (HCCO) toward the starless core Lupus-1A and the molecular cloud L483, and the detection of the related molecules ketene (H2CCO) and acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) in these two sources and 3 additional dark clouds. We also report the detection of the formyl radical (HCO) in the 9 targeted sources and of propylene (CH2CHCH3) in 4 of the observed sources, which extends significantly the number of dark clouds where these molecules are known to be present. We derive a beam-averaged column density of HCCO of ~ 5 × 1011 cm−2 in both Lupus-1A and L483, which means that the ketenyl radical is just ~10 times less abundant than ketene in these sources. The non-negligible abundance of HCCO found implies that there must be a powerful formation mechanism able to counterbalance the efficient destruction of this radical through reactions with neutral atoms. The column densities derived for HCO, (0.5-2.7) ×1012 cm−2, and CH2CHCH3, (1.9-4-2) ×1013 cm−2, are remarkably uniform across the sources where these species are detected, confirming their ubiquity in dark clouds. Gas phase chemical models of cold dark clouds can reproduce the observed abundances of HCO, but cannot explain the presence of HCCO in Lupus-1A and L483 and the high abundances derived for propylene. The chemistry of cold dark clouds needs to be revised in the light of these new observational results. PMID:26722130

  1. An upper limit to the interstellar C5 abundance in translucent clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galazutdinov, G.; Pětlewski, A.; Musaev, F.; Moutou, C.; Lo Curto, G.; Krełowski, J.

    2002-11-01

    We have analyzed high resolution spectra of several slightly to moderately reddened stars collected at two observatories: ESO (La Silla) and Terskol (Northern Caucasia), to estimate the abundance of the C5 molecule in the interstellar medium. We confirm the presence of a feature near 4975 Å which appears to be a weak DIB rather than the predicted C5 band since the origin band near 5109 Å remains invisible even in spectra of high signal-to-noise ratio ( ~ 2500) and spectral resolution (R ~ 220 000). This confirms that the C5 abundance in translucent interstellar clouds is very low. We estimate its limit as low as 1011 cm-2 in the scale E(B-V)=0.35 for ``zeta" type objects that is two times lower than that of Maier et al. (2002). Based on data collected at the ESO 3.6 m telescope operated on La Silla Observatory, Chile and 2-m telescope of the Terskol Observatory, Russia.

  2. Abundances of Neutral and Ionized PAH Along The Lines-of-Sight of Diffuse and Translucent Interstellar Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, Farid; Galazutdinov, Gazinur; Krewloski, Jacek; Biennier, Ludovic; Beletsky, Yuri; Song, In-Ok

    2013-01-01

    The spectra of neutral and ionized PAHs isolated in the gas phase at low temperature have been measured in the laboratory under conditions that mimic interstellar conditions and are compared with a set of astronomical spectra of reddened, early type stars. The comparisons of astronomical and laboratory data provide upper limits for the abundances of neutral PAH molecules and ions along specific lines-of-sight. Something that is not attainable from infrared observations. We present the characteristics of the laboratory facility (COSmIC) that was developed for this study and discuss the findings resulting from the comparison of the laboratory data with high resolution, high S/N ratio astronomical observations. COSmIC combines a supersonic jet expansion with discharge plasma and cavity ringdown spectroscopy and provides experimental conditions that closely mimic the interstellar conditions. The column densities of the individual PAH molecules and ions probed in these surveys are derived from the comparison of the laboratory data with high resolution, high S/N ratio astronomical observations. The comparisons of astronomical and laboratory data lead to clear conclusions regarding the expected abundances for PAHs in the interstellar environments probed in the surveys. Band profile comparisons between laboratory and astronomical spectra lead to information regarding the molecular structures and characteristics associated with the DIB carriers in the corresponding lines-of-sight. These quantitative surveys of neutral and ionized PAHs in the optical range open the way for quantitative searches of PAHs and complex organics in a variety of interstellar and circumstellar environments.

  3. Modeling the Infrared Emission Spectra of Specific PAH Molecules in Interstellar Space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Aigen

    2007-05-01

    The 3.3, 6.2, 7.7, 8.6 and 11.3 micron emission features ubiquitously seen in a wide variety of Galactic and extragalactic objects, are generally attributed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules. Although the PAH hypothesis is quite successful in explaining the general pattern of the observed emission spectra, so far there is no actual precise identification of a single specific PAH molecule in interstellar space. Therefore, when modeling the observed PAH emission spectra, astronomers usually take an empirical approach by constructing 'astro-PAHs' which do not represent any specific material, but approximate the actual absorption properties of the PAH mixture in astrophysical regions. We propose a Spitzer Theory Program to study the photoexcitation of specific PAH molecules and their ions in interstellar space, taking a statistical-mechanical (instead of thermal) approach. For most of the specific PAH molecules selected for this research (with a small number of vibrational degrees of freedom), thermal approximation is not valid. Using available laboratory and quantum-chemical data (e.g. vibrational frequencies, UV/visible/IR absorption cross sections), we will calculate the emission spectra of 21 representative specific PAH molecules and their ions, ranging from naphthalene to circumcoronene, illuminated by interstellar radiation fields of a wide range of intensities. This program will create a web-based 'library' of the emission spectra of 21 specific PAH molecules and their ions as a function of starlight intensities. This 'library' will be made publicly available by October 2008 on the internet at http://www.missouri.edu/~lia/. By comparing observed PAH spectra with model spectra produced by co-adding the emission spectra of different PAH molecules available in this 'library' (with different weights for different species), one will be able to estimate the total PAH mass and relative abundances of each PAH species, using real PAH properties.

  4. Hydrogenation of interstellar molecules: a survey for methylenimine (CH2NH).

    PubMed

    Dickens, J E; Irvine, W M; DeVries, C H; Ohishi, M

    1997-04-10

    Methylenimine (CH2NH) has been convincingly detected for the first time outside the Galactic center as part of a study of the hydrogenation of interstellar molecules. We have observed transitions from energy levels up to about 100 K above the ground state in the giant molecular clouds W51, Orion KL and G34.3 + 0.15. In addition, CH2NH was found at the " radical-ion peak" on the quiescent ridge of material in the Orion molecular cloud. The abundance ratio CH2NH/HCN at the radical-ion peak agrees with the predictions of recent gas-phase chemical models. This ratio is an order of magnitude higher in the warmer cloud cores, suggesting additional production pathways for CH2NH, probably on interstellar grains.

  5. Hydrogenation of interstellar molecules: a survey for methylenimine (CH2NH)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dickens, J. E.; Irvine, W. M.; DeVries, C. H.; Ohishi, M.

    1997-01-01

    Methylenimine (CH2NH) has been convincingly detected for the first time outside the Galactic center as part of a study of the hydrogenation of interstellar molecules. We have observed transitions from energy levels up to about 100 K above the ground state in the giant molecular clouds W51, Orion KL and G34.3 + 0.15. In addition, CH2NH was found at the " radical-ion peak" on the quiescent ridge of material in the Orion molecular cloud. The abundance ratio CH2NH/HCN at the radical-ion peak agrees with the predictions of recent gas-phase chemical models. This ratio is an order of magnitude higher in the warmer cloud cores, suggesting additional production pathways for CH2NH, probably on interstellar grains.

  6. Observations of interstellar HOCO+: abundance enhancements toward the galactic center.

    PubMed

    Minh, Y C; Irvine, W M; Ziurys, L M

    1988-11-01

    A survey of the 4(04)-3(03) and 1(01)-0(00) transitions of HOCO+ has been made toward several molecular clouds. The HOCO+ molecule was not observed in any sources except Sgr B2 and Sgr A. The 5(05)-4(04) and 4(14)-3(13) transitions were also detected toward Sgr B2. The results indicate that gas phase CO2 is not a major carbon reservoir in typical molecular clouds. In Sgr B2, the HOCO+ antenna temperature exhibits a peak approximately 2' north of the Sgr B2 central position (Sgr B2[M]) and the 4(04)-3(03) line emission is extended over a approximately 10' x 10' region. The column density of HOCO+ at the northern peak in Sgr B2 is approximately 3 x 10(14) cm-2, and the fractional abundance relative to H2 > or = 3 x 10(-10), which is about 2 orders of magnitude greater than recent predictions of quiescent cloud ion-molecule chemistry.

  7. The interstellar carbon abundance. II - Rho Ophiuchi and Beta Scorpii

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welty, D. E.; York, D. G.; Hobbs, L. M.

    1986-01-01

    A procedure designed to obtain increased sensitivity from high-dispersion IUE spectra by using a flat-field spectrum to remove nonrandom noise due to the response pattern of the SEC vidicon detector is described. Application of this procedure to spectra of Rho Oph and Beta(1) Sco near the spin-forbidden interstellar 2325 line of C II yields 2 sigma upper limits on absorption of W (lambda) not greater than about 4 mA. The resulting depletion of carbon from the interstellar gas toward Rho Oph exceeds a factor of 1.4.

  8. Probing non-polar interstellar molecules through their protonated form: Detection of protonated cyanogen (NCCNH+)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agúndez, M.; Cernicharo, J.; de Vicente, P.; Marcelino, N.; Roueff, E.; Fuente, A.; Gerin, M.; Guélin, M.; Albo, C.; Barcia, A.; Barbas, L.; Bolaño, R.; Colomer, F.; Diez, M. C.; Gallego, J. D.; Gómez-González, J.; López-Fernández, I.; López-Fernández, J. A.; López-Pérez, J. A.; Malo, I.; Serna, J. M.; Tercero, F.

    2015-07-01

    Cyanogen (NCCN) is the simplest member of the series of dicyanopolyynes. It has been hypothesized that this family of molecules can be important constituents of interstellar and circumstellar media, although the lack of a permanent electric dipole moment prevents its detection through radioastronomical techniques. Here we present the first solid evidence of the presence of cyanogen in interstellar clouds by detection of its protonated form toward the cold dark clouds TMC-1 and L483. Protonated cyanogen (NCCNH+) has been identified through the J = 5-4 and J = 10-9 rotational transitions using the 40 m radiotelescope of Yebes and the IRAM 30 m telescope. We derive beam-averaged column densities for NCCNH+ of (8.6 ± 4.4) × 1010 cm-2 in TMC-1 and (3.9 ± 1.8) × 1010 cm-2 in L483, which translate into fairly low fractional abundances relative to H2, in the range (1-10) × 10-12. The chemistry of protonated molecules in dark clouds is discussed, and it is found that, in general terms, the abundance ratio between the protonated and non-protonated forms of a molecule increases with increasing proton affinity. Our chemical model predicts an abundance ratio NCCNH+/NCCN of ~10-4, which implies that the abundance of cyanogen in dark clouds could be as high as (1-10) × 10-8 relative to H2, i.e., comparable to that of other abundant nitriles such as HCN, HNC, and HC3N. Based on observations carried out with the IRAM 30 m Telescope and the Yebes 40 m Telescope. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany) and IGN (Spain). The 40 m radiotelescope at Yebes Observatory is operated by the Spanish National Geographic Institute (IGN, Ministerio de Fomento).

  9. Probing non polar interstellar molecules through their protonated form: Detection of protonated cyanogen (NCCNH+)★

    PubMed Central

    Agúndez, M.; Cernicharo, J.; de Vicente, P.; Marcelino, N.; Roueff, E.; Fuente, A.; Gerin, M.; Guélin, M.; Albo, C.; Barcia, A.; Barbas, L.; Bolaño, R.; Colomer, F.; Diez, M. C.; Gallego, J. D.; Gómez-González, J.; López-Fernández, I.; López-Fernández, J. A.; López-Pérez, J. A.; Malo, I.; Serna, J. M.; Tercero, F.

    2015-01-01

    Cyanogen (NCCN) is the simplest member of the series of dicyanopolyynes. It has been hypothesized that this family of molecules can be important constituents of interstellar and circumstellar media, although the lack of a permanent electric dipole moment prevents its detection through radioastronomical techniques. Here we present the first solid evidence of the presence of cyanogen in interstellar clouds through the detection of its protonated form toward the cold dark clouds TMC-1 and L483. Protonated cyanogen (NCCNH+) has been identified through the J = 5 – 4 and J = 10 – 9 rotational transitions using the 40m radiotelescope of Yebes and the IRAM 30m telescope. We derive beam averaged column densities for NCCNH+ of (8.6 ± 4.4) × 1010 cm−2 in TMC-1 and (3.9 ± 1.8) × 1010 cm−2 in L483, which translate to fairly low fractional abundances relative to H2, in the range (1-10) × 10−12. The chemistry of protonated molecules in dark clouds is discussed, and it is found that, in general terms, the abundance ratio between the protonated and non protonated forms of a molecule increases with increasing proton affinity. Our chemical model predicts an abundance ratio NCCNH+/NCCN of ~ 10−4, which implies that the abundance of cyanogen in dark clouds could be as high as (1-10) × 10−8 relative to H2, i.e., comparable to that of other abundant nitriles such as HCN, HNC, and HC3N. PMID:26543239

  10. Molecule formation and infrared emission in fast interstellar shocks. II - Dissociation speeds for interstellar shock waves

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollenbach, D.; Mckee, C. F.

    1980-01-01

    The postshock destruction of molecules is examined, including the processes of (1) collisions with neutral hydrogen atoms and molecules, (2) electronic collisions, and (3) neutral chemical reactions with atoms, particularly atomic hydrogen. By using conservative estimates of collisional dissociation rates from individual vibrational states, it is found that process (1) leads to the destruction of molecular hydrogen behind shocks with speeds equal to or greater than 25 km/s if the preshock molecular gas has hydrogen nucleus densities of equal to or greater than 10 to the 4th/cu cm. At lower densities (100 per cu cm), destruction occurs for shock speeds equal to or greater than 50 km/s and process (2) dominates. Dissociation of molecules such as CO, H2O, and O2 follows the destruction of H2, as the resultant hydrogen atoms chemically dissociate the metal atoms from their bonds (process 3) in the hot postshock gas. These results demonstrate that many of the observed high-speed interstellar molecules, if shock accelerated, must have dissociated and reformed in the postshock gas.

  11. Investigation of claims for interstellar organisms and complex organic molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, Robert E.; Delluva, Adelaide M.; Koch, Robert H.

    1984-10-01

    For many years, Hoyle, Wickramasinghe and their associates have examined interstellar (IS) absorption features in the ultraviolet, visible and infrared and `identified' them with a variety of organic structures or organisms. Among these there have been generalized, pre-biotic molecules1, polyoxymethylene whiskers2, polysaccharides and hydrocarbons3,4, tryptophan (and inferentially proteins)5-all claimed to be coatings on IS grains. In other cases, the grains1,6 have been described as 10-100% alkanes, alkenes, alkynes or aromatics by mass. In extensions of these claims, the grains are supposed to be microorganisms (such as viruses and bacteria7, algae8, siliceous cells similar to diatoms9, yeasts10 or other eukaryotic cells11) in whole or in part. Finally, a case has been advanced for possible interstellar and interplanetary insects11. The `identifications' in these and many other publications call into question the intrinsic origin of Earth life itself12,13 and the uniqueness and validity of darwinian evolution11. We now report on ultraviolet spectra of specimens of the types cited by these workers and compare our results with infrared and ultraviolet data published previously. We conclude that the identifications claimed by Hoyle, Wickramasinghe and their colleagues are unwarranted.

  12. Interstellar Hydrides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gerin, Maryvonne; Neufeld, David A.; Goicoechea, Javier R.

    2016-09-01

    Interstellar hydrides—that is, molecules containing a single heavy element atom with one or more hydrogen atoms—were among the first molecules detected outside the solar system. They lie at the root of interstellar chemistry, being among the first species to form in initially atomic gas, along with molecular hydrogen and its associated ions. Because the chemical pathways leading to the formation of interstellar hydrides are relatively simple, the analysis of the observed abundances is relatively straightforward and provides key information about the environments where hydrides are found. Recent years have seen rapid progress in our understanding of interstellar hydrides, thanks largely to FIR and submillimeter observations performed with the Herschel Space Observatory. In this review, we discuss observations of interstellar hydrides, along with the advanced modeling approaches that have been used to interpret them and the unique information that has thereby been obtained.

  13. Small and Large Molecules in the Diffuse Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oka, Takeshi; Huang, Jane

    2014-06-01

    Although molecules with a wide range of sizes exist in dense clouds (e.g. H(C≡C)_nC≡N with n = 0 - 5), molecules identified in diffuse clouds are all small ones. Since the initial discovery of CH, CN, and CH^+, all molecules detected in the optical region are diatomics except for H_3^+ in the infrared and C_3 in the visible. Radio observations have been limited up to triatomic molecules except for H_2CO and the ubiquitous C_3H_2. The column densities of all molecules are less than 1014 cm-2 with the two exceptions of CO and H_3^+ as well as CH and C_2 in a few special sightlines. Larger molecules with many carbon atoms have been searched for but have not been detected. On the other hand, the observations of a great many diffuse interstellar bands (380 toward HD 204827 and 414 toward HD 183143) with equivalent widths from 1 to 5700 m Å indicate high column densities of many heavy molecules. If an electronic transition dipole moment of 1 Debye is assumed, the observed equivalent widths translate to column densities from 5 × 1011 cm-2 to 3 × 1015 cm-2. It seems impossible that these large molecules are formed from chemical reactions in space from small molecules. It is more likely that they are fragments of aggregates, perhaps mixed aromatic/aliphatic organic nanoparticles (MAONS). MAONS and their large fragment molecules are stable against photodissociation in the diffuse ISM because the energy of absorbed photons is divided into statistical distributions of vibrational energy and emitted in the infrared rather than breaking a chemical bond. We use a simple Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus theory to estimate the molecular size required for the stabilization. Snow, T. P. & McCall, B. J. 2006, ARA&A, 44 367 Hobbs, L. M., York, D. G., Snow, T. P., Oka, T., Thorburn, J. A., et al. 2008, ApJ, 680 1256 Hobbs, L. M., York, D. G., Thorburn, J. A., Snow, T. P., Bishof, M., et al. 2009, ApJ, 705 32 Kwok, S. & Zhang, S. 2013, ApJ, 771 5 Freed, K. F., Oka, T., & Suzuki, H

  14. An upper limit to the interstellar abundance of the HCN dimer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Storey, J. W. V.; Cheung, A. C.

    1978-01-01

    An unsuccessful search is described for the J = 7-6 transition of HCN ... HCN in several interstellar clouds known to be rich in HCN. An upper limit to the abundance of the dimer relative to the monomer is typically 1 percent. It is suggested that this implies a low abundance for similar weakly bound species.

  15. Dynamical evolution and molecular abundances of interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prasad, Sheo S.; Heere, Karen R.; Tarafdar, Shankar P.

    1991-01-01

    Dynamical models are presented that start with interstellar gas in an initial diffuse state and consider their gravitational collapse and the formation of dense cores. Frozen-in tangled magnetic fields are included to mimic forces that might oppose gravitational contraction and whose effectiveness may increase with increasing core densities. Results suggest the possibility that dense cloud cores may be dynamically evolving ephemeral objects, such that their lifespan at a given core density decreases as that density increases.

  16. PAHs molecules and heating of the interstellar gas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Verstraete, Laurent; Leger, Alain; Dhendecourt, Louis B.; Dutuit, O.; Defourneau, D.

    1989-01-01

    Until now it has remained difficult to account for the rather high temperatures seen in many diffuse interstellar clouds. Various heating mechanisms have been considered: photoionization of minor species, ionization of H by cosmic rays, and photoelectric effect on small grains. Yet all these processes are either too weak or efficient under too restricting conditions to balance the observed cooling rates. A major heat source is thus still missing in the thermal balance of the diffuse gas. Using photoionization cross sections measured in the lab, it was shown that in order to balance the observed cooling rates in cold diffuse clouds (T approx. 80 K) the PAHs would have to contain 15 percent of the cosmic abundance of carbon. This value does not contradict the former estimation of 6 percent deduced from the IR emission bands since this latter is to be taken as a lower limit. Further, it was estimated that the contribution to the heating rate due to PAH's in a warm HI cloud, assuming the same PAH abundance as for a cold HI cloud, would represent a significant fraction of the value required to keep the medium in thermal balance. Thus, photoionization of PAHs might well be a major heat source for the cold and warm HI media.

  17. Observations of large biologically important interstellar and cometary molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Remijan, Anthony John

    There has been much interest in recent years in astronomical searches for large biologically-important molecules which possess known millimeter wavelength transitions. Biologically-important species include amino acids, possible precursors to amino acids, and other biologically interesting molecules. This thesis continued the search for large biomolecules towards hot molecular cores (HMCs) associated with ultracompact (HC) HII regions and comets. First, we followed up the detection of acetic acid (CH3COOH) towards Sgr B2(N-LMH) by performing a survey of transitions with large line strengths toward several hot core regions. There has been great interest in searching a variety of star forming regions for interstellar acetic acid because it shares common structural elements with glycine (NH2CH2 COOH), the simplest amino acid, and because it is an isomer to both methyl formate (HCOOCH3) and glycolaldehyde (CH2OHCHO). In our survey we detected two new sources of acetic acid and placed constraints on the detectability of acetic acid elsewhere with current generation radio telescopes. Second, in order to study the physical conditions that lead to the formation of large biomolecules toward HMCs, we observed the hot core regions W51 e1 and e2 using the symmetric top species methyl cyanide (CH3CN). Symmetric tops have properties that make them ideal probes of hot molecular cores. Thus, we obtained better measurements of the physical conditions present in these regions and a better understanding of the chemistry that forms large molecular species. Third, using multiply degenerate transitions in both the 3 mm and 1 mm wavelength regions, we conducted the most extensive survey for the elusive biomolecule urea [(NH2)2CO] toward the high mass hot molecular core sources, Sgr B2(N-LMH) and W51 e2. As a result, our spectral line data support the first detection of interstellar urea toward Sgr B2(N-LMH). Finally, we discuss the observational results of an extensive survey for

  18. Probing model interstellar grain surfaces with small molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collings, M. P.; Frankland, V. L.; Lasne, J.; Marchione, D.; Rosu-Finsen, A.; McCoustra, M. R. S.

    2015-05-01

    Temperature-programmed desorption and reflection-absorption infrared spectroscopy have been used to explore the interaction of oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2), carbon monoxide (CO) and water (H2O) with an amorphous silica film as a demonstration of the detailed characterization of the silicate surfaces that might be present in the interstellar medium. The simple diatomic adsorbates are found to wet the silica surface and exhibit first-order desorption kinetics in the regime up to monolayer coverage. Beyond that, they exhibit zero-order kinetics as might be expected for sublimation of bulk solids. Water, in contrast, does not wet the silica surface and exhibits zero-order desorption kinetics at all coverages consistent with the formation of an islanded structure. Kinetic parameters for use in astrophysical modelling were obtained by inversion of the experimental data at sub-monolayer coverages and by comparison with models in the multilayer regime. Spectroscopic studies in the sub-monolayer regime show that the C-O stretching mode is at around 2137 cm-1 (5.43 μm), a position consistent with a linear surface-CO interaction, and is inhomogenously broadened as resulting from the heterogeneity of the surface. These studies also reveal, for the first time, direct evidence for the thermal activation of diffusion, and hence de-wetting, of H2O on the silica surface. Astrophysical implications of these findings could account for a part of the missing oxygen budget in dense interstellar clouds, and suggest that studies of the sub-monolayer adsorption of these simple molecules might be a useful probe of surface chemistry on more complex silicate materials.

  19. A search for interstellar CH3D: Limits to the methane abundance in Orion-KL

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Womack, Maria; Ziurys, L. M.; Apponi, A. J.

    1995-01-01

    A search has been performed for interstellar CH3D via its J(K) = 1(0) - 0(0) transition at 230 GHz and its J(K) = 2(0) - l(0) and J(K) = 2(1) - 1(1) lines at 465 GHz using the NRAO 12 m and CSO 10 m telescopes towards Orion-KL. This search was done in conjunction with laboratory measurements of all three transitions of CH3D using mm/sub-mm direct absorption spectroscopy. The molecule was not detected down to a 3 sigma level of T(A) less than 0.05 K towards Orion, which suggests an upper limit to the CH3D column density of N less than 6 x 10(exp 18)/sq cm in the hot core region and a fractional abundance (with respect to H2) of less than 6 x 10(exp -6). These measurements suggest that the methane abundance in the Orion hot core is f less than 6 x 10-4, assuming D/H approximately 0.01. Such findings are in agreement with recent hot core chemical models, which suggest CH4/H2 approximately 10(exp -4).

  20. Observing Organic Molecules in Interstellar Gases: Non Equilibrium Excitation.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wiesenfeld, Laurent; Faure, Alexandre; Remijan, Anthony; Szalewicz, Krzysztof

    2014-06-01

    In order to observe quantitatively organic molecules in interstellar gas, it is necessary to understand the relative importance of photonic and collisional excitations. In order to do so, collisional excitation transfer rates have to be computed. We undertook several such studies, in particular for H_2CO and HCOOCH_3. Both species are observed in many astrochemical environments, including star-forming regions. We found that those two molecules behave in their low-lying rotational levels in an opposite way. For cis methyl-formate, a non-equilibrium radiative transfer treatment of rotational lines is performed, using a new set of theoretical collisional rate coefficients. These coefficients have been computed in the temperature range 5 to 30 K by combining coupled-channel scattering calculations with a high accuracy potential energy surface for HCOOCH_3 -- He. The results are compared to observations toward the Sagittarius B2(N) molecular cloud. A total of 2080 low-lying transitions of methyl formate, with upper levels below 25 K, were treated. These lines are found to probe a cold (30 K), moderately dense (n ˜ 104 cm-3) interstellar gas. In addition, our calculations indicate that all detected emission lines with a frequency below 30 GHz are collisionally pumped weak masers amplifying the background of Sgr B2(N). This result demonstrates the generality of the inversion mechanism for the low-lying transitions of methyl formate. For formaldehyde, we performed a similar non-equilibrium treatment, with H_2 as the collisional partner, thanks to the accurate H_2CO - H_2 potential energy surface . We found very different energy transfer rates for collisions with para-H_2 (J=0) and ortho-H_2 (J=1). The well-known absorption against the cosmological background of the 111→ 101 line is shown to depend critically on the difference of behaviour between para and ortho-H_2, for a wide range of H_2 density. We thank the CNRS-PCMI French national program for continuous support

  1. Hydrocarbon analogs of cosmic dust to trace the solid carbon abundance in the interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gadallah, Kamel A. K.

    2015-01-01

    The spectral changes of hydrogenated amorphous carbon (HAC) could show variable distributions of solid carbon abundance in the interstellar medium (ISM). The variable optical properties of HAC analogs, produced by the laser ablation in a high vacuum, depends on the variation in its atomic and electronic structures. The fraction of hydrogen atoms in HAC increases proportionally with the laser's power. The available solid carbon tied up in the interstellar HAC, being the carrier of the interstellar 3.4 μ m and 4.6 μ m-1 bands, is indicated by the strength of these bands. Comparing the strength of these bands with those of laboratory data indicates that the amount of carbon in HAC analogs is not inherently sufficient. The lack in the solid carbon (locked solid carbon) in these analogs can be analytically estimated to facilitate the simulation of cosmic carbon dust. The results show a reduction in the locked solid carbon when the fraction of hydrogen atoms in HAC analogs increases. When this fraction becomes approximately 0.52 relative to the total number of hydrogen and carbon atoms, there is no lack of carbon in HAC analogs. The interstellar distribution of variable solid carbon abundance is attributed to the modification of cosmic HAC, which occurs as a result of the variation in its hydrogen atom fraction and the UV processing taking place in the interstellar environments. This distribution reveals more solid carbon abundances reside in the dust phase and may assist in resolving the carbon crisis.

  2. A reanalysis of the HCO+/HOC+ abundance ratio in dense interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Jarrold, M F; Bowers, M T; DeFrees, D J; McLean, A D; Herbst, E

    1986-04-01

    New theoretical and experimental results have prompted a reinvestigation of the HCO+/HOC+ abundance ratio in dense interstellar clouds. These results pertain principally but not exclusively to the reaction between HOC+ and H2, which was previously calculated by DeFrees, McLean, and Herbst to possess a large activation energy barrier. New calculations, reported here, indicate that this activation energy barrier is quite small and may well be zero. In addition, experimental results at higher energy and temperature indicate strongly that the reaction proceeds efficiently at interstellar temperatures. If HOC+ does indeed react efficiently with H2 in interstellar clouds, the calculated HCO+/HOC+ abundance ratio rises to substantially greater value under standard dense cloud conditions than in deduced via the tentative observation of HOC+ in Sgr B2.

  3. Low-energy electron-induced chemistry of condensed methanol: implications for the interstellar synthesis of prebiotic molecules.

    PubMed

    Boamah, Mavis D; Sullivan, Kristal K; Shulenberger, Katie E; Soe, ChanMyae M; Jacob, Lisa M; Yhee, Farrah C; Atkinson, Karen E; Boyer, Michael C; Haines, David R; Arumainayagam, Christopher R

    2014-01-01

    In the interstellar medium, UV photolysis of condensed methanol (CH3OH), contained in ice mantles surrounding dust grains, is thought to be the mechanism that drives the formation of "complex" molecules, such as methyl formate (HCOOCH3), dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3), acetic acid (CH3COOH), and glycolaldehyde (HOCH2CHO). The source of this reaction-initiating UV light is assumed to be local because externally sourced UV radiation cannot penetrate the ice-containing dark, dense molecular clouds. Specifically, exceedingly penetrative high-energy cosmic rays generate secondary electrons within the clouds through molecular ionizations. Hydrogen molecules, present within these dense molecular clouds, are excited in collisions with these secondary electrons. It is the UV light, emitted by these electronically excited hydrogen molecules, that is generally thought to photoprocess interstellar icy grain mantles to generate "complex" molecules. In addition to producing UV light, the large numbers of low-energy (< 20 eV) secondary electrons, produced by cosmic rays, can also directly initiate radiolysis reactions in the condensed phase. The goal of our studies is to understand the low-energy, electron-induced processes that occur when high-energy cosmic rays interact with interstellar ices, in which methanol, a precursor of several prebiotic species, is the most abundant organic species. Using post-irradiation temperature-programmed desorption, we have investigated the radiolysis initiated by low-energy (7 eV and 20 eV) electrons in condensed methanol at - 85 K under ultrahigh vacuum (5 x 10(-10) Torr) conditions. We have identified eleven electron-induced methanol radiolysis products, which include many that have been previously identified as being formed by methanol UV photolysis in the interstellar medium. These experimental results suggest that low-energy, electron-induced condensed phase reactions may contribute to the interstellar synthesis of "complex" molecules previously

  4. INTERSTELLAR ICES AS WITNESSES OF STAR FORMATION: SELECTIVE DEUTERATION OF WATER AND ORGANIC MOLECULES UNVEILED

    SciTech Connect

    Cazaux, S.; Spaans, M.; Caselli, P.

    2011-11-10

    Observations of star-forming environments revealed that the abundances of some deuterated interstellar molecules are markedly larger than the cosmic D/H ratio of 10{sup -5}. Possible reasons for this pointed to grain surface chemistry. However, organic molecules and water, which are both ice constituents, do not enjoy the same deuteration. For example, deuterated formaldehyde is very abundant in comets and star-forming regions, while deuterated water rarely is. In this paper, we explain this selective deuteration by following the formation of ices (using the rate equation method) in translucent clouds, as well as their evolution as the cloud collapses to form a star. Ices start with the deposition of gas-phase CO and O onto dust grains. While reaction of oxygen with atoms (H or D) or molecules (H{sub 2}) yields H{sub 2}O (HDO), CO only reacts with atoms (H and D) to form H{sub 2}CO (HDCO, D{sub 2}CO). As a result, the deuteration of formaldehyde is sensitive to the gas D/H ratio as the cloud undergoes gravitational collapse, while the deuteration of water strongly depends on the dust temperature at the time of ice formation. These results reproduce well the deuterium fractionation of formaldehyde observed in comets and star-forming regions and can explain the wide spread of deuterium fractionation of water observed in these environments.

  5. Interstellar CH, CH+ and abundance of atomic species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gnacinski, P.; Krogulec, M.; Krelowski, J.

    2007-12-01

    The CH molecule is the only one molecule from the visual spectral range observed in two ionisation stages. The production of CH+ is commonly assigned to shock fronts, since the reaction C+ + H2 -> CH+ + H is endothermic. Moreover a velocity difference between the CH and CH+ spectral lines is often observed. We compare the CH/CH+ column densities with that of neutral and ionised atoms. The CH column density correlates better with neutral atoms, while column density of CH+ correlates better with ionised ones.

  6. A new weapon for the interstellar complex organic molecule hunt: the minimum energy principle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lattelais, M.; Pauzat, F.; Ellinger, Y.; Ceccarelli, C.

    2010-09-01

    Context. The hunt for the interstellar complex organic molecules (COMs) supposed to be the building blocks of the molecules at the origin of life is a challenging but very expensive task. It starts with laboratory experiments, associated with theoretical calculations, that give the line frequencies and strengths of the relevant molecules to be identified and finishes with observations at the telescopes. Aims: The present study aims to suggest possible guidelines to optimize this hunt. Levering on the minimum energy principle (MEP) presented in a previous study, we discuss the link between thermodynamic stability and detectability of a number of structures in the important families of amides, sugars and aminonitriles. Methods: The question of the relative stability of these different species is addressed by means of quantum density functional theory simulations. The hybrid B3LYP formalism was used throughout. All 72 molecules part of this survey were treated on an equal footing. Each structure, fully optimized, was verified to be a stationary point by vibrational analysis. Results: A comprehensive screening of 72 isomers of CH3NO, C2H5NO, C3H7NO, C2H4O2, C3H6O3 and C2H4N2 chemical formula has been carried out. We found that formamide, acetamide and propanamide (the first two identified in the Inter-Stellar Medium) are the most stable compounds in their families demonstrating at the same time that the peptide bond >N-C=O at the origin of life is the most stable bond that can be formed. Dihydroxyacetone, whose detection awaits for confirmation, is far from being the most stable isomer of its family while aminoacetonitrile, that has been recently identified, is effectively the most stable species. Conclusions: The MEP appears to be a useful tool for optimizing the hunt for new species by identifying the potentially more abundant isomers of a given chemical formula.

  7. The Ne-to-O abundance ratio of the interstellar medium from IBEX-Lo observations

    SciTech Connect

    Park, J.; Kucharek, H.; Möbius, E.; Leonard, T.; Bzowski, M.; Sokół, J. M.; Kubiak, M. A.; Fuselier, S. A.; McComas, D. J.

    2014-11-01

    In this paper we report on a two-year study to estimate the Ne/O abundance ratio in the gas phase of the local interstellar cloud (LIC). Based on the first two years of observations with the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, we determined the fluxes of interstellar neutral (ISN) O and Ne atoms at the Earth's orbit in spring 2009 and 2010. A temporal variation of the Ne/O abundance ratio at the Earth's orbit could be expected due to solar cycle-related effects such as changes of ionization. However, this study shows that there is no significant change in the Ne/O ratio at the Earths orbit from 2009 to 2010. We used time-dependent survival probabilities of the ISNs to calculate the Ne/O abundance ratio at the termination shock. Then we estimated the Ne/O abundance ratio in the gas phase of the LIC with the use of filtration factors and the ionization fractions. From our analysis, the Ne/O abundance ratio in the LIC is 0.33 ± 0.07, which is in agreement with the abundance ratio inferred from pickup-ion measurements.

  8. Interstellar Chemistry Gets More Complex With New Charged-Molecule Discovery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2007-07-01

    knock an electron off a molecule, creating a positively-charged ion. Astronomers had thought that molecules would not be able to retain an extra electron, and thus a negative charge, in interstellar space for a significant time. "That obviously is not the case," said Mike McCarthy of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "Anions are surprisingly abundant in these regions." Remijan and his colleagues found the octatetraynyl anions in the envelope of the evolved giant star IRC +10 216, about 550 light-years from Earth in the constellation Leo. They found radio waves emitted at specific frequencies characteristic of the charged molecule by searching archival data from the GBT, the largest fully-steerable radio telescope in the world. Another team from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) found the same characteristic emission when they observed a cold cloud of molecular gas called TMC-1 in the constellation Taurus. These observations also were done with the GBT. In both cases, preceding laboratory experiments by the CfA team showed which radio frequencies actually are emitted by the molecule, and thus told the astronomers what to look for. "It is essential that likely interstellar molecule candidates are first studied in laboratory experiments so that the radio frequencies they can emit are known in advance of an astronomical observation," said Frank Lovas of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Both teams announced their results in the July 20 edition of the Astrophysical Journal Letters. "With three negatively-charged molecules now found in a short period of time, and in very different environments, it appears that many more probably exist. We believe that we can discover more new species using very sensitive and advanced radio telescopes such as the GBT, once they have been characterized in the laboratory," said Sandra Bruenken of the CfA. "Further detailed studies of anions, including astronomical observations

  9. Ubiquitous interstellar diamond and SiC in primitive chondrites - Abundances reflect metamorphism

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huss, Gary R.

    1990-01-01

    It is shown here that interstellar diamond and SiC were incorporated into all groups of chondrite meteorites. Abundances rapidly go to zero with increasing metamorphic grade, suggesting that metamorphic destruction is responsible for the apparent absence of these grains in most chondrites. In unmetamorphosed chondrites, abundances normalized to matrix content are similar for different classes. Diamond samples from chondrites of different classes have remarkably similar noble-gas constants and isotropic compositions, although constituent diamonds may have come from many sources. SiC seems to be more diverse, partly because grains are large enough to measure individually, but average characteristics seem to be similar from meteorite to meteorite. These observations suggest that various classes of chondritic meteorites sample the same solar system-wide reservoir of interstellar grains.

  10. Changes in interstellar atomic abundances from the galactic plane to the halo

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jenkins, E. B.

    1982-01-01

    A few, specially selected interstellar absorption lines were measured in the high resolution, far ultraviolet spectra of 200 O and B type stars observed by the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE). For lines of sight extending beyond about 500 pc from the galactic plane, the abundance of singly ionized iron atoms increases relative to singly ionized sulfur. However, the relative abundances of singly ionized sulfur, silicon and aluminum do not seem to change appreciably. An explanation for the apparent increase of iron is the partial sputtering of material off the surfaces of dust grains by interstellar shocks. Another possibility might be that the ejecta from type I supernovae enrich the low density medium in the halo with iron.

  11. Interstellar gas phase abundance of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, copper, gallium, germanium, and krypton toward Zeta Ophiuchi

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cardelli, Jason A.; Savage, Blair D.; Ebbets, Dennis C.

    1991-01-01

    An analysis of weak (less than 10 mA) UV interstellar absorption line data obtained for the line of sight to the O9.5 IV star Zeta Oph is presented. Measurements of weak semiforbidden lines of N I, O I, Cu II, and a new UV detection of Na I are reported along with a small upper limit for C II. Interstellar detections of Ga II, Ge II, and Kr I are also presented. Ga, Ge, and Kr represent the heaviest elements detected in the ISM. A comparison of the derived column densities to cosmic abundances shows Ga to be depleted by about -1.2 dex while Ge is overabundant by +0.2 dex. Assuming Kr to be undepleted, a logarithmic cosmic abundance of Kr/H = 2.95 is obtained on the scale where H = 12.00.

  12. The Interstellar Abundance of Lead: Experimental Oscillator Strengths for Pb II λ1203 and λ1433 and New Detections of Pb II in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ritchey, Adam Michael; Heidarian, Negar; Irving, Richard E.; Federman, Steven R.; Ellis, David G.; Cheng, Song; Curtis, Larry J.; Furman, W. A.

    2015-08-01

    Accurate gas-phase abundances of ions in the interstellar medium may be obtained through the analysis of interstellar absorption lines, but only if the oscillator strengths (f-values) of the relevant transitions are well known. For dominant ions, comparison of the gas-phase abundance with the appropriate solar reference abundance yields the degree to which the element is incorporated into interstellar dust grains. Singly-ionized lead is the dominant form of this element in the neutral interstellar medium. However, while Pb II has several strong resonance lines in the ultraviolet, the f-values for these transitions are uncertain. Here, we present the first experimentally determined oscillator strengths for the Pb II transitions at 1203.6 Å and 1433.9 Å, obtained from lifetime measurements made using beam-foil techniques. We also present new detections of these lines in the interstellar medium from an analysis of archival spectra acquired by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph onboard the Hubble Space Telescope. Notably, our observations of the Pb II λ1203 line represent the first detection of this transition in interstellar gas. Our experimental f-values for the Pb II λ1203 and λ1433 transitions are consistent with recent theoretical results, including our own relativistic calculations, but are significantly smaller than previous values based on older calculations. For the Pb II λ1433 line, in particular, our new f-value yields an increase in the interstellar abundance of Pb of 0.43 dex over estimates based on the f-value listed by Morton. With our revised f-values, and with our new detections of Pb II λ1203 and λ1433, we find that the depletion of Pb onto interstellar grains is not nearly as severe as previously thought, and is very similar to the depletions seen for elements such as Zn and Sn, which have similar condensation temperatures.

  13. Scientists Discover Two New Interstellar Molecules: Point to Probable Pathways for Chemical Evolution in Space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2004-06-01

    A team of scientists using the National Science Foundation's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) has discovered two new molecules in an interstellar cloud near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. This discovery is the GBT's first detection of new molecules, and is already helping astronomers better understand the complex processes by which large molecules form in space. molecules Diagram of the 10-atom molecule propanal and the 8-atom molecule propenal.. CREDIT: NRAO/AUI/NSF The 8-atom molecule propenal and the 10-atom molecule propanal were detected in a large cloud of gas and dust some 26,000 light-years away in an area known as Sagittarius B2. Such clouds, often many light-years across, are the raw material from which new stars are formed. "Though very rarefied by Earth standards, these interstellar clouds are the sites of complex chemical reactions that occur over hundreds-of-thousands or millions of years," said Jan M. Hollis of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Over time, more and more complex molecules can be formed in these clouds. At present, however, there is no accepted theory addressing how interstellar molecules containing more than 5 atoms are formed." So far, about 130 different molecules have been discovered in interstellar clouds. Most of these molecules contain a small number of atoms, and only a few molecules with eight or more atoms have been found in interstellar clouds. Each time a new molecule is discovered, it helps to constrain the formation chemistry and the nature of interstellar dust grains, which are believed to be the formation sites of most complex interstellar molecules. Hollis collaborated with Anthony Remijan, also of NASA Goddard; Frank J. Lovas of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md.; Harald Mollendal of the University of Oslo, Norway; and Philip R. Jewell of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, W.Va. Their results were accepted for

  14. Calculations concerning the HCO+/HOC+ abundance ratio in dense interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    DeFrees, D J; McLean, A D; Herbst, E

    1984-04-01

    Calculations have been performed to determine the rate coefficients of several reactions involved in both the formation and depletion of interstellar HCO+ and HOC+. The abundance of HOC+ deduced from these calculations is consistent with the tentative identification of HOC+ in Sgr B2 by Woods et al. The large HCO+/HOC+ abundance ratio observed by Woods et al. is due at least in part to a more rapid formation rate for HCO+ and probably due as well as to a more rapid depletion rate for HOC+.

  15. Laboratory simulation of interstellar grain chemistry and the production of complex organic molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allamandola, L. J.; Sandford, S. A.; Valero, G. J.

    1990-01-01

    During the past 15 years considerable progress in observational techniques has been achieved in the middle infrared (5000 to 500 cm(-1), 2 to 20 microns m), the spectral region most diagnostic of molecular vibrations. Spectra of many different astronomical infrared sources, some deeply embedded in dark molecular clouds, are now available. These spectra provide a powerful probe, not only for the identification of interstellar molecules in both the gas solid phases, but also of the physical and chemical conditions which prevail in these two very different domains. By comparing these astronomical spectra with the spectra of laboratory ices one can determine the composition and abundance of the icy materials frozen on the cold (10K) dust grains present in the interior of molecular clouds. These grains and their ice mantles may well be the building blocks from which comets are made. As an illustration of the processes which can take place as an ice is irradiated and subsequently warmed, researchers present the infrared spectra of the mixture H2O:CH3OH:CO:NH3:C6H14 (100:50:10:10:10). Apart from the last species, the ratio of these compounds is representative of the simplest ices found in interstellar clouds. The last component was incorporated into this particular experiment as a tracer of the behavior of a non-aromatic hydrocarbon. The change in the composition that results from ultraviolet photolysis of this ice mixture using a UV lamp to simulate the interstellar radiation field is shown. Photolysis produces CO, CO2, CH4, HCO, H2CO, as well as a family of moderately volatile hydrocarbons. Less volatile carbonaceous materials are also produced. The evolution of the infrared spectrum of the ice as the sample is warmed up to room temperature is illustrated. Researchers believe that the changes are similar to those which occur as ice is ejected from a comet and warmed up by solar radiation. The warm-up sequence shows that the nitrile or iso-nitrile bearing compound

  16. Differential adsorption of complex organic molecules isomers at interstellar ice surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lattelais, M.; Bertin, M.; Mokrane, H.; Romanzin, C.; Michaut, X.; Jeseck, P.; Fillion, J.-H.; Chaabouni, H.; Congiu, E.; Dulieu, F.; Baouche, S.; Lemaire, J.-L.; Pauzat, , F.; Pilmé, J.; Minot, C.; Ellinger, Y.

    2011-08-01

    Context. Over 20 of the ~150 different species detected in the interstellar and circumstellar media have also been identified in icy environments. For most of the species observed so far in the interstellar medium (ISM), the most abundant isomer of a given generic chemical formula is the most stable one (minimum energy principle - MEP) with few exceptions such as, for example, CH3COOH/HCOOCH3 and CH3CH2OH/CH3OCH3, whose formation is thought to occur on the icy mantles of interstellar grains. Aims: We investigate whether differences found in the compositions of molecular ices and the surrounding gas phase could originate from differences between the adsorption of one isomer from that of another at the ice surface. Methods: We performed a coherent and concerted theoretical/experimental study of the adsorption energies of the four molecules mentioned above, i.e. acetic acid (AA)/methyl formate (MF) and ethanol (EtOH)/dimethyl ether (DME) on the surface of water ice at low temperature. The question was first addressed theoretically at LCT using solid state periodic density functional theory (DFT) to represent the organized solid support. The experimental determination of the ice/molecule interaction energies was then carried out independently by two teams at LPMAA and LERMA/LAMAp using temperature programmed desorption (TPD) under an ultra-high vacuum (UHV) between 70 and 160 K. Results: For each pair of isomers, theory and experiments both agree that the most stable isomer (AA or EtOH) interacts more efficiently with the water ice than the higher energy isomer (MF or DME). This differential adsorption can be clearly seen in the different desorption temperatures of the isomers. It is not related to their intrinsic stability but instead to both AA and EtOH producing more and stronger hydrogen bonds with the ice surface. Conclusions: We show that hydrogen bonding may play an important role in the release of organic species from grains and propose that, depending on the

  17. C2 and Diffuse Interstellar Bands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaźmierczak, M.; Schmidt, M.; Weselak, T.; Galazutdinov, G.; Krełowski, J.

    2014-02-01

    C2, the simplest multicarbon molecule is a useful astronomical tool, because the analysis of its lines allows to determine the physical conditions in interstellar clouds. C2 abundances give information about the chemistry of interstellar clouds, especially on the pathway to the formation of long-chain carbon molecules, which may be connected with carriers of diffuse interstellar bands (Douglas 1977, Thorburn et al. 2003). Here we summarize all relations between C2 and diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs).

  18. The elemental abundance ratios of interstellar secondary and primary cosmic rays

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brown, J. W.; Stone, E. C.; Vogt, R. E.

    1974-01-01

    We report new observations of abundances in the charge range (Z) between 2 and 10, which were obtained with a dE/dx-Cerenkov detector launched into a polar orbit on OGO-6 as part of the Caltech Solar and Galactic Cosmic Ray Experiment. Integral rigidity spectra of all the elements observed have shapes similar to that of the helium spectrum in the rigidity range of 2 to 14 GV, approaching a power law with exponent -1.6 above 8 GV. Calculations of interstellar propagation assuming a steady-state model and including the presence of interstellar helium and the effects of solar modulation predict a variation with rigidity of ratios such as Be-O and B/O, which is not observed. The data can be explained by assuming a rigidity-dependent confinement of cosmic rays within the Galaxy.

  19. The Laboratory Production of Complex Organic Molecules in Simulated Interstellar Ices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dworkin, J. P.; Sandford, S. A.; Bernstein, M. P.; Allamandola, L. J.

    2002-01-01

    Much of the volatiles in interstellar dense clouds exist in ices surrounding dust grains. Their low temperatures preclude most chemical reactions, but ionizing radiation can drive reactions that produce a suite of new species, many of which are complex organics. The Astrochemistry Lab at NASA Ames studies the UV radiation processing of interstellar ice analogs to better identify the resulting products and establish links between interstellar chemistry, the organics in meteorites, and the origin of life on Earth. Once identified, the spectral properties of the products can be quantified to assist with the search for these species in space. Of particular interest are findings that UV irradiation of interstellar ice analogs produces molecules of importance in current living organisms, including quinones, amphiphiles, and amino acids.

  20. Laboratory Experiments on the Reactions of PAH Cations with Molecules and Atoms of Interstellar Interest

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    LePage, V.; Lee, H. S.; Bierbaum, V. M.; Snow, T. P.

    1996-01-01

    The C10H8(+) cation and its dehydrogenated derivatives, C10H7(+) and C10H6(+), have been studied using a selected ion flow tube (SIFT). Reactions with molecules and atoms of interstellar interest show that C10H8(+) reacts with N md O to give neutral products HCN and CO, respectively. C10H6(+) and C10H6(+) are moderately reactive and reactions proceed through association with molecules. The implications of these results for the depletion of C10H(n)(+) in the interstellar medium are briefly discussed.

  1. A survey of interstellar neutral potassium. I - Abundances and physical conditions in clouds toward 188 early-type stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chaffee, F. H., Jr.; White, R. E.

    1982-01-01

    Observations of interstellar absorption in the resonance doublet 7664, 7698 A of neutral potassium toward 188 early-type stars at a spectral resolution of 8 km/s are reported. The 7664 A line is successfully separated from nearly coincident telluric O2 absorption for all but a few of the 165 stars for which K I absorption is detected, making possible an abundance analysis by the doublet ratio method. The relationships between the potassium abundances and other atomic abundances, the abundance of molecular hydrogen, and interstellar reddening are investigated.

  2. Boundary conditions for the paleoenvironment: Chemical and physical processes in the pre-solar nebula. [molecular clouds, interstellar matter, and abundance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, W. M.; Schloerb, F. P.

    1985-01-01

    Two additional hyperfine components of the interstellar radical C3H were detected. In addition, methanol was discovered in interstellar clouds. The abundance of HCCN and various chemical isomers in molecular clouds was investigated.

  3. Formation of Prebiotic Molecules in Interstellar and Cometary Ices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bernstein, Max P.; Sandford, Scott A.; Allamandola, Louis J.; Dworkin, Jason; Gilette, J. Seb; Zare, Richard N.; DeVincenzi, D. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    We report here on our lab studies of ice photochemistry of large organic molecules under cometary conditions. We focus on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), their photoproducts, and their similarities to molecules seen in living systems today. We note that these kinds of compounds are seen in meteorites and we propose an explanation for both their formation and their observed deuterium enrichments.

  4. Discovering CO and other Interstellar Molecules with the NRAO 36 Foot Antenna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, R. W.

    2008-08-01

    Bell Labs was an early developer of millimeter-wave technology. In the 60's there was a big push to develop a millimeter wave long-distance communications system to do what ultimately fiber optics has accomplished. As part of this system, Charles Burrus at Crawford Hill developed millimeter-wave receivers by making Schottky-barrier diodes using modern photolithography. Arno Penzias and I recognized that these had a potential use in radio astronomy and with Ken Kellermann proposed to build a receiver with them for use on the then-new 36 foot antenna. Unfortunately this attempt was premature and not successful. In 1970 Arno, Keith Jefferts, and I---with much help from Sandy Weinreb---put together a spectral-line receiver. This was done with the hope of detecting rotational transitions of simple molecules in interstellar space. Since, at the time, only a few people (like Phil Solomon) had any idea that molecular clouds existed, we prepared to detect a weak signal. Our backup strategy, suggested by Pat Thaddeus, was to look for CN, which had been known to exist since the late 1930s. If neither line had been detected, we would have observed the H38α recombination line which is close in frequency to the CO J=1-0 line. As we all know now, however, the signal from carbon monoxide (and even its less abundant isotopes) was remarkably strong. Such measurements have since transformed our ideas of star formation.

  5. Abundance patterns in the interstellar medium of early-type galaxies observed with Suzaku

    SciTech Connect

    Konami, Saori; Matsushita, Kyoko; Tamagawa, Toru; Nagino, Ryo

    2014-03-01

    We have analyzed 17 early-type galaxies, 13 ellipticals and 4 S0 galaxies, observed with Suzaku, and investigated metal abundances (O, Mg, Si, and Fe) and abundance ratios (O/Fe, Mg/Fe, and Si/Fe) in the interstellar medium (ISM). The emission from each on-source region, which is four times the effective radius, r {sub e}, is reproduced with one-temperature (1T) or two-temperature (2T) thermal plasma models as well as a multi-temperature model, using APEC plasma code version 2.0.1. The multi-temperature model gave almost the same abundances and abundance ratios with the 1T or 2T models. The weighted averages of the O, Mg, Si, and Fe abundances of all the sample galaxies derived from the multi-temperature model fits are 0.83 ± 0.04, 0.93 ± 0.03, 0.80 ± 0.02, and 0.80 ± 0.02 solar, respectively, in solar units according to the solar abundance table by Lodders in 2003. These abundances show no significant dependence on the morphology and environment. The systematic differences in the derived metal abundances between versions 2.0.1 and 1.3.1 of the APEC plasma codes were investigated. The derived O and Mg abundances in the ISM agree with the stellar metallicity within an aperture with a radius of one r {sub e} derived from optical spectroscopy. From these results, we discuss the past and present Type Ia supernova rates and star formation histories in early-type galaxies.

  6. The abundance of interstellar oxygen toward Orion: Evidence for recent infall?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meyer, David M.; Jura, M.; Hawkins, Isabel; Cardelli, Jason A.

    1994-01-01

    We present high S/N (greater than 800) Goddard High-Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS) observations of the weak interstellar O I lambda 1356 absorption in the low-density sight lines toward iota Ori and kappa Ori. By comparing these data with observations toward more reddened stars, we find no evidence of density-dependent depletion from the gas phase for oxygen. The derived total oxygen abundance (gas plus grains) towards iota Ori and kappa Ori is consistent with stellar and nebular determinations in Orion at a level that is one-half the solar value. We speculate that the O/H abundance ratio is lower in Orion compared to the Sun because the local Milky Way has suffered a recent infall of metal-poor material, perhaps from the Magellanic Stream.

  7. Molecules in interstellar clouds. [physical and chemical conditions of star formation and biological evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, W. M.; Hjalmarson, A.; Rydbeck, O. E. H.

    1981-01-01

    The physical conditions and chemical compositions of the gas in interstellar clouds are reviewed in light of the importance of interstellar clouds for star formation and the origin of life. The Orion A region is discussed as an example of a giant molecular cloud where massive stars are being formed, and it is pointed out that conditions in the core of the cloud, with a kinetic temperature of about 75 K and a density of 100,000-1,000,000 molecules/cu cm, may support gas phase ion-molecule chemistry. The Taurus Molecular Clouds are then considered as examples of cold, dark, relatively dense interstellar clouds which may be the birthplaces of solar-type stars and which have been found to contain the heaviest interstellar molecules yet discovered. The molecular species identified in each of these regions are tabulated, including such building blocks of biological monomers as H2O, NH3, H2CO, CO, H2S, CH3CN and H2, and more complex species such as HCOOCH3 and CH3CH2CN.

  8. Interstellar abundances in dense, moderately reddened lines of sight. I - Observational evidence for density-dependent depletion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Joseph, Charles L.; Snow, Theodore P., Jr.; Seab, C. Gregory; Crutcher, Richard M.

    1986-01-01

    The nature of dust-gas interactions, which are capable of modifying the size distribution of interstellar grains and thus causing changes in the selective extinction curve, are investigated through depletion studies. The gaseous abundances of 15 elements have been determined for several lines of sight toward moderately reddened stars, each having an anomalous extinction curve and a large abundance of cyanogen (CN). The basic result of this study is that certain elements appear to deplete preferentially in interstellar clouds having a large abundance of CN. Since CN is a sensitive indicator of the interstellar spatial density, the data might suggest that the unique pattern of enhanced depletion observed here represents the best observational evidence of accretion.

  9. Discovery of the First Interstellar Chiral Molecule: Propylene Oxide

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carroll, Brandon; McGuire, Brett A.; Loomis, Ryan; Finneran, Ian A.; Jewell, Philip; Remijan, Anthony; Blake, Geoffrey

    2016-06-01

    Life on Earth relies on chiral molecules, that is, species not superimposable on their mirror images. This manifests itself as a reliance on a single molecular handedness, or homochirality that is characteristic of life and perhaps most readily apparent in the large enhancement in biological activity of particular amino acid and sugar enantiomers. Yet, the ancestral origin of biological homochirality remains a mystery. The non-racemic ratios in some organics isolated from primitive meteorites hint at a primordial chiral seed but even these samples have experienced substantial processing during planetary assembly, obscuring their complete histories. To determine the underlying origin of any enantiomeric excess, it is critical to understand the molecular gas from which these molecules originated. Here, we present the first extra-solar, astronomical detection of a chiral molecule, propylene oxide (CH_3CHCH_2O), in absorption toward the Galactic Center. With the detection of propylene oxide, we at last have a target for broad-ranging searches for the possible cosmic origin of the homochirality of life.

  10. Galactic interstellar abundance surveys with IUE. II - The equivalent widths and column densities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Van Steenberg, Michael E.; Shull, J. Michael

    1988-01-01

    This paper continues a survey of interstellar densities, abundances, and cloud structure in the Galaxy, using the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite. Equivalent widths of 18 ultraviolet resonance transitions are presented and column densities for Si II, Mn II, Fe II, S II, and Zn II toward 261 early-type stars are derived. These equivalent widths and column densities agree within the stated errors of earlier Copernicus, BUSS, or IUE surveys of Mn II, Fe II, S II, and Zn II for 45 stars in common. The column densities are derived from single-component curves of growth with a common b-value based on that of Fe II and Si II.

  11. H2CS abundances and ortho-to-para ratios in interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Minh, Y C; Irvine, W M; Brewer, M K

    1991-01-01

    Several H2CS ortho and para transitions have been observed toward interstellar molecular clouds, including cold, dark clouds and star-forming regions. We derive H2CS fractional abundances f(H2CS) approximately 1-2 10(-9) relative to molecular hydrogen towards TMC-1, Orion A, and NGC 7538, and approximately 5 10(-10) for L134N. The H2CS ortho-to-para ratios in TMC-1 are approximately 1.8 towards the cyanopolyyne peak and the ammonia peak, which may indicate the thermalization of H2CS on 10 K grains. We derive a ratio of approximately 3, the statistical value, for Orion (3N, 1E) and NGC 7538, while we find a value approximately 2 for Orion (KL).

  12. The abundance of interstellar sulphur and zinc in high density sight-lines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harris, A. W.; Mashesse, J. M.

    1986-01-01

    On the basis of early absorption line studies of individual lines of sight with the Copernicus satellite, chlorine, sulphur and zinc were classed together as elements which showed little or no depletion, relative to hydrogen, in the interstellar medium. The abundances of other less volatile elements, such as Fe and Mg were found to vary widely from one sight-line to another with gas-phase abundances in some cases being orders of magnitude below their solar counterparts. Detailed studies are reported of the depletion/density behavior of two other volatile elements which were previously considered to be virtually undepleted, S and Zn, using equivalent width data from both Copernicus and IUE observations. The results provide further evidence that the established dependence of depletion on n bar (H) extends to volatile elements and show that their use as tracers of metallicity, or for estimating hydrogen column densities, may lead to large errors in sight-lines through dense regions. It now appears that such elements may take part in the surface chemistry of grains and be important constituents of grain mantle material, although they probably do not contribute significantly to the bulk mass of grains. Due to the very similar atomic masses and ionization potentials of sulphur and phosphorous, the thermal velocity distributions of the singly ionized species of these elements in interstellar clouds should be very similar. However, a comparison of Doppler widths (b-values) derived for SIT and PIT in the same sight-lines from the Bohlin et al Copernicus equivalent width measurements has revealed an unexpected systematic discrepancy of a factor of approx. 1.7. This Discrepancy indicates that the normally adopted oscillators strengths of the PII lambda lambda 1153 and 1302 A lines may require revision.

  13. REVISITING THE CHLORINE ABUNDANCE IN DIFFUSE INTERSTELLAR CLOUDS FROM MEASUREMENTS WITH THE COPERNICUS SATELLITE

    SciTech Connect

    Moomey, Daniel; Federman, S. R.; Sheffer, Y. E-mail: ysheffer@astro.umd.edu

    2012-01-10

    We reanalyzed interstellar Cl I and Cl II spectra acquired with the Copernicus satellite. The directions for this study come from those of Crenny and Federman and sample the transition from atomic to molecular-rich clouds where the unique chemistry leading to molecules containing chlorine is initiated. Our profile syntheses relied on up-to-date laboratory oscillator strengths and component structures derived from published high-resolution measurements of K I absorption that were supplemented with Ca II and Na I D results. We obtain self-consistent results for the Cl I lines at 1088, 1097, and 1347 A from which precise column densities are derived. The improved set of results reveals clearer correspondences with H{sub 2} and total hydrogen column densities. These linear relationships arise from rapid conversion of Cl{sup +} to Cl{sup 0} in regions where H{sub 2} is present.

  14. A New Methodology for the Detection of Low-Abundance Species in the Ism: Detection of Interstellar Carbodiimide (HNCNH)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGuire, Brett A.; Loomis, Ryan A.; Charness, Cameron M.; Corby, Joanna F.; Blake, Geoffrey A.; Hollis, Jan M.; Lovas, Frank J.; Jewell, Philip R.; Remijan, Anthony J.

    2013-06-01

    We present the first interstellar detection of carbodiimide (HNCNH) in observations towards Sgr B2(N) using data from the publicly available Green Bank Telescope PRebiotic Interstellar MOlecular Survey project. Recent laboratory work predicts an abundance of HNCNH of ˜10% of the abundance of its tautomer, cyanamide (NH_2CN), or ˜ 2× 10^{13} cm^{-2} in Sgr B2(N). Given this abundance at LTE conditions, the strongest rotational transitions of HNCNH have intensities at or below the noise level of current observations of this source. A thermal population of HNCNH is therefore likely undetectable. Instead, HNCNH is identified via maser emission features at centimeter wavelengths. This detection presents a new methodology for the detection of low-abundance species and further demonstrates the power of cm-wave observations to make definitive identifications based on a small number of observed features.

  15. Mogadoc - a Personal Computer Database for Atmospheric and Interstellar Molecules in Microwave Spectroscopy and Radio Astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vogt, J.

    1992-03-01

    MOGADOC is a comprehensive database for gas-phase molecules, investigated by microwave spectroscopy, radio astronomy and electron diffraction. It contains data on electrical, magnetic, dynamical and spectroscopic properties of inorganic, organic and organometallic compounds in the gas phase. As a special feature the in-house database, which can be run on a personal computer by means of the well known Messenger retrieval language, contains numerical data sets for structural parameters such as internuclear distances and bond angles. Key words: INTERSTELLAR MOLECULES - MOLECULAR PROCESSES - RADIOSOURCES: SPECTRA

  16. Interstellar Alcohols

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Charnley, S. B.; Kress, M. E.; Tielens, A. G. G. M.; Millar, T. J.

    1995-01-01

    We have investigated the gas-phase chemistry in dense cores where ice mantles containing ethanol and other alcohols have been evaporated. Model calculations show that methanol, ethanol, propanol, and butanol drive a chemistry leading to the formation of several large ethers and esters. Of these molecules, methyl ethyl ether (CH3OC2H5) and diethyl ether (C2H5)2O attain the highest abundances and should be present in detectable quantities within cores rich in ethanol and methanol. Gas-phase reactions act to destroy evaporated ethanol and a low observed abundance of gas-phase C,H,OH does not rule out a high solid-phase abundance. Grain surface formation mechanisms and other possible gas-phase reactions driven by alcohols are discussed, as are observing strategies for the detection of these large interstellar molecules.

  17. The contribution of chemical abundances in nova ejecta to the interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Fanger; Zhu, Chunhua; Lü, Guoliang; Wang, Zhaojun

    2016-06-01

    According to the nova model from Yaron et al. (2005, ApJ, 418, 794) and José and Hernanz (1998, ApJ, 494, 680), and using a Monte Carlo simulation method, we investigate the contribution of chemical abundances in nova ejecta to the interstellar medium (ISM) of the Galaxy. We find that the mass ejected from classical novae is about 2.7 × 10-3 M⊙ yr-1. In the nova ejecta, the isotopic ratios of C, N, and O, that is, 13C/12C, 15N/14N, and 17O/16O, are higher by about one order of magnitude than those in red giants. We estimate that about 10%, 5%, and 20% of 13C, 15N, and 17O in the ISM of the Galaxy come from nova ejecta, respectively. However, the chemical abundances of C, N, and O calculated by our model cannot cover all observational values. This means that there is still a long way to go to understand novae.

  18. The Identification of Complex Organic Molecules in the Interstellar Medium: Using Lasers and Matrix Isolation Spectroscopy to Simulate the Interstellar Environment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stone, Bradley M.

    1998-01-01

    The Astrochemistry Group at NASA Ames Research Center is interested in the identification of large organic molecules in the interstellar medium Many smaller organic species (e.g. hydrocarbons, alcohols, etc.) have been previously identified by their radiofrequency signature due to molecular rotations. However, this becomes increasingly difficult to observe as the size of the molecule increases. Our group in interested in the identification of the carriers of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands (absorption features observed throughout the visible and near-infrared in the spectra of stars, due to species in the interstellar medium). Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and related molecules are thought to be good candidates for these carriers. Laboratory experiments am performed at Ames to simulate the interstellar environment, and to compare spectra obtained from molecules in the laboratory to those derived astronomically. We are also interested in PAHs with respect to their possible connection to the UIR (Unidentified infrared) and ERE (Extended Red Emission) bands - emission features found to emanate from particular regions of our galaxy (e.g. Orion nebula, Red Rectangle, etc.). An old, "tried and proven spectroscopic technique, matrix isolation spectroscopy creates molecular conditions ideal for performing laboratory astrophysics.

  19. Gas-phase Reactions of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Anions with Molecules of Interstellar Relevance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demarais, Nicholas J.; Yang, Zhibo; Martinez, Oscar; Wehres, Nadine; Snow, Theodore P.; Bierbaum, Veronica M.

    2012-02-01

    We have studied reactions of small dehydrogenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon anions with neutral species of interstellar relevance. Reaction rate constants are measured at 300 K for the reactions of phenide (C6H- 5), naphthalenide (C10H- 7), and anthracenide (C14H- 9) with atomic H, H2, and D2 using a flowing afterglow-selected ion flow tube instrument. Reaction rate constants of phenide with neutral molecules (CO, O2, CO2, N2O, C2H2, CH3OH, CH3CN, (CH3)2CO, CH3CHO, CH3Cl, and (CH3CH2)2O) are also measured under the same conditions. Experimental measurements are accompanied by ab initio calculations to provide insight into reaction pathways and enthalpies. Our measured reaction rate constants should prove useful in the modeling of astrophysical environments, particularly when applied to dense regions of the interstellar and circumstellar medium.

  20. Search for Interstellar Molecules in Spectra of Three B Stars -- Cycles 1,2,3

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Andrew

    1990-12-01

    The scientfic goal of this program is to check current theoretical understanding of gas phase chemistry in diffuse interstellar clouds and to modify this understanding if necessary. A further goal is to look for evidence of molecule formation other than H2 on interstellar grain surfaces. Signatures of many of the most important molecular species are found in the vaccuum and middle ultraviolet accessible to the HRS. It is proposed to observe HD32656 throughout the HRS wavelength range and HD29647 at a few caroussel settings in the 2.4x104 resolving power mode. These stars are associated with the Taurus Cloud complex. It is also proposed to observe omicron persei in the 105 revolving power mode and combine the new results with those found by observations with the "Copernicus" satellite.

  1. Formation and Destruction Processes of Interstellar Dust: From Organic Molecules to carbonaceous Grains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, F.; Biennier, L.

    2004-01-01

    The study of the formation and destruction processes of cosmic dust is essential to understand and to quantify the budget of extraterrestrial organic molecules. interstellar dust presents a continuous size distribution from large molecules, radicals and ions to nanometer-sized particles to micron-sized grains. The lower end of the dust size distribution is thought to be responsible for the ubiquitous spectral features that are seen in emission in the IR (UIBs) and in absorption in the visible (DIBs). The higher end of the dust-size distribution is thought to be responsible for the continuum emission plateau that is seen in the IR and for the strong absorption seen in the interstellar UV extinction curve. All these spectral signatures are characteristic of cosmic organic materials that are ubiquitous and present in various forms from gas-phase molecules to solid-state grains. Although dust with all its components plays an important role in the evolution of interstellar chemistry and in the formation of organic molecules, little is known on the formation and destruction processes of dust. Recent space observations in the UV (HST) and in the IR (ISO) help place size constraints on the molecular component of carbonaceous IS dust and indicate that small (ie., subnanometer) PAHs cannot contribute significantly to the IS features in the UV and in the IR. Studies of large molecular and nano-sized IS dust analogs formed from PAH precursors have been performed in our laboratory under conditions that simulate diffuse ISM environments (the particles are cold -100 K vibrational energy, isolated in the gas phase and exposed to a high-energy discharge environment in a cold plasma). The species (molecules, molecular fragments, ions, nanoparticles, etc) formed in the pulsed discharge nozzle (PDN) plasma source are detected with a high-sensitivity cavity ring-down spectrometer (CRDS). We will present new experimental results that indicate that nanoparticles are generated in the

  2. Probing the Formation of Complex Organic Molecules in Interstellar Ices - Beyond the FTIR - RGA Limitation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaiser, Ralf I.

    2015-08-01

    An understanding of the formation of key classes of complex organic molecules (COMs) within interstellar ices is of core value to the laboratory astrophysics community with structural isomers - molecules with the same molecular formula but different connectivities of atoms - serving as a molecular clock and tracers in defining the evolutionary stage of cold molecular clouds and star forming regions. Here, the lack of data on products, branching ratios, and rate constants of their formation and how they depend on the ice temperature and composition limits the understanding how COMs are synthesized. Classically, infrared spectroscopy combined with mass spectrometry of the irradiated and subliming ices have been exploited for the last decades, but the usefulness of these methods has reached the limits when it comes to the identification of CMS in those ices. Here, infrared spectroscopy can only untangle the functional groups of COMs; mass spectrometry coupled with electron impact ionization cannot discriminate structural isomers and suffers from extensive fragmentation. This talk presents a novel approach to elucidate the formation of COMs by exploiting - besides classical infrared, Raman, and ultraviolet-visual spectroscopy - reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ReTOF) coupled with tunable vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) soft photoionization (ReTOF-PI). This technique has the unique power to identify the molecules based on a cross correlation of their mass-to-charge ratios, their ionization energies (IE), and their sublimation temperatures ultimately unraveling an inventory of individual COMs molecules formed upon interaction of ionizing radiation with interstellar analog ices.

  3. Interstellar H3+

    PubMed Central

    Oka, Takeshi

    2006-01-01

    Protonated molecular hydrogen, H3+, is the simplest polyatomic molecule. It is the most abundantly produced interstellar molecule, next only to H2, although its steady state concentration is low because of its extremely high chemical reactivity. H3+ is a strong acid (proton donor) and initiates chains of ion-molecule reactions in interstellar space thus leading to formation of complex molecules. Here, I summarize the understandings on this fundamental species in interstellar space obtained from our infrared observations since its discovery in 1996 and discuss the recent observations and analyses of H3+ in the Central Molecular Zone near the Galatic center that led to a revelation of a vast amount of warm and diffuse gas existing in the region. PMID:16894171

  4. Interstellar H(3)(+).

    PubMed

    Oka, Takeshi

    2006-08-15

    Protonated molecular hydrogen, H(3)(+), is the simplest polyatomic molecule. It is the most abundantly produced interstellar molecule, next only to H(2), although its steady state concentration is low because of its extremely high chemical reactivity. H(3)(+) is a strong acid (proton donor) and initiates chains of ion-molecule reactions in interstellar space thus leading to formation of complex molecules. Here, I summarize the understandings on this fundamental species in interstellar space obtained from our infrared observations since its discovery in 1996 and discuss the recent observations and analyses of H(3)(+) in the Central Molecular Zone near the Galatic center that led to a revelation of a vast amount of warm and diffuse gas existing in the region.

  5. A diffuse interstellar cloud explored from within: internal motions, abundance gradients and external interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gry, Cecile; Jenkins, Edward

    2015-08-01

    The local cloud surrounding the Sun turns out to be a great laboratory to explore the details of the warm diffuse medium without the confusion from piling up absorptions from different regions. UV absorption lines observed by HST in the spectra of nearby stars permit us to construct a comprehensive picture of a diffuse interstellar cloud and reveals that it departs from homogeneity in a number of aspects and physical properties:- This local cloud undergoes a deformation related to a compression in the direction of motion and an expansion in perpendicular directions, much like a squashed balloon.- The cloud average HI density varies from 0.03 to 0.1 cm-3. The cloud outer boundary inferred from the average density and column densities is very irregular with an average distance away from the Sun of 9 +/- 7 pc.- The metal abundances decrease steadily from the rear to the head of the cloud, and this phenomenon appears not to be related to ionization effects but rather to changes in the amounts of depletion due to dust formation.- Most of the sight-lines on one hemisphere evidence the presence of gas at a uniform differential velocity of -7 km/s relative to the cloud, which may be the manifestation of a shock progressing toward the cloud interior on one half of the cloud, possibly created by a surge in the thermal pressure in the much lower density medium that surrounds the cloud.

  6. Self-Assembling Amphiphilic Molecules: A Possible Relationship Between Interstellar Chemistry and Meteoritic Organics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandford, Scott A.; Dworkin, Jason P.; Deamer, David W.; Allamandola, Louis J.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Interstellar gas and dust comprise the primary material from which the solar system formed. Evidence that some of this material was organic in nature and survived incorporation into the protosolar nebula is provided by the presence of deuterium-enriched organics in meteorites and interplanetary dust particles. Once the inner planets had sufficiently cooled, late accretionary infall of meteoroids and cosmic dust must have seeded them with some of these complex organic compounds. Delivery of such extraterrestrial compounds may have contributed to the organic inventory necessary for the origin of life. Interstellar ices, the building blocks of comets, tie up a large fraction of the biogenic elements available in molecular clouds. In our efforts to understand their synthesis, chemical composition, and physical properties, we report here that a complex mixture of molecules is produced by ultraviolet (UV) photolysis of realistic, interstellar ice analogs, and that some of the components have properties relevant to the origin of life, including the ability to self-assemble into vesicular structures.

  7. Self-assembling amphiphilic molecules: Synthesis in simulated interstellar/precometary ices.

    PubMed

    Dworkin, J; Deamer, D; Sandford, S; Allamandola, L

    2001-01-30

    Interstellar gas and dust constitute the primary material from which the solar system formed. Near the end of the hot early phase of star and planet formation, volatile, less refractory materials were transported into the inner solar system as comets and interplanetary dust particles. Once the inner planets had sufficiently cooled, late accretionary infall seeded them with complex organic compounds [Oró, J. (1961) Nature (London) 190, 389-390; Delsemme, A. H. (1984) Origins Life 14, 51-60; Anders, E. (1989) Nature (London) 342, 255-257; Chyba, C. F. & Sagan, C. (1992) Nature (London) 355, 125-131]. Delivery of such extraterrestrial compounds may have contributed to the organic inventory necessary for the origin of life. Interstellar ices, the building blocks of comets, tie up a large fraction of the biogenic elements available in molecular clouds. In our efforts to understand their synthesis, chemical composition, and physical properties, we report here that a complex mixture of molecules is produced by UV photolysis of realistic, interstellar ice analogs, and that some of the components have properties relevant to the origin of life, including the ability to self-assemble into vesicular structures.

  8. Self-assembling amphiphilic molecules: Synthesis in simulated interstellar/precometary ices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dworkin, J.; Deamer, D.; Sandford, S.; Allamandola, L.

    2001-01-01

    Interstellar gas and dust constitute the primary material from which the solar system formed. Near the end of the hot early phase of star and planet formation, volatile, less refractory materials were transported into the inner solar system as comets and interplanetary dust particles. Once the inner planets had sufficiently cooled, late accretionary infall seeded them with complex organic compounds [Oro, J. (1961) Nature (London) 190, 389-390; Delsemme, A. H. (1984) Origins Life 14, 51-60; Anders, E. (1989) Nature (London) 342, 255-257; Chyba, C. F. & Sagan, C. (1992) Nature (London) 355, 125-131]. Delivery of such extraterrestrial compounds may have contributed to the organic inventory necessary for the origin of life. Interstellar ices, the building blocks of comets, tie up a large fraction of the biogenic elements available in molecular clouds. In our efforts to understand their synthesis, chemical composition, and physical properties, we report here that a complex mixture of molecules is produced by UV photolysis of realistic, interstellar ice analogs, and that some of the components have properties relevant to the origin of life, including the ability to self-assemble into vesicular structures.

  9. SURVIVAL OF INTERSTELLAR MOLECULES TO PRESTELLAR DENSE CORE COLLAPSE AND EARLY PHASES OF DISK FORMATION

    SciTech Connect

    Hincelin, U.; Wakelam, V.; Hersant, F.; Guilloteau, S.; Commerçon, B.

    2013-09-20

    An outstanding question of astrobiology is the link between the chemical composition of planets, comets, and other solar system bodies and the molecules formed in the interstellar medium. Understanding the chemical and physical evolution of the matter leading to the formation of protoplanetary disks is an important step for this. We provide some new clues to this long-standing problem using three-dimensional chemical simulations of the early phases of disk formation: we interfaced the full gas-grain chemical model Nautilus with the radiation-magnetohydrodynamic model RAMSES, for different configurations and intensities of the magnetic field. Our results show that the chemical content (gas and ices) is globally conserved during the collapsing process, from the parent molecular cloud to the young disk surrounding the first Larson core. A qualitative comparison with cometary composition suggests that comets are constituted of different phases, some molecules being direct tracers of interstellar chemistry, while others, including complex molecules, seem to have been formed in disks, where higher densities and temperatures allow for an active grain surface chemistry. The latter phase, and its connection with the formation of the first Larson core, remains to be modeled.

  10. Complex organic molecules in the interstellar medium: IRAM 30 m line survey of Sagittarius B2(N) and (M)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belloche, A.; Müller, H. S. P.; Menten, K. M.; Schilke, P.; Comito, C.

    2013-11-01

    Context. The discovery of amino acids in meteorites fallen to Earth and the detection of glycine, the simplest of them, in samples returned from a comet to Earth strongly suggest that the chemistry of the interstellar medium is capable of producing such complex organic molecules and that they may be widespread in our Galaxy. Aims: Our goal is to investigate the degree of chemical complexity that can be reached in the interstellar medium, in particular in dense star-forming regions. Methods: We performed an unbiased, spectral line survey toward Sgr B2(N) and (M), two regions where high-mass stars are formed, with the IRAM 30 m telescope in the 3 mm atmospheric transmission window. Partial surveys at 2 and 1.3 mm were performed in parallel. The spectra were analyzed with a simple radiative transfer model that assumes local thermodynamic equilibrium but takes optical depth effects into account. Results: About 3675 and 945 spectral lines with a peak signal-to-noise ratio higher than 4 are detected at 3 mm toward Sgr B2(N) and (M), i.e. about 102 and 26 lines per GHz, respectively. This represents an increase by about a factor of two over previous surveys of Sgr B2. About 70% and 47% of the lines detected toward Sgr B2(N) and (M) are identified and assigned to 56 and 46 distinct molecules as well as to 66 and 54 less abundant isotopologues of these molecules, respectively. In addition, we report the detection of transitions from 59 and 24 catalog entries corresponding to vibrationally or torsionally excited states of some of these molecules, respectively, up to a vibration energy of 1400 cm-1 (2000 K). Excitation temperatures and column densities were derived for each species but should be used with caution. The rotation temperatures of the detected complex molecules typically range from ~50 to 200 K. Among the detected molecules, aminoacetonitrile, n-propyl cyanide, and ethyl formate were reported for the first time in space based on this survey, as were five rare

  11. DIRECT DETERMINATION OF THE HF/H{sub 2} ABUNDANCE RATIO IN INTERSTELLAR GAS

    SciTech Connect

    Indriolo, Nick; Neufeld, D. A.; Seifahrt, A.; Richter, M. J.

    2013-02-20

    We report the first detection of the v = 1-0, R(0) ro-vibrational transition of HF at 2.499385 {mu}m arising from interstellar gas. The line is seen in absorption toward three background sources-HD 154368, Elias 29, and AFGL 2136 IRS 1-all of which have reported H{sub 2} column densities determined from observations of H{sub 2}. This allows for the first direct determination of the HF/H{sub 2} abundance ratio. We find values of N(HF)/N(H{sub 2}) = 1.15 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -8} and 0.69 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -8} for HD 154368 and Elias 29, respectively. The sight line toward AFGL 2136 IRS 1 also shows absorption from the v = 1-0, R(1) transition of HF, indicating warm, dense (n {sub H} {approx}> 10{sup 9} cm{sup -3}) gas, likely very close to the central protostar. Ascribing portions of the HF absorption to warm and cold gas, we find N(HF)/N(H{sub 2}) = (1.7-2.9) Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -8} and (0.33-0.58) Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -8} for the two components, respectively. Except for the warm component toward AFGL 2136 IRS 1, all observed HF/H{sub 2} ratios are well below N(HF)/N(H{sub 2}) = 3.6 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -8}, the value predicted if nearly all gas phase fluorine is in the form of HF. Models of fluorine chemistry that account for depletion onto grains are able to reproduce the results toward HD 154368, but not in the cold, dense gas toward AFGL 2136 IRS 1 and Elias 29. Most likely, some combinations of simplifying assumptions made in the chemical models are responsible for these discrepancies.

  12. Anomalous 13C isotope abundances in C3S and C4H observed toward the cold interstellar cloud, Taurus Molecular Cloud-1.

    PubMed

    Sakai, Nami; Takano, Shuro; Sakai, Takeshi; Shiba, Shoichi; Sumiyoshi, Yoshihiro; Endo, Yasuki; Yamamoto, Satoshi

    2013-10-01

    We have studied the abundances of the (13)C isotopic species of C3S and C4H in the cold molecular cloud, Taurus Molecular Cloud-1 (Cyanopolyyne Peak), by radioastronomical observations of their rotational emission lines. The CCCS/(13)CCCS and CCCS/C(13)CCS ratios are determined to be >206 and 48 ± 15, respectively. The CC(13)CS line is identified with the aid of laboratory microwave spectroscopy, and the range of the CCCS/CC(13)CS ratio is found to be from 30 to 206. The abundances of at least two (13)C isotopic species of C3S are thus found to be different. Similarly, it is found that the abundances of the four (13)C isotopic species of C4H are not equivalent. The CCCCH/(13)CCCCH, CCCCH/C(13)CCCH, CCCCH/CC(13)CCH, and CCCCH/CCC(13)CH ratios are evaluated to be 141 ± 44, 97 ± 27, 82 ± 15, and 118 ± 23, respectively. Here the errors denote 3 times the standard deviation. These results will constrain the formation pathways of C3S and C4H, if the nonequivalence is caused during the formation processes of these molecules. The exchange reactions after the formation of these two molecules may also contribute to the nonequivalence. In addition, we have confirmed that the (12)C/(13)C ratio of some species are significantly higher than the interstellar elemental (12)C/(13)C ratio of 60-70. The observations of the (13)C isotopic species provide us with rich information on chemical processes in cold interstellar clouds.

  13. THE C({sup 3}P) + NH{sub 3} REACTION IN INTERSTELLAR CHEMISTRY. II. LOW TEMPERATURE RATE CONSTANTS AND MODELING OF NH, NH{sub 2}, AND NH{sub 3} ABUNDANCES IN DENSE INTERSTELLAR CLOUDS

    SciTech Connect

    Hickson, Kevin M.; Loison, Jean-Christophe; Bourgalais, Jérémy; Capron, Michael; Picard, Sébastien D. Le; Goulay, Fabien; Wakelam, Valentine

    2015-10-20

    A continuous supersonic flow reactor has been used to measure rate constants for the C({sup 3}P) + NH{sub 3} reaction over the temperature range 50–296 K. C({sup 3}P) atoms were created by the pulsed laser photolysis of CBr{sub 4}. The kinetics of the title reaction were followed directly by vacuum ultra-violet laser induced fluorescence of C({sup 3}P) loss and through H({sup 2}S) formation. The experiments show unambiguously that the reaction is rapid at 296 K, becoming faster at lower temperatures, reaching a value of (1.8 ± 0.2) × 10{sup −10} cm{sup 3} molecule{sup −1} s{sup −1} at 50 K. As this reaction is not currently included in astrochemical networks, its influence on interstellar nitrogen hydride abundances is tested through a dense cloud model including gas–grain interactions. In particular, the effect of the ortho-to-para ratio of H{sub 2}, which plays a crucial role in interstellar NH{sub 3} synthesis, is examined.

  14. The C(3P) + NH3 Reaction in Interstellar Chemistry. II. Low Temperature Rate Constants and Modeling of NH, NH2, and NH3 Abundances in Dense Interstellar Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hickson, Kevin M.; Loison, Jean-Christophe; Bourgalais, Jérémy; Capron, Michael; Le Picard, Sébastien D.; Goulay, Fabien; Wakelam, Valentine

    2015-10-01

    A continuous supersonic flow reactor has been used to measure rate constants for the C(3P) + NH3 reaction over the temperature range 50-296 K. C(3P) atoms were created by the pulsed laser photolysis of CBr4. The kinetics of the title reaction were followed directly by vacuum ultra-violet laser induced fluorescence of C(3P) loss and through H(2S) formation. The experiments show unambiguously that the reaction is rapid at 296 K, becoming faster at lower temperatures, reaching a value of (1.8 ± 0.2) × 10-10 cm3 molecule-1 s-1 at 50 K. As this reaction is not currently included in astrochemical networks, its influence on interstellar nitrogen hydride abundances is tested through a dense cloud model including gas-grain interactions. In particular, the effect of the ortho-to-para ratio of H2, which plays a crucial role in interstellar NH3 synthesis, is examined.

  15. A Laboratory Search for the Carrier Molecules of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stockett, Mark; Wood, M. P.; Lawler, J. E.

    2010-01-01

    The identity of the carrier molecules of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) is the most durable mystery of spectroscopic astronomy. Though large Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are now suspected to be the source of the DIBs, no definitive matches have yet been made to laboratory PAH spectra. The Diffuse Interstellar Band Synchrotron Radiation Carrier Hunt (DIBSyRCH) experiment has been built at the Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC) to test this hypothesis by conducting a spectroscopic survey of a broad range of cold, gas phase PAH molecules and ions. The key elements of this experiment are (1) the synchrotron radiation continuum from the SRC White Light beamline, (2) a custom echelle spectrograph and (3) the Cryogenic Circulating Advective Multi-Pass (CCAMP) absorption cell. Synchrotron radiation provides broad spectral coverage and high spectral radiance throughout the DIB region. Signal-to-noise ratios of up to 10,000 are achieved in one minute of integration in the 530-800 nm spectral window with resolution optimized for the DIBs (a second window covers 400-530 nm). The CCAMP absorption cell operates much like a wind tunnel. A small propeller drives a convective laminar flow of liquid nitrogen cooled neon buffer gas which circulates around the racetrack-like tube. The molecules of interest are entrained in this cold flow as they are evaporated from the crucible. They then enter the observation arm and interact with the synchrotron radiation. A multi-pass White cell extends the absorption pathlength to over 100 m. Preliminary results on light PAHs will be presented. This work is supported in part by NASA Headquarters under grant NNX08AQ09G. MHS is a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow - grant NNX09AP54H. This work is based in part upon research conducted at the Synchrotron Radiation Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is supported by the National Science Foundation under award no. DMR-0537588.

  16. Abundances and Physical Conditions in the Interstellar Gas toward HD 185418

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sonnentrucker, Paule; Friedman, Scott D.; Welty, Daniel E.; York, Donald G.; Snow, Theodore P.

    2003-10-01

    We present a study of the abundances and physical conditions in the interstellar gas toward the moderately reddened B0.5 V star HD 185418. This star is located at (l,b)=(53deg,-2.2d) and has an estimated distance of 790 pc and a reddening E(B-V)=0.50. This work is based on the analysis of Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) and Hubble Space Telescope/Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (HST/STIS) spectra covering the range from 912 to 1361 Å. We used both sets of far-ultraviolet data, together with high-resolution optical data, to derive accurate gas-phase column densities for important interstellar species such as C I, C I*, C I**, N I, O I, O I*, Mg II, S I, S III, Cl I, Mn II, Fe II, Ni II, Cu II, Ge II, Kr I, and CO. Numerous lines of H2 are present in the FUSE spectra, with a kinetic temperature for the lowest rotational levels T01=100+/-15 K. Analysis of the C I fine-structure excitation at that temperature implies an average local density of hydrogen nH=6.3+/-2.5 cm-3. Chemical arguments based on analyses of CH, CH+, and C2 indicate that a fraction of the CH (>=20%) is formed as a by-product of nonequilibrium CH+ synthesis. The electron density ne, derived under the assumption of photoionization equilibrium, ranges from 0.03 to 0.32 cm-3 for the six different neutral/first-ion ratios considered. The relatively complex component structure seen in high-resolution spectra of K I, Na I, and Ca II, the relatively low average volume densities, the modest molecular fraction f(H2)=0.44, and the measured depletions all indicate no evidence for the presence of translucent components in the light path. The line of sight rather contains a mixture of cold and warm neutral diffuse gas. The detection of Si III and S III indicates the presence of some ionized gas (at a 1% level) along the line of sight. We could not determine unambiguously whether this ionized gas was physically related to the neutral components. Based in part on observations made with the NASA

  17. GAS-PHASE REACTIONS OF POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBON ANIONS WITH MOLECULES OF INTERSTELLAR RELEVANCE

    SciTech Connect

    Demarais, Nicholas J.; Yang Zhibo; Martinez, Oscar; Wehres, Nadine; Bierbaum, Veronica M.; Snow, Theodore P. E-mail: Zhibo.Yang@Colorado.edu E-mail: Nadine.Wehres@Colorado.edu E-mail: Theodore.Snow@Colorado.edu

    2012-02-10

    We have studied reactions of small dehydrogenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon anions with neutral species of interstellar relevance. Reaction rate constants are measured at 300 K for the reactions of phenide (C{sub 6}H{sup -}{sub 5}), naphthalenide (C{sub 10}H{sup -}{sub 7}), and anthracenide (C{sub 14}H{sup -}{sub 9}) with atomic H, H{sub 2}, and D{sub 2} using a flowing afterglow-selected ion flow tube instrument. Reaction rate constants of phenide with neutral molecules (CO, O{sub 2}, CO{sub 2}, N{sub 2}O, C{sub 2}H{sub 2}, CH{sub 3}OH, CH{sub 3}CN, (CH{sub 3}){sub 2}CO, CH{sub 3}CHO, CH{sub 3}Cl, and (CH{sub 3}CH{sub 2}){sub 2}O) are also measured under the same conditions. Experimental measurements are accompanied by ab initio calculations to provide insight into reaction pathways and enthalpies. Our measured reaction rate constants should prove useful in the modeling of astrophysical environments, particularly when applied to dense regions of the interstellar and circumstellar medium.

  18. Methods for Detection of Families of Molecules in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langston, Glen

    2014-06-01

    We present a high velocity resolution (0.04 km/sec) molecular line survey of the Taurus Molecular Cloud in the frequency range 39 to 48 GHz with NSF's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank telescope (GBT). The observing method and data reduction process are outlined. We describe the method of obtaining the calibrated, averaged spectral line data online. The RMS survey sensitivity was slightly different for each 200MHz frequency band, and ranged from 0.02 to 0.15 K (T_B) for the different bands. A large number of molecular lines are detected, most of which have previously been associated with already known interstellar molecules. We present a summary processes to combine a number of lines of molecular species in order to identify new species.

  19. Initiating Molecular Growth in the Interstellar Medium via Dimeric Complexes of Observed Ions and Molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bera, Partha P.; Head-Gordon, Martin; Lee, Timothy J.

    2011-01-01

    A feasible initiation step for particle growth in the interstellar medium (ISM) is simulated by means of ab quantum chemistry methods. The systems studied are dimer ions formed by pairing nitrogen containing small molecules known to exist in the ISM with ions of unsaturated hydrocarbons or vice versa. Complexation energies, structures of ensuing complexes and electronic excitation spectra of the encounter complexes are estimated using various quantum chemistry methods. Moller-Plesset perturbation theory (MP2, Z-averaged perturbation theory (ZAP2), coupled cluster singles and doubles with perturbative triples corrections (CCSD(T)), and density functional theory (DFT) methods (B3LYP) were employed along with the correlation consistent cc-pVTZ and aug-cc-pVTZ basis sets. Two types of complexes are predicted. One type of complex has electrostatic binding with moderate (7-20 kcal per mol) binding energies, that are nonetheless significantly stronger than typical van der Waals interactions between molecules of this size. The other type of complex develops strong covalent bonds between the fragments. Cyclic isomers of the nitrogen containing complexes are produced very easily by ion-molecule reactions. Some of these complexes show intense ultraviolet visible spectra for electronic transitions with large oscillator strengths at the B3LYP, omegaB97, and equations of motion coupled cluster (EOM-CCSD) levels. The open shell nitrogen containing carbonaceous complexes especially exhibit a large oscillator strength electronic transition in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  20. Exploiting single photon vacuum ultraviolet photoionization to unravel the synthesis of complex organic molecules in interstellar ices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abplanalp, Matthew J.; Förstel, Marko; Kaiser, Ralf I.

    2016-01-01

    Complex organic molecules (COM) such as aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, esters, and amides are ubiquitous in the interstellar medium, but traditional gas phase astrochemical models cannot explain their formation routes. By systematically exploiting on line and in situ vacuum ultraviolet photoionization coupled with reflectron time of flight mass spectrometry (PI-ReTOF-MS) and combining these data with infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), we reveal that complex organic molecules can be synthesized within interstellar ices that are condensed on interstellar grains via non-equilibrium reactions involving suprathermal hydrogen atoms at temperatures as low as 5 K. By probing for the first time specific structural isomers without their degradation (fragment-free), the incorporation of tunable vacuum ultraviolet photoionization allows for a much greater understanding of reaction mechanisms that exist in interstellar ices compared to traditional methods, thus eliminating the significant gap between observational and laboratory data that existed for the last decades. With the commission of the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), the number of detections of more complex organic molecules in space will continue to grow - including biorelevant molecules connected to the Origins of Life theme - and an understanding of these data will rely on future advances in sophisticated physical chemistry laboratory experiments.

  1. Very low temperature formaldehyde reactions and the build-up of organic molecules in comets and interstellar ices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schutte, W. A.; Allamandola, L. J.; Sandford, S. A.

    1995-01-01

    We have investigated thermally promoted reactions of formaldehyde (H2CO) in very low temperature ices. No such reactions occurred in ices of pure formaldehyde. However, addition of trace amounts of ammonia (NH3) were sufficient to catalyze reactions at temperatures as low as 40 K. Similar reactions could take place in interstellar ices and in Comets and produce considerable amounts of organic molecules.

  2. Exploring Sulfur & Argon Abundances in Planetary Nebulae as Metallicity- Indicator Surrogates for Iron in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kwitter, Karen B.; Henry, Richard C.

    1999-02-01

    Our primary motivation for studying S and Ar distributions in planetary nebulae (PNe) across the Galactic disk is to explore the possibility of a surrogacy between (S+Ar)/O and Fe/O for use as a metallicity indicator in the interstellar medium. The chemical history of the Galaxy is usually studied through O and Fe distributions among objects of different ages. Historically, though, Fe and O have not been measured in the same systems: Fe is easily seen in stars but hard to detect in nebulae; the reverse is true for O. We know that S and Ar abundances are not affected by PN progenitor evolution, and we therefore seek to exploit both their unaltered abundances and ease of detectability in PNe to explore their surrogacy for Fe. If proven valid, this surrogacy carries broad and important ramifications for bridging the gap between stellar and interstellar abundances in the Galaxy, and potentially beyond. Observed S/O and Ar/O gradients will also provide constraints on theoretical stellar yields of S and Ar, since they can be compared with chemical evolution models (which incorporate theoretically-predicted stellar yields, an initial mass function, and rates of star formation and infall) to help place constraints on model parameters.

  3. Laboratory Anion Chemistry: Implications for the DIBs, and a Potential Formation Mechanism for a Known Interstellar Molecule

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eichelberger, B.; Barckholtz, C.; Stepanovic, M.; Bierbaum, V.; Snow, T.

    2002-01-01

    Due to recent interest in molecular anions as possible interstellar species, we have carried out several laboratory studies of anion chemistry. The reactions of the series C(sub n)(sup -); and C(sub n)H(sup -) with H and H2 were studied to address the viability of such species in the diffuse interstellar medium and to address their ability to be carriers of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). These same molecules were also reacted with N and O to show possible heteroatomic products. C(sub m)N(sup - was a particularly stable product from the reaction of C(sub n)(sup -) + N. C3N(sup -) was further reacted with H to study chemistry that could produce HC3N, a known interstellar species. The reactions were done in a flowing afterglow selected ion flow tube apparatus (FA-SIFT). The anions were generated in an electron impact or cold cathode discharge source and the anion of interest was then selected by a quadrupole mass filter. The selected ion was then reacted with the atomic or molecular species in the flow tube and products were detected by another quadrupole. While the C(sub n)(sup -) species do not appear to be viable DIB carriers, their possible presence could provide a mechanism for the formation of known heteroatomic neutral molecules detected in the interstellar medium (ISM).

  4. The isotopes of hydrogen and helium in the Galactic cosmic radiation - Their source abundances and interstellar propagation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beatty, James J.

    1986-01-01

    A self-consistent model describing the interstellar propagation of Galactic cosmic radiation is developed using low-energy measurements and calculations of the effects of interstellar propagation and solar modulation. The source ratio H-1/He-4 at constant energy per nucleon is determined to be 12.2 + or - 1.5, and the mean path length for an exponential path length weighting function required to account for the data is 7.2 + or - 1.0 g/sq cm. The measured H-2/He-4 and He-3/He-4 ratios do not vary by more than about 30 percent over the solar cycle. The behavior of the ratios during the solar cycle reflects the energy dependence of the local interstellar ratios, and leads to an energy dependence of the mean path length below 1 GeV per nucleon weaker than that inferred from boron/carbon. The source ratio H-1/He-4 inferred from the low-energy data is consistent both with the value inferred from high-energy cosmic ray data using a model of rigidity-dependent confinement and with the solar system abundance ratio.

  5. Near-Infrared Band Strengths of Molecules Diluted in N2 and H2O Ice Mixtures Relevant to Interstellar and Planetary Ices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richey, Christina Rae; Gerakines, P.A.

    2012-01-01

    The relative abundances of ices in astrophysical environments rely on accurate laboratory measurements of physical parameters, such as band strengths (or absorption intensities), determined for the molecules of interest in relevant mixtures. In an extension of our previous study on pure-ice samples, here we focus on the near-infrared absorption features of molecules in mixtures with the dominant components of interstellar and planetary ices, H2O and N2. We present experimentally measured near-infrared spectral information (peak positions, widths, and band strengths) for both H2O- and N2-dominated mixtures of CO (carbon monoxide), CO2 (carbon dioxide), CH4 (methane), and NH3 (ammonia). Band strengths were determined during sample deposition by correlating the growth of near-infrared features (10,000-4000 per centimeter, 1-2.5 micrometers) with better-known mid-infrared features (4000-400 per centimeter, 2.5-25 micrometers) at longer wavelengths.

  6. On the detectability of CO molecules in the interstellar medium via X-ray spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joachimi, Katerine; Gatuzz, Efraín; García, Javier A.; Kallman, Timothy R.

    2016-09-01

    We present a study of the detectability of CO molecules in the Galactic interstellar medium using high-resolution X-ray spectra obtained with the XMM-Newton Reflection Grating Spectrometer. We analysed 10 bright low mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) to study the CO contribution in their line of sights. A total of 25 observations were fitted with the ISMabs X-ray absorption model which includes photoabsorption cross-sections for O I, O II, O III and CO. We performed a Monte Carlo (MC) simulation analysis of the goodness of fit in order to estimate the significance of the CO detection. We determine that the statistical analysis prevents a significant detection of CO molecular X-ray absorption features, except for the lines of sight towards XTE J1718-330 and 4U 1636-53. In the case of XTE J1817-330, this is the first report of the presence of CO along its line of sight. Our results reinforce the conclusion that molecules have a minor contribution to the absorption features in the O K-edge spectral region. We estimate a CO column density lower limit to perform a significant detection with XMM-Newton of N(CO) > 6 × 1016 cm-2 for typical exposure times.

  7. New observations of interstellar abundances and depletions of boron, vanadium, chromium, and cobalt

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snow, T. P., Jr.; Weiler, W. J.; Oegerle, W. R.

    1979-01-01

    New observations of interstellar lines of boron, vanadium, chromium, and cobalt in the spectra of Zeta Oph and Xi Per have been obtained with the Copernicus satellite. Chromium has been detected for the first time toward a reddened star, and cobalt has been seen for the first time in any interstellar line of sight. New limits have been obtained for boron and vanadium. These new data, along with limits on scandium and other species from the literature, have been compared with models for the depletion process. No fully conclusive test of depletion models is yet possible, but the new data on boron appear to favor the hypothesis that the depletions are dominated by accretion of gas-phase particles onto grains, rather than being due to grain condensation under pressure equilibrium. The impact of these new data on the study of grain surface properties is described.

  8. ON THE RELATIVE 'TRANSPARENCY' OF GAS-PHASE CORONENE MOLECULES TO LOW-ENERGY ELECTRONS: EFFECTS ON THE INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM

    SciTech Connect

    Carelli, F.; Gianturco, F. A.

    2011-12-20

    Free, gas-phase polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are understood to play an important role in the interstellar medium (ISM), as they are thought to significantly contribute to both diffused and unidentified infrared interstellar bands. They are also considered fundamental blocks of the interstellar dust, whose nature has important implications for a plethora of physical and chemical nanoscopic processes within the ISM. Since free electrons represent a versatile alternative way to transport energy in the interstellar space, in this paper we compute from quantum scattering methods the angular redistributions of free electrons by gas-phase coronene molecules, the latter of which are believed to be one of the most representative PAHs, in order to assess their role in describing the efficiency of electron deflection by this molecule. The associated rates can provide useful information about the coupling mechanism between external radio-frequency fields and complex molecular plasmas containing neutral and ionized PAHs. They can also yield information on the possible presence of such species in the dust phase of the medium.

  9. Comets: Cosmic connections with carbonaceous meteorites, interstellar molecules and the origin of life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chang, S.

    1979-01-01

    The ions, radicals, and molecules observed in comets may be derived intact or by partial decomposition from parent compounds of the sort found either in the interstellar medium or in carbonaceous meteorites. The early loss of highly reducing primitive atmosphere and its replacement by a secondary atmosphere dominated by H2O, CO2, and N2, as depicted in current models of the earth's evolution, pose a dilemma for the origin of life: the synthesis of organic compounds necessary for life from components of the secondary atmosphere appears to be difficult, and plausible mechanisms have not been evaluated. Both comets and carbonaceous meteorites are implicated as sources for the earth's atmophilic and organogenic elements. A mass balance argument involving the estimated ratios of hydrogen to carbon in carbonaceous meteorites, comets, and the crust and upper mantle suggests that comets supplied the earth with a large fraction of its volatiles. The probability that comets contributed significantly to the earth's volatile inventory suggests a chemical evolutionary link between comets, prebiotic organic synthesis, and the origin of life.

  10. THE ABUNDANCES OF HYDROCARBON FUNCTIONAL GROUPS IN THE INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM INFERRED FROM LABORATORY SPECTRA OF HYDROGENATED AND METHYLATED POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS

    SciTech Connect

    Steglich, M.; Jäger, C.; Huisken, F.; Friedrich, M.; Plass, W.; Räder, H.-J.; Müllen, K.; Henning, Th.

    2013-10-01

    Infrared (IR) absorption spectra of individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) containing methyl (-CH{sub 3}), methylene (CH{sub 2}), or diamond-like CH groups and IR spectra of mixtures of methylated and hydrogenated PAHs prepared by gas-phase condensation were measured at room temperature (as grains in pellets) and at low temperature (isolated in Ne matrices). In addition, the PAH blends were subjected to an in-depth molecular structure analysis by means of high-performance liquid chromatography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Supported by calculations at the density functional theory level, the laboratory results were applied to analyze in detail the aliphatic absorption complex of the diffuse interstellar medium at 3.4 μm and to determine the abundances of hydrocarbon functional groups. Assuming that the PAHs are mainly locked in grains, aliphatic CH {sub x} groups (x = 1, 2, 3) would contribute approximately in equal quantities to the 3.4 μm feature (N {sub CHx}/N {sub H} ≈ 10{sup –5}-2 × 10{sup –5}). The abundances, however, may be two to four times lower if a major contribution to the 3.4 μm feature comes from molecules in the gas phase. Aromatic ≅CH groups seem to be almost absent from some lines of sight, but can be nearly as abundant as each of the aliphatic components in other directions (N{sub ≅CH}/N {sub H} ∼< 2 × 10{sup –5}; upper value for grains). Due to comparatively low binding energies, astronomical IR emission sources do not display such heavy excess hydrogenation. At best, especially in protoplanetary nebulae, CH{sub 2} groups bound to aromatic molecules, i.e., excess hydrogens on the molecular periphery only, can survive the presence of a nearby star.

  11. Probing the Origin and Evolution of Interstellar and Protoplanetary Biogenic Molecules:A Comprehensive Survey of Interstellar Ices with SPHEREx

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melnick, Gary J.; SPHEREx Science Team

    2016-01-01

    Many of the most important building blocks of life are locked in interstellar and protoplanetary ices. Examples include H2O, CO, CO2, and CH3OH, among others. There is growing evidence that in some environments, such as within the cores of dense molecular clouds and the mid-plane of protoplanetary disks, the amounts of these species in ices far exceeds that in the gas phase. As a result, collisions between ice-bearing bodies and newly forming planets are thought to be a major means of delivering these key species to young planets. There currently exist fewer than 250 ice absorption spectra toward Galactic molecular clouds, which is insufficient to reliably trace the ice content of clouds through the various stages of collapse to star and planet formation, or assess the effects of their environments and physical conditions, such as cloud density, internal temperature, presence or absence of embedded sources, external UV and X-ray radiation, gas-phase composition, or cosmic-ray ionization rate, on the ice composition for clouds at similar evolutionary stages. Ultimately, our goal is to understand how these findings connect to our own Solar System.SPHEREx, which is a mission in NASA's Small Explorer (SMEX) program that was selected for a Phase A study in July 2015, will be a game changer for the study of interstellar, circumstellar, and protoplanetary disk ices. SPHEREx will obtain spectra over the entire sky in the optical and near-IR, including the 2.5 to 4.8 micron region, which contains the above biogenic ice features. SPHEREx will detect millions of potential background continuum point sources already catalogued by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) at 3.4 and 4.6 microns for which there is evidence for intervening gas and dust based on the 2MASS+WISE colors with sufficient sensitivity to yield ice absorption spectra with SNR ≥ 100 per spectral resolution element. The resulting > 100-fold increase in the number of high-quality ice absorption

  12. Interstellar Deuterium, Nitrogen and Oxygen Abundances Toward BD+28(deg) 4211: Results from the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sonneborn, George; Andre, Martial; Oliveira, Cristina; Hebrard, Guillaume; Howk, J. Christopher; Tripp, Todd M.; Chayer, Pierre; Friedman, Scott D.; Kruk, Jeffery W.; Jenkins, Edward B.; Oegerle, William R. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    High resolution far-ultraviolet spectra of the O-type subdwarf BD+28(deg)4211 were obtained with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer to measure the interstellar deuterium, nitrogen, and oxygen abundances in this direction. The interstellar D(I) transitions are analyzed down to Ly(ioat) at 920.7 A. The star was observed several times at different target offsets in the direction of spectral dispersion. The aligned and coedited spectra have high signal-to-noise ratios (S/N=50-100). D(I), N(I), and O(I) transitions were analyzed with curve-of-growth and profile fitting techniques. A model of interstellar molecular hydrogen on the line of sight was derived from H(II) lines in the FUSE spectra and used to help analyze some features where blending with H(II) was significant. The H(I) column density was determined from high resolution HST/STIS spectra of Ly(alpha) to be log N(H(I))= 19.846+/-0.035(2sigma), which is higher than is typical for sight lines in the local ISM studied for D/H. We found that D/H=(1.39+/-0.21)x 10(exp -5)(2sigma) and O/H=(2.37+/-0.55)x10(exp -4)(2sigma). O/H toward BD+28(deg)4211 appears to be significantly below the mean O/H ratio for the ISM and the Local Bubble.

  13. Search for interstellar adenine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chakrabarti, Sandip K.; Majumdar, Liton; Das, Ankan; Chakrabarti, Sonali

    2015-05-01

    It is long debated if pre-biotic molecules are indeed present in the interstellar medium. Despite substantial works pointing to their existence, pre-biotic molecules are yet to be discovered with a complete confidence. In this paper, our main aim is to study the chemical evolution of interstellar adenine under various circumstances. We prepare a large gas-grain chemical network by considering various pathways for the formation of adenine. Majumdar et al. (New Astron. 20:15, 2013) proposed that in the absence of adenine detection, one could try to trace two precursors of adenine, namely, HCCN and NH2CN. Recently Merz et al. (J. Phys. Chem. A 118:3637-3644, 2014), proposed another route for the formation of adenine in interstellar condition. They proposed two more precursor molecules. But it was not verified by any accurate gas-grain chemical model. Neither was it known if the production rate would be high or low. Our paper fills this important gap. We include this new pathways to find that the contribution through this pathways for the formation of Adenine is the most dominant one in the context of interstellar medium. We propose that observers may look for the two precursors (C3NH and HNCNH) in the interstellar media which are equally important for predicting abundances of adenine. We perform quantum chemical calculations to find out spectral properties of adenine and its two new precursor molecules in infrared, ultraviolet and sub-millimeter region. Our present study would be useful for predicting abundance of adenine.

  14. FORMATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF INTERSTELLAR MOLECULE LINEAR C{sub 5}H FROM PHOTOLYSIS OF METHANE DISPERSED IN SOLID NEON

    SciTech Connect

    Wu Yujong; Chen Huifen; Hsu Shengchuan; Lin Mengyeh; Chou Shenglung; Cheng Bingming; Camacho, Cristopher; Witek, Henryk A.; Ogilvie, J. F.

    2009-08-10

    Photolysis of methane dispersed (1/1000) in solid Ne at 3 K with vacuum-ultraviolet light from a synchrotron produced infrared absorption lines of several products, including new lines at 3319.3 and 1955.5 cm{sup -1}. Based on experiments with isotopic labeling and results of quantum-chemical calculations, these lines are assigned to the C-H stretching and C=C stretching modes, respectively, of interstellar molecule linear C{sub 5}H radicals.

  15. X-RAY PROPERTIES OF YOUNG EARLY-TYPE GALAXIES. II. ABUNDANCE RATIO IN THE HOT INTERSTELLAR MATTER

    SciTech Connect

    Kim, Dong-Woo; Fabbiano, Giuseppina; Pipino, Antonio

    2012-05-20

    Using Chandra X-ray observations of young, post-merger elliptical galaxies, we present X-ray characteristics of age-related observational results by comparing them with typical old elliptical galaxies in terms of metal abundances in the hot interstellar matter (ISM). While the absolute element abundances may be uncertain because of unknown systematic errors and partly because of the smaller amount of hot gas in young ellipticals, the relative abundance ratios (e.g., the {alpha}-element to Fe ratio, and most importantly the Si/Fe ratio) can be relatively well constrained. In two young elliptical galaxies (NGC 720 and NGC 3923) we find that the Si to Fe abundance ratio is super-solar (at a 99% significance level), in contrast to typical old elliptical galaxies where the Si to Fe abundance ratio is close to solar. Also, the O/Mg ratio is close to solar in the two young elliptical galaxies, as opposed to the sub-solar O/Mg ratio reported in old elliptical galaxies. Both features appear to be less significant outside the effective radius (roughly 30'' for the galaxies under study), consistent with the observations that confine to the centermost regions the signatures of recent star formation in elliptical galaxies. Observed differences between young and old elliptical galaxies can be explained by the additional contribution from SNe II ejecta in the former. In young elliptical galaxies, the later star formation associated with recent mergers would have a dual effect, resulting both in galaxy scale winds-and therefore smaller observed amounts of hot ISM-because of the additional SN II heating, and in different metal abundances, because of the additional SN II yields.

  16. Silicon chemistry in interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, William D.; Glassgold, A. E.

    1990-01-01

    A new model of interstellar silicon chemistry is presented that explains the lack of SiO detections in cold clouds and contains an exponential temperature dependence for the SiO abundance. A key aspect of the model is the sensitivity of SiO production by neutral silicon reactions to density and temperature, which arises from the dependence of the rate coefficients on the population of the excited fine-structure levels of the silicon atom. As part of the explanation of the lack of SiO detections at low temperatures and densities, the model also emphasizes the small efficiencies of the production routes and the correspondingly long times needed to reach equilibrium. Measurements of the abundance of SiO, in conjunction with theory, can provide information on the physical properties of interstellar clouds such as the abundance of oxygen bearing molecules and the depletion of interstellar silicon.

  17. THE ABUNDANCE OF C{sub 3}H{sub 2} AND OTHER SMALL HYDROCARBONS IN THE DIFFUSE INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM

    SciTech Connect

    Liszt, Harvey; Sonnentrucker, Paule; Cordiner, Martin; Gerin, Maryvonne

    2012-07-10

    Hydrocarbons are ubiquitous in the interstellar medium, observed in diverse environments ranging from diffuse to molecular dark clouds and strong photon-dominated regions near H II regions. Recently, two broad diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) at 4881 A and 5450 A were attributed to the linear version of propynylidene l-C{sub 3}H{sub 2}, a species whose more stable cyclic conformer c-C{sub 3}H{sub 2} has been widely observed in the diffuse interstellar medium at radio wavelengths. This attribution has already been criticized on the basis of indirect plausibility arguments because the required column densities are quite large, N(l-C{sub 3}H{sub 2})/E{sub B-V} =4 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 14} cm{sup -2} mag{sup -1}. Here we present new measurements of N(l-C{sub 3}H{sub 2}) based on simultaneous 18-21 GHz Very Large Array absorption profiles of cyclic and linear C{sub 3}H{sub 2} taken along sight lines toward extragalactic radio-continuum background sources with foreground Galactic reddening E{sub B-V} = 0.1-1.6 mag. We find that N(l-C{sub 3}H{sub 2})/N(c-C{sub 3}H{sub 2}) Almost-Equal-To 1/15-1/40 and N(l-C{sub 3}H{sub 2})/E{sub B-V} Almost-Equal-To (2 {+-} 1) Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 11} cm{sup -2} mag{sup -1}, so that the column densities of l-C{sub 3}H{sub 2} needed to explain the DIBs are some three orders of magnitude higher than what is observed. We also find N(C{sub 4}H)/E{sub B-V} <1.3 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 13} cm{sup -2} mag{sup -1} and N(C{sub 4}H{sup -})/E{sub B-V} <1 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 11} cm{sup -2} mag{sup -1} (3{sigma}). Using available data for CH and C{sub 2}H we compare the abundances of small hydrocarbons in diffuse and dark clouds as a guide to their ability to contribute as DIB carriers over a wide range of conditions in the interstellar medium.

  18. The chemistry of phosphorus in dense interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thorne, L. R.; Anicich, V. G.; Prasad, S. S.; Huntress, W. T., Jr.

    1984-01-01

    Laboratory experiments show that the ion-molecule chemistry of phosphorus is significantly different from that of nitrogen in dense interstellar clouds. The PH3 molecule is not readily formed by gas-phase, ion-molecule reactions in these regions. Laboratory results used in a simple kinetic model indicate that the most abundant molecule containing phosphorus in dense clouds is PO.

  19. The abundance of CO in diffuse interstellar clouds - An ultraviolet survey

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Federman, S. R.; Glassgold, A. E.; Jenkins, E. B.; Shaya, E. J.

    1980-01-01

    CO was detected in 17 directions and its upper limits were estimated in 21 directions by a UV survey carried out with the Copernicus satellite in the C-X 1088 A and E-X 1076 A lines toward 48 bright stars. The CO column densities range from 10 to the 12th to 10 to the 17th/sq cm and correlate with C I and H2. The tendency of the C I/CO ratio to be about 10 follows the ratio of particular atomic and molecular cross-sections and the physical parameters of interstellar clouds. Finally, the connection between UV observations in diffuse clouds and radio observations of (C-13)O in dark clouds is discussed.

  20. An In-Depth Study of the Abundance Pattern in the Hot Interstellar Medium in NGC 4649

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Loewenstein, Michael; Davis, David S.

    2012-01-01

    We present our X-ray imaging spectroscopic analysis of data from deep Suzaku and XMM-Newton Observatory exposures of the Virgo Cluster elliptical galaxy NGC 4649 (M60), focusing on the abundance pattern in the hot interstellar medium (ISM). All measured elements show a radial decline in abundance, with the possible exception of Oxygen. We construct steady state solutions to the chemical evolution equations that include infall in addition to stellar mass return and Type Ia supernovae (SNIa) enrichment, and consider recently published SNIa yields. By adjusting a single model parameter to obtain a match to the global abundance pattern in NGC 4649 we infer that introduction of subsolar metallicity external gas has reduced the overall ISM metallicity and diluted the effectiveness of SNIa to skew the pattern towards low alpha/Fe ratios, and estimate the combination of SNIa rate and level of dilution. Evidently, newly-introduced gas is heated as it is integrated into, and interacts with, the hot gas that is already present. These results indicate a complex flow and enrichment history for NGC 4649, reflecting the continual evolution of elliptical galaxies beyond the formation epoch. The heating and circulation of accreted gas may help reconcile this dynamic history with the mostly passive evolution of elliptical stellar populations. In an appendix we examine the effects of the recent updated atomic database AtomDB in spectral fitting of thermal plasmas with hot ISM temperatures in the elliptical galaxy range.

  1. AN IN-DEPTH STUDY OF THE ABUNDANCE PATTERN IN THE HOT INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM IN NGC 4649

    SciTech Connect

    Loewenstein, Michael; Davis, David S. E-mail: David.S.Davis@nasa.gov

    2012-10-01

    We present our X-ray imaging spectroscopic analysis of data from deep Suzaku and XMM-Newton Observatory exposures of the Virgo Cluster elliptical galaxy NGC 4649 (M60), focusing on the abundance pattern in the hot interstellar medium (ISM). All measured elements show a radial decline in abundance, with the possible exception of O. We construct steady-state solutions to the chemical evolution equations that include infall in addition to stellar mass return and Type Ia supernova (SNIa) enrichment, and consider recently published SNIa yields. By adjusting a single model parameter to obtain a match to the global abundance pattern in NGC 4649, we infer that introduction of subsolar metallicity external gas has reduced the overall ISM metallicity and diluted the effectiveness of SNIa to skew the pattern toward low {alpha}/Fe ratios, and estimate the combination of SNIa rate and level of dilution. Evidently, newly introduced gas is heated as it is integrated into, and interacts with, the hot gas that is already present. These results indicate a complex flow and enrichment history for NGC 4649, reflecting the continual evolution of elliptical galaxies beyond the formation epoch. The heating and circulation of accreted gas may help reconcile this dynamic history with the mostly passive evolution of elliptical stellar populations. In an Appendix, we examine the effects of the recent updated atomic database AtomDB in spectral fitting of thermal plasmas with hot ISM temperatures in the elliptical galaxy range.

  2. Interstellar Carbon Chains: Is Thermodynamics the Key?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Etim, Emmanuel; Chakrabarti, Sandip Kumar; Das, Ankan; Gorai, Prasanta; Arunan, Elangannan

    2016-07-01

    In an effort to further our interest in understanding basic chemistry of interstellar molecules, we carry out here an extensive investigation of the stabilities of interstellar carbon chains; C_n, H_2C_n, HC_nN and C_nX (X=N, O, Si, S, H, P, H^-, N^-). These sets of molecules account for about 20% of all the known interstellar and circumstellar molecules. Their high abundances therefore demand a serious attention. High level ab initio quantum chemical simulations are employed to accurately estimate enthalpy of formation, chemical reactivity indices; global hardness and softness; and other chemical parameters of these molecules. Chemical modeling of the abundances of these molecular species has also been performed. Of the 89 molecules considered from these groups, 47 have been astronomically observed, these observed molecules are found to be more stable with respect to other members of the group. Of the 47 observed molecules, 60% are odd number carbon chains. The reason for the high abundance of odd numbered carbon chains can easily be seen from the fact that they are more stable than the corresponding even number carbon chains. This further confirms the dominance of thermodynamics in interstellar formation processes as described in the Energy, Stability and Abundance (ESA) relationship. The next possible carbon chain molecule for astronomical observation in each group is proposed. The effect of kinetics in the formation processes of these carbon chains is shown to be largely dominated by thermodynamics.

  3. Ion-molecule reactions involving HCO+ and N2H+: Isotopologue equilibria from new theoretical calculations and consequences for interstellar isotope fractionation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mladenović, M.; Roueff, E.

    2014-06-01

    Aims: We revisit with new augmented accuracy the theoretical dynamics of basic isotope exchange reactions involved in the 12C/13C, 16O/18O, and 14N/15N balance because these reactions have already been studied experimentally in great detail. Methods: Electronic structure methods were employed to explore potential energy surfaces, full-dimensional rovibrational calculations to compute rovibrational energy levels that are numerically exact, and chemical network models to estimate the abundance ratios under interstellar conditions. Results: New exothermicities, derived for HCO+ reacting with CO, provide rate coefficients markedly different from previous theoretical values in particular at low temperatures, resulting in new abundance ratios relevant for carbon chemistry networks. In concrete terms, we obtain a reduction in the abundance of H12C18O+ and an increase in the abundance of H13C16O+ and D13C16O+. In all studied cases, the reaction of the ion with a neutral polarizable molecule proceeds through the intermediate proton-bound complex found to be very stable. For the complexes OCH+··· CO, OCH+··· OC, COHOC+, N2··· HCO+, N2H+··· OC, and N2HN2+, we also calculated vibrational frequencies and dissociation energies. Conclusions: The linear proton-bound complexes possess sizeable dipole moments, which may facilitate their detection.

  4. Potential interstellar noble gas molecules: ArOH+ and NeOH+ rovibrational analysis from quantum chemical quartic force fields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Theis, Riley A.; Fortenberry, Ryan C.

    2016-03-01

    The discovery of ArH+ in the interstellar medium has shown that noble gas chemistry may be of more chemical significance than previously believed. The present work extends the known chemistry of small noble gas molecules to NeOH+ and ArOH+. Besides their respective neonium and argonium diatomic cation cousins, these hydroxyl cation molecules are the most stable small noble gas molecules analyzed of late. ArOH+ is once again more stable than the neon cation, but both are well-behaved enough for a complete quartic force field analysis of their rovibrational properties. The Ar-O bond in ArOH+ , for instance, is roughly three-quarters of the strength of the Ar-H bond in ArH+ highlighting the rigidity of this system. The rotational constants, geometries, and vibrational frequencies for both molecules and their various isotopologues are computed from ab initio quantum chemical theory at high-level, and it is shown that these cations may form in regions where peroxy or weakly-bound alcohols may be present. The resulting data should be of significant assistance for the laboratory or observational analysis of these potential interstellar molecules.

  5. ESTIMATION OF THE NEON/OXYGEN ABUNDANCE RATIO AT THE HELIOSPHERIC TERMINATION SHOCK AND IN THE LOCAL INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM FROM IBEX OBSERVATIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Bochsler, P.; Petersen, L.; Moebius, E.; Schwadron, N. A.; Wurz, P.; Scheer, J. A.; Fuselier, S. A.; McComas, D. J.; Bzowski, M.; Frisch, P. C.

    2012-02-01

    We report the first direct measurement of the Ne/O abundance ratio of the interstellar neutral gas flowing into the inner heliosphere. From the first year of Interstellar Boundary Explorer IBEX data collected in spring 2009, we derive the fluxes of interstellar neutral oxygen and neon. Using the flux ratio at the location of IBEX at 1 AU at the time of the observations, and using the ionization rates of neon and oxygen prevailing in the heliosphere during the period of solar minimum, we estimate the neon/oxygen ratios at the heliospheric termination shock and in the gas phase of the inflowing local interstellar medium. Our estimate is (Ne/O){sub gas,ISM} = 0.27 {+-} 0.10, which is-within the large given uncertainties-consistent with earlier measurements from pickup ions. Our value is larger than the solar abundance ratio, possibly indicating that a significant fraction of oxygen in the local interstellar medium is hidden in grains and/or ices.

  6. A study of interstellar aldehydes and enols as tracers of a cosmic ray-driven nonequilibrium synthesis of complex organic molecules.

    PubMed

    Abplanalp, Matthew J; Gozem, Samer; Krylov, Anna I; Shingledecker, Christopher N; Herbst, Eric; Kaiser, Ralf I

    2016-07-12

    Complex organic molecules such as sugars and amides are ubiquitous in star- and planet-forming regions, but their formation mechanisms have remained largely elusive until now. Here we show in a combined experimental, computational, and astrochemical modeling study that interstellar aldehydes and enols like acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) and vinyl alcohol (C2H3OH) act as key tracers of a cosmic-ray-driven nonequilibrium chemistry leading to complex organics even deep within low-temperature interstellar ices at 10 K. Our findings challenge conventional wisdom and define a hitherto poorly characterized reaction class forming complex organic molecules inside interstellar ices before their sublimation in star-forming regions such as SgrB2(N). These processes are of vital importance in initiating a chain of chemical reactions leading eventually to the molecular precursors of biorelevant molecules as planets form in their interstellar nurseries. PMID:27382172

  7. A study of interstellar aldehydes and enols as tracers of a cosmic ray-driven nonequilibrium synthesis of complex organic molecules.

    PubMed

    Abplanalp, Matthew J; Gozem, Samer; Krylov, Anna I; Shingledecker, Christopher N; Herbst, Eric; Kaiser, Ralf I

    2016-07-12

    Complex organic molecules such as sugars and amides are ubiquitous in star- and planet-forming regions, but their formation mechanisms have remained largely elusive until now. Here we show in a combined experimental, computational, and astrochemical modeling study that interstellar aldehydes and enols like acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) and vinyl alcohol (C2H3OH) act as key tracers of a cosmic-ray-driven nonequilibrium chemistry leading to complex organics even deep within low-temperature interstellar ices at 10 K. Our findings challenge conventional wisdom and define a hitherto poorly characterized reaction class forming complex organic molecules inside interstellar ices before their sublimation in star-forming regions such as SgrB2(N). These processes are of vital importance in initiating a chain of chemical reactions leading eventually to the molecular precursors of biorelevant molecules as planets form in their interstellar nurseries.

  8. Laboratory Studies of Stabilities of Heterocyclic Aromatic Molecules: Suggested Gas Phase Ion-Molecule Routes to Production in Interstellar Gas Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adams, Nigel G.; Fondren, L. Dalila; McLain, Jason L.; Jackson, Doug M.

    2006-01-01

    Several ring compounds have been detected in interstellar gas clouds, ISC, including the aromatic, benzene. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs, have been implicated as carriers of diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) and unidentified infrared (UIR) bands. Heterocyclic aromatic rings of intermediate size containing nitrogen, possibly PreLife molecules, were included in early searches but were not detected and a recent search for Pyrimidine was unsuccessful. Our laboratory investigations of routes to such molecules could establish their existence in ISC and suggest conditions under which their concentrations would be maximized thus aiding the searches. The stability of such ring compounds (C5H5N, C4H4N2, C5H11N and C4H8O2) has been tested in the laboratory using charge transfer excitation in ion-molecule reactions. The fragmentation paths, including production of C4H4(+), C3H3N(+) and HCN, suggest reverse routes to the parent molecules, which are presently under laboratory investigation as production sources.

  9. Galactic interstellar abundance surveys with IUE. III - Silicon, manganese, iron, sulfur, and zinc

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Van Steenberg, Michael E.; Shull, J. Michael

    1988-01-01

    This paper continues a survey of intestellar densities, abundances, and cloud structure in the Galaxy using the IUE satellite. A statistical data set of 223 O3-B2.5 stars is constructed, including 53 stars in the Galactic halo. It is found that S II lines in B stars, of luminosity classes IV and V, have possible contamination from stellar S II, particular for stars with v sin i less than 200 km/s. The mean logarithmic depletions are -1.00, -1.19. -0.63, and -0.23 (Si, Mn,Fe,S, Zn). Depletions of Si, Mn, and Fe correlate with the mean hydrogen density n-bar along the line of sight, with a turnover for n-bar greater than 1/cm. Sulfur depletions correlate with n-bar along the line of sight. The slight Zn depletion correlation also appears to be statistically insignificant. No correlation of depletion is found with the physical density derived from H2 rotational states in 21 lines of sight. Depletion variations in the disk are consistent with a Galactic abundance gradient or with enhanced mean depletions in the anticenter region.

  10. ELECTRON IRRADIATION OF CARBON DISULFIDE-OXYGEN ICES: TOWARD THE FORMATION OF SULFUR-BEARING MOLECULES IN INTERSTELLAR ICES

    SciTech Connect

    Maity, Surajit; Kaiser, Ralf I.

    2013-08-20

    The formation of sulfur-bearing molecules in interstellar ices was investigated during the irradiation of carbon disulfide (CS{sub 2})-oxygen (O{sub 2}) ices with energetic electrons at 12 K. The irradiation-induced chemical processing of these ices was monitored online and in situ via Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to probe the newly formed products quantitatively. The sulfur-bearing molecules produced during the irradiation were sulfur dioxide (SO{sub 2}), sulfur trioxide (SO{sub 3}), and carbonyl sulfide (OCS). Formations of carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone (O{sub 3}) were observed as well. To fit the temporal evolution of the newly formed products and to elucidate the underlying reaction pathways, kinetic reaction schemes were developed and numerical sets of rate constants were derived. Our studies suggest that carbon disulfide (CS{sub 2}) can be easily transformed to carbonyl sulfide (OCS) via reactions with suprathermal atomic oxygen (O), which can be released from oxygen-containing precursors such as water (H{sub 2}O), carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}), and/or methanol (CH{sub 3}OH) upon interaction with ionizing radiation. This investigation corroborates that carbonyl sulfide (OCS) and sulfur dioxide (SO{sub 2}) are the dominant sulfur-bearing molecules in interstellar ices.

  11. From the Matterhorn to Molecules: The Beauty of the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bally, J.

    2016-05-01

    Our generation is opening humanity's eyes to the electromagnetic spectrum, revealing the interstellar medium's stunning beauty and profound role in star and planet formation and cosmic evolution. The enabling technologies of this revolution also have huge impacts on the world's economy.

  12. Interstellar isomers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Defrees, D.; Mclean, D.; Herbst, E.

    1986-01-01

    Both observational and theoretical studies of molecular clouds are hindered by many difficulties. One way to partially circumvent the difficulties of characterizing the chemistry within these objects is to study the relative abundances of isomers which are synthesized from a common set of precursors. Unfortunately, only one such system has been confirmed, the HCN/HNC pair of isomers. While the basic outlines of its chemistry have been known for some years, there are still many aspects of the chemistry which are unclear. Another potential pair of isomers is HCO+/HOC+; HCO+ is an abundant instellar molecule and a tentative identification of HOC+ has been made in Sgr B2. This identification is being challenged, however, based on theoretical and laboratory evidence that HOC+ reacts with H2. Another potential pair of interstellar isomers is methyl cyanide (CH3CN, acetonitrile) and methyl isocyanide (CH3NC). The cyanide is well known, however the isocyanide has yet to be observed despite theoretical predictions that appreciable quantities should be present.

  13. The Abundances of Hydrocarbon Functional Groups in the Interstellar Medium Inferred from Laboratory Spectra of Hydrogenated and Methylated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steglich, M.; Jäger, C.; Huisken, F.; Friedrich, M.; Plass, W.; Räder, H.-J.; Müllen, K.; Henning, Th.

    2013-10-01

    Infrared (IR) absorption spectra of individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) containing methyl (\\sbondCH3), methylene (\\protect{\\epsfbox{art/apjs484229un01.eps}}CH2), or diamond-like \\protect{\\epsfbox{art/apjs484229un02.eps}}CH groups and IR spectra of mixtures of methylated and hydrogenated PAHs prepared by gas-phase condensation were measured at room temperature (as grains in pellets) and at low temperature (isolated in Ne matrices). In addition, the PAH blends were subjected to an in-depth molecular structure analysis by means of high-performance liquid chromatography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Supported by calculations at the density functional theory level, the laboratory results were applied to analyze in detail the aliphatic absorption complex of the diffuse interstellar medium at 3.4 μm and to determine the abundances of hydrocarbon functional groups. Assuming that the PAHs are mainly locked in grains, aliphatic CH x groups (x = 1, 2, 3) would contribute approximately in equal quantities to the 3.4 μm feature (N CHx /N H ≈ 10-5-2 × 10-5). The abundances, however, may be two to four times lower if a major contribution to the 3.4 μm feature comes from molecules in the gas phase. Aromatic \\epsfbox{art/apjs484229un03.eps} CH groups seem to be almost absent from some lines of sight, but can be nearly as abundant as each of the aliphatic components in other directions (N_{\\epsfbox{art/apjs484229un03.eps} CH}/N H lsim 2 × 10-5 upper value for grains). Due to comparatively low binding energies, astronomical IR emission sources do not display such heavy excess hydrogenation. At best, especially in protoplanetary nebulae, \\protect{\\epsfbox{art/apjs484229un01.eps}}CH2 groups bound to aromatic molecules, i.e., excess hydrogens on the molecular periphery only, can survive the presence of a nearby star.

  14. Interstellar Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds and Astrophysics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hudgins, Douglas M.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Over the past fifteen years, thanks to significant, parallel advancements in observational, experimental, and theoretical techniques, tremendous strides have been made in our understanding of the role polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC) in the interstellar medium (ISM). Twenty years ago, the notion of an abundant population of large, carbon rich molecules in the ISM was considered preposterous. Today, the unmistakable spectroscopic signatures of PAC - shockingly large molecules by previous interstellar chemistry standards - are recognized throughout the Universe. In this paper, we will examine the interstellar PAC model and its importance to astrophysics, including: (1) the evidence which led to inception of the model; (2) the ensuing laboratory and theoretical studies of the fundamental spectroscopic properties of PAC by which the model has been refined and extended; and (3) a few examples of how the model is being exploited to derive insight into the nature of the interstellar PAC population.

  15. Terahertz Spectroscopy of Molecules in the Interstellar Medium and around Stars - Sure Bets and Challenges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Menten, Karl M.

    2009-06-01

    In the very near future, powerful new observatories willrevolutionize broad band astronomical spectroscopy at THz frequencies. These include the Herschel Space Observatory, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array and, at somewhat lower, GHz, frequencies the Expanded Very Large Array. The latter two, ``radio''-style interferometers will allow sub-arcsecond, high spectral resolution imaging with total instantaneous observing bandwidths up to 100 times larger than present day facilities. This will allow comprehensive multi-transition/multi species studies that offer new approaches to a variety of astrophysical/chemical areas all of which are dependent on the availability of extensive laboratory data. To give a few examples: For many interesting sources it will be possible to get a complete astrochemical ``fingerprint'' in a single observing session with high-quality images of the distributions of the individual species! Targets include the extremely molecule-rich hot molecular cores around protostellar objects and emission from vibrationally excited lines from the innermost circumstellar envelopes of nearby asymptotic branch branch stars which will be imaged with a resolution better than the stellar diameter. Complete, high spectral resolution scans of various keystone objects over the whole 480-1250 and 1410-1920 GHz ranges will be conducted by the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared (HIFI) aboard Herschel. These include lines from various important hydride species and, importantly, water vapor that are not observable from the ground. Organic molecules have hundreds of GHz/THz lines. However, due to the generally low abundances and large partition functions of ``new'' (yet to identified) very complex species, all of these are weak and have to be picked out of a thicket of also weak rotational lines from within relatively low energy vibrationally excited levels from various isotopologues of known species. Here, comprehensive model spectra of all the species known to

  16. A new interstellar polyatomic molecule - Detection of propynal in the cold cloud TMC-1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, W. M.; Brown, R. D.; Cragg, D. M.; Godfrey, P. D.; Friberg, P.

    1988-01-01

    The detection of the acetylene derivative propynal in the cold cloud TMC-1, with an abundance that is very close to that for the related species tricarbon monoxide, is reported. Propadienone, an isomer of propynal, was not detected and is hence less abundant than either C3O or HC2CHO.

  17. Carbynes in meteorites: detection, low-temperature origin, and implications for interstellar molecules.

    PubMed

    Hayatsu, R; Scott, R G; Studier, M H; Lewis, R S; Anders, E

    1980-09-26

    Carbon from the Allende meteorite is not graphite but carbyne (triply bonded elemental carbon), inasmuch as on heating to 250 degrees to 330 degrees C it releases mainly triply bonded fragments: -(C identical withC)(n),- with n = 1 to 5, and -(C identical withC)(n)-CN, with n = 1 to 3. Although carbynes have been known to form only by condensation of carbon vapor above 2600 K or by explosive shock of > 600 kilobars, it is found that they also form metastably by the reaction 2CO --> CO(2) + C (solid) at 300 degrees to 400 degrees C in the presence of a chromite catalyst. Such low-temperature formation by surface catalysis may be the dominant source of carbynes on the earth and in meteorites, and a major source of interstellar carbynes and cyanopolyacetylenes.

  18. Carbynes in meteorites: detection, low-temperature origin, and implications for interstellar molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Hayatsu, R.; Scott, R.G.; Studier, M.H.; Lewis, R.S.; Anders, E.

    1980-09-26

    Carbon from the Allende meteorite is not graphite but carbyne (triply bonded elemental carbon), inasmuch as on heating to 250/sup 0/ to 330/sup 0/C it releases mainly triply bonded fragments: -(C triple-bond C)/sub n/-, with n = 1 to 5, and -(C triple-bond C)/sub n/-CN, with n = 1 to 3. Although carbynes have been known to form only by condensation of carbon vapor above 2600 K or by explosive shock of > 600 kilobars, it is found that they also form metastably by the reaction 2CO ..-->.. CO/sub 2/ + C (solid) at 300/sup 0/ to 400/sup 0/C in the presence of a chromite catalyst. Such low-temperature formation by surface catalysis may be the dominant source of carbynes on the earth and in meteorites, and a major source of interstellar carbynes and cyanopolyacetylenes.

  19. Carbynes in meteorites - Detection, low-temperature origin, and implications for interstellar molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hayatsu, R.; Scott, R. G.; Studier, M. H.; Lewis, R. S.; Anders, E.

    1980-01-01

    The presence, origin and implications of carbynes in meteorites are investigated. A sample of the Allende meteorite was pyrolyzed at temperatures from 25 to 750 C and examined by solid probe time-of-flight mass spectrometry and high-resolution mass spectrometry. Fragments released upon heating at 250 to 330 C are found to be composed of macromolecules containing triply bonded carbon units and cyanoacetylenes, as well as some methyl- and phenylacetylenes. Although carbynes are well known to form from the condensation of carbon vapors above 2600 K or by shock greater than 600 kbar, which would be unlikely in Allende, it is found that carbynes rather than graphite are formed metastably by the disproportionation of CO at low temperatures when chromite is present as a catalyst. Results imply that metastable formation mechanisms may be the principal source of interstellar polycyanoacetylenes and meteoritic and terrestrial carbynes.

  20. Abundance of Escherichia coli F1-ATPase molecules observed to rotate via single-molecule microscopy with gold nanorod probes.

    PubMed

    York, Justin; Spetzler, David; Hornung, Tassilo; Ishmukhametov, Robert; Martin, James; Frasch, Wayne D

    2007-12-01

    The abundance of E. coli F1-ATPase molecules observed to rotate using gold nanorods attached to the gamma-subunit was quantitated. Individual F1 molecules were determined to be rotating based upon time dependent fluctuations of red and green light scattered from the nanorods when viewed through a polarizing filter. The average number of F1 molecules observed to rotate in the presence of GTP, ATP, and without nucleotide was approximately 50, approximately 25, and approximately 4% respectively. In some experiments, the fraction of molecules observed to rotate in the presence of GTP was as high as 65%. These data indicate that rotational measurements made using gold nanorods provide information of the F1-ATPase mechanism that is representative of the characteristics of the enzyme population as a whole.

  1. Interstellar dust particles and chemical species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krelowski, Jacek

    Absorption spectra of translucent interstellar clouds contain known molecular bands: of CN, CH+, CH, OH, OH+, NH, C2 and C3. Moreover, one can observe more than 400 unidentified absorption features known as diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) commonly believed to be carried by some complex, carbon bearing molecules (chain species based on a carbon scheleton, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, fullerenes). DIBs are optical features observed in absorption in starlight crossing tarnslucent interstellar clouds. Despite many laboratory based studies of possible DIB carriers, it has not been possible to unambiguously link these bands to specific species. This is unfortunate, as an identification of DIBs would substantially contribute to our understanding of chemical processes in the diffuse interstellar medium. The presence of substructures inside DIB profiles, discovered by Sarre et al. (1995) and Kerr et al. (1998), indicate that DIBs are likely molecular features of gas phase species. Sofar only three DIBs have been linked to specific molecules but none of these links was confirmed beyond a doubt. Extinction is likely caused by interstellar dust particles of various sizes and shapes. The recent surveys of the extinction law demonstrate a great variety of the observed curves which proves that grains differ from cloud to cloud. A majority of distant OB stars is observed through several clouds and thus we observe usually an ill-defined average which does not differ substantially from one distant object to another. The most popularly observed CH molecule does correlate with the extinction but it is a poor correlation. The abundance of CN molecule is completely uncorrelated with the colour excess. Seemingly an exceptionally high abundance of CN is observed together with high far-UV extinction and very low intensity of diffuse interstellar bands. Interstellar molecules can be formed either in the gas phase or on grain surfaces. Small grains, responsible for the far

  2. Evolution of interstellar ices.

    PubMed

    Allamandola, L J; Bernstein, M P; Sandford, S A; Walker, R L

    1999-01-01

    Infrared observations, combined with realistic laboratory simulations, have revolutionized our understanding of interstellar ice and dust, the building blocks of comets. Ices in molecular clouds are dominated by the very simple molecules H2O, CH3OH, NH3, CO, CO2, and probably H2CO and H2. More complex species including nitriles, ketones, and esters are also present, but at lower concentrations. The evidence for these, as well as the abundant, carbon-rich, interstellar, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is reviewed. Other possible contributors to the interstellar/pre-cometary ice composition include accretion of gas-phase molecules and in situ photochemical processing. By virtue of their low abundance, accretion of simple gas-phase species is shown to be the least important of the processes considered in determining ice composition. On the other hand, photochemical processing does play an important role in driving dust evolution and the composition of minor species. Ultraviolet photolysis of realistic laboratory analogs readily produces H2, H2CO, CO2, CO, CH4, HCO, and the moderately complex organic molecules: CH3CH2OH (ethanol), HC(=O)NH2 (formamide), CH3C(=O)NH2 (acetamide), R-CN (nitriles), and hexamethylenetetramine (HMT, C6H12N4), as well as more complex species including amides, ketones, and polyoxymethylenes (POMs). Inclusion of PAHs in the ices produces many species similar to those found in meteorites including aromatic alcohols, quinones and ethers. Photon assisted PAH-ice deuterium exchange also occurs. All of these species are readily formed and are therefore likely cometary constituents.

  3. Discovery of the interstellar chiral molecule propylene oxide (CH₃CHCH₂O).

    PubMed

    McGuire, Brett A; Carroll, P Brandon; Loomis, Ryan A; Finneran, Ian A; Jewell, Philip R; Remijan, Anthony J; Blake, Geoffrey A

    2016-06-17

    Life on Earth relies on chiral molecules-that is, species not superimposable on their mirror images. This manifests itself in the selection of a single molecular handedness, or homochirality, across the biosphere. We present the astronomical detection of a chiral molecule, propylene oxide (CH3CHCH2O), in absorption toward the Galactic center. Propylene oxide is detected in the gas phase in a cold, extended molecular shell around the embedded, massive protostellar clusters in the Sagittarius B2 star-forming region. This material is representative of the earliest stage of solar system evolution in which a chiral molecule has been found.

  4. Discovery of the interstellar chiral molecule propylene oxide (CH₃CHCH₂O).

    PubMed

    McGuire, Brett A; Carroll, P Brandon; Loomis, Ryan A; Finneran, Ian A; Jewell, Philip R; Remijan, Anthony J; Blake, Geoffrey A

    2016-06-17

    Life on Earth relies on chiral molecules-that is, species not superimposable on their mirror images. This manifests itself in the selection of a single molecular handedness, or homochirality, across the biosphere. We present the astronomical detection of a chiral molecule, propylene oxide (CH3CHCH2O), in absorption toward the Galactic center. Propylene oxide is detected in the gas phase in a cold, extended molecular shell around the embedded, massive protostellar clusters in the Sagittarius B2 star-forming region. This material is representative of the earliest stage of solar system evolution in which a chiral molecule has been found. PMID:27303055

  5. The kinetic chemistry of dense interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graedel, T. E.; Langer, W. D.; Frerking, M. A.

    1982-01-01

    A model of the time-dependent chemistry of dense interstellar clouds is formulated to study the dominant chemical processes in carbon and oxygen isotope fractionation, the formation of nitrogen-containing molecules, and the evolution of product molecules as a function of cloud density and temperature. The abundances of the dominant isotopes of the carbon- and oxygen-bearing molecules are calculated. The chemical abundances are found to be quite sensitive to electron concentration since the electron concentration determines the ratio of H3(+) to He(+), and the electron density is strongly influenced by the metals abundance. For typical metal abundances and for H2 cloud density not less than 10,000 molecules/cu cm, nearly all carbon exists as CO at late cloud ages. At high cloud density, many aspects of the chemistry are strongly time dependent. Finally, model calculations agree well with abundances deduced from observations of molecular line emission in cold dense clouds.

  6. Possible interstellar formation of glycine from the reaction of CH2=NH, CO and H2O: catalysis by extra water molecules through the hydrogen relay transport.

    PubMed

    Nhlabatsi, Zanele P; Bhasi, Priya; Sitha, Sanyasi

    2016-01-01

    "How the fundamental life elements are created in the interstellar medium (ISM)?" is one of the intriguing questions related to the genesis of life. Using computational calculations, we have discussed the reaction of CH2=NH, CO and H2O for the formation of glycine, the simplest life element. This reaction proceeds through a concerted mechanism with reasonably large barriers for the cases with one and two water molecules as reactants. For the two water case we found that the extra water molecule exhibits some catalytic role through the hydrogen transport relay effect and the barrier height is reduced substantially compared to the case with one water molecule. These two cases can be treated as ideal cases for the hot-core formation of the interstellar glycine. With an increasing number of water molecules as the reactants, we found that when the numbers of water molecules are three or more than three, the barrier height reduced so drastically that the transition states were more stable than the reactants. Such a situation gives a clear indication that with excess water molecules as the reactants, this reaction will be feasible even under the low temperature conditions existing in the cold interstellar clouds and the exothermic nature of the reaction will be the driving force.

  7. Observations of interstellar zinc

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jura, M.; York, D.

    1981-01-01

    The International Ultraviolet Explorer observations of interstellar zinc toward 10 stars are examined. It is found that zinc is at most only slightly depleted in the interstellar medium; its abundance may serve as a tracer of the true metallicity in the gas. The local interstellar medium has abundances that apparently are homogeneous to within a factor of two, when integrated over paths of about 500 pc, and this result is important for understanding the history of nucleosynthesis in the solar neighborhood. The intrinsic errors in detecting weak interstellar lines are analyzed and suggestions are made as to how this error limit may be lowered to 5 mA per target observation.

  8. Interstellar Dust: Contributed Papers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tielens, Alexander G. G. M. (Editor); Allamandola, Louis J. (Editor)

    1989-01-01

    A coherent picture of the dust composition and its physical characteristics in the various phases of the interstellar medium was the central theme. Topics addressed included: dust in diffuse interstellar medium; overidentified infrared emission features; dust in dense clouds; dust in galaxies; optical properties of dust grains; interstellar dust models; interstellar dust and the solar system; dust formation and destruction; UV, visible, and IR observations of interstellar extinction; and quantum-statistical calculations of IR emission from highly vibrationally excited polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules.

  9. Discovery of the interstellar chiral molecule propylene oxide (CH3CHCH2O)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGuire, Brett A.; Carroll, P. Brandon; Loomis, Ryan A.; Finneran, Ian A.; Jewell, Philip R.; Remijan, Anthony J.; Blake, Geoffrey A.

    2016-06-01

    Life on Earth relies on chiral molecules—that is, species not superimposable on their mirror images. This manifests itself in the selection of a single molecular handedness, or homochirality, across the biosphere. We present the astronomical detection of a chiral molecule, propylene oxide (CH3CHCH2O), in absorption toward the Galactic center. Propylene oxide is detected in the gas phase in a cold, extended molecular shell around the embedded, massive protostellar clusters in the Sagittarius B2 star-forming region. This material is representative of the earliest stage of solar system evolution in which a chiral molecule has been found.

  10. Silicon chemistry in interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, William D.; Glassgold, A. E.

    1989-01-01

    Interstellar SiO was discovered shortly after CO but it has been detected mainly in high density and high temperature regions associated with outflow sources. A new model of interstellar silicon chemistry that explains the lack of SiO detections in cold clouds is presented which contains an exponential temperature dependence for the SiO abundance. A key aspect of the model is the sensitivity of SiO production by neutral silicon reactions to density and temperature, which arises from the dependence of the rate coefficients on the population of the excited fine structure levels of the silicon atom. This effect was originally pointed out in the context of neutral reactions of carbon and oxygen by Graff, who noted that the leading term in neutral atom-molecule interactions involves the quadrupole moment of the atom. Similar to the case of carbon, the requirement that Si has a quadrupole moment requires population of the J = 1 level, which lies 111K above the J = 0 ground state and has a critical density n(cr) equal to or greater than 10(6)/cu cm. The SiO abundance then has a temperature dependence proportional to exp(-111/T) and a quadratic density dependence for n less than n(cr). As part of the explanation of the lack of SiO detections at low temperatures and densities, this model also emphasizes the small efficiencies of the production routes and the correspondingly long times needed to reach equilibrium. Measurements of the abundance of SiO, in conjunction with theory, can provide information on the physical properties of interstellar clouds such as the abundances of oxygen bearing molecules and the depletion of interstellar silicon.

  11. Interstellar Aldehydes and their corresponding Reduced Alcohols: Interstellar Propanol?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Etim, Emmanuel; Chakrabarti, Sandip Kumar; Das, Ankan; Gorai, Prasanta; Arunan, Elangannan

    2016-07-01

    There is a well-defined trend of aldehydes and their corresponding reduced alcohols among the known interstellar molecules; methanal (CH_2O) and methanol (CH_3OH); ethenone (C_2H_2O) and vinyl alcohol (CH_2CHOH); ethanal (C_2H_4O) and ethanol(C_2H_5OH); glycolaldehyde (C_2H_4O_2) and ethylene glycol(C_2H_6O_2). The reduced alcohol of propanal (CH_3CH_2CHO) which is propanol (CH_3CH_2CH_2OH) has not yet been observed but its isomer; ethyl methyl ether (CH_3CH_2OCH_3) is a known interstellar molecule. In this article, different studies are carried out in investigating the trend between aldehydes and their corresponding reduced alcohols and the deviation from the trend. Kinetically and with respect to the formation route, alcohols could have been produced from their corresponding reduced aldehydes via two successive hydrogen additions. This is plausible because of (a) the unquestionable high abundance of hydrogen, (b) presence of energy sources within some of the molecular clouds and (c) the ease at which successive hydrogen addition reaction occurs. In terms of stability, the observed alcohols are thermodynamically favorable as compared to their isomers. Regarding the formation process, the hydrogen addition reactions are believed to proceed on the surface of the interstellar grains which leads to the effect of interstellar hydrogen bonding. From the studies, propanol and propan-2-ol are found to be more strongly attached to the surface of the interstellar dust grains which affects its overall gas phase abundance as compared to its isomer ethyl methyl ether which has been observed.

  12. Interstellar Matters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Verschuur, Gerrit L.

    In this provocative new book, radio astronomer and author Gerrit L. Verschuur describes the phenomena of scientific curiosity and discovery by following the exciting story of interstellar matter. The discovery of "stuff between the stars" was the result of decades of work by hundreds of astronomers, and the evolving recognition of its existence has profoundly changed the way we view the Universe. Verschuur begins with E.E. Barnard, who puzzled for a quarter century over the interpretation of photographs of dark patches between the stars. Verschuur then traces the tortuous path to acceptance of the existence of interstellar matter. He shares with us the thrill of discovery that motivates astronomers, the use of metaphors and modeling by scientist, and other tricks of the astronomical trade. Finally, we learn about the modern study of interstellar matter: the discovery of complex organic molecules between the stars and how they may have seeded the early earth with the precursors for life, new insights into star formation, the structure of the Milky Way and the elusive interstellar magnetic field. More than a history, Interstellar Matters is a detective story that evokes the excitement and serendipity of science against the background of a century of shared effort by the world community of astronomers. From the reviews: "I can't imagine anyone interested in astronomy who won't enjoy this book - it's chocked full of science, personalities and insights. We are products of the stuff between the stars - Verschuur tells the fascinating story of how its existence was discovered. Interstellar Matters is his best book, I think. It's certainly one of the best astronomy popularizations I've read." Leif J. Robinson, Sky and Teleskope#1

  13. Life's First Handshake - Discovery of the Interstellar Chiral Molecule Propylene Oxide

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGuire, Brett A.; Carroll, P. Brandon; Loomis, Ryan A.; Finneran, Ian A.; Jewell, Philip R.; Remijan, Anthony J.; Blake, Geoffrey A.

    2016-06-01

    Life on Earth relies on chiral molecules, that is, species not superimposable on their mirror images. This manifests itself in the selection of a single molecular handedness, or homochirality, across the biosphere, and is perhaps most readily apparent in the large enhancement in biological activity of particular amino acid and sugar enantiomers. Yet, the ancestral origin of biological homochirality remains a mystery. The non-racemic ratios in some organics isolated from primitive meteorites hint at a primordial chiral seed, but even these samples have experienced substantial processing during planetary assembly, obscuring their complete histories. To determine the underlying origin of any enantiomeric excess, it is critical to understand the molecular gas from which these molecules originated. Here, we present the first extra-solar, astronomical detection of a chiral molecule, propylene oxide (CH3CHCH2O), in absorption toward the Galactic Center. We discuss the implications of the detection on observational searches to determine a primordial chiral excess, as well as the state of laboratory efforts in these areas.

  14. PAHs in Translucent Interstellar Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salama, Farid; Galazutdinov, G.; Krelowski, J.; Biennier, L.; Beletsky, Y.; Song, I.

    2011-05-01

    We discuss the proposal of relating the origin of some of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) to neutral polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) present in translucent interstellar clouds. The spectra of several cold, isolated gas-phase PAHs have been measured in the laboratory under experimental conditions that mimic the interstellar conditions and are compared with an extensive set of astronomical spectra of reddened, early type stars. This comparison provides - for the first time - accurate upper limits for the abundances of specific PAH molecules along specific lines-of-sight. Something that is not attainable from IR observations alone. The comparison of these unique laboratory data with high resolution, high S/N ratio astronomical observations leads to two major findings: (1) a finding specific to the individual molecules that were probed in this study and, which leads to the clear and unambiguous conclusion that the abundance of these specific neutral PAHs must be very low in the individual translucent interstellar clouds that were probed in this survey (PAH features remain below the level of detection) and, (2) a general finding that neutral PAHs exhibit intrinsic band profiles that are similar to the profile of the narrow DIBs indicating that the carriers of the narrow DIBs must have close molecular structure and characteristics. This study is the first quantitative survey of neutral PAHs in the optical range and it opens the way for unambiguous quantitative searches of PAHs in a variety of interstellar and circumstellar environments. // Reference: F. Salama et al. (2011) ApJ. 728 (1), 154 // Acknowledgements: F.S. acknowledges the support of the NASA's Space Mission Directorate APRA Program. J.K. acknowledges the financial support of the Polish State (grant N203 012 32/1550). The authors are deeply grateful to the ESO archive as well as to the ESO staff members for their active support.

  15. Local Interstellar Medium Properties and Deuterium Abundances for the Lines of Sight Toward HR 1099, 31 Comae, beta Ceti, and beta Cassiopeiae

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Piskunov, Nikolai; Wood, Brian E.; Linsky, Jeffrey L.; Dempsey, Robert C.; Ayres, Thomas R.

    1997-01-01

    We analyze Goddard High-Resolution Spectrograph data to infer the properties of local interstellar gas and the Deuterium/Hydrogen (D/H) ratio for lines of sight toward four nearby late-type stars-HR 1099, 31 Comae, beta Ceti, and beta Cassiopeiae. The data consist of spectra of the hydrogen and deuterium Lyman-(alpha) lines, and echelle spectra of the Mg IIh and k lines toward all stars except beta Cas. Spectra of the RS CVn-type spectroscopic binary system HR 1099 were obtained near opposite quadratures to determine the intrinsic stellar emission line profile and the interstellar absorption separately. Multiple-velocity components were found toward HR 1099 and beta Cet. The spectra of 31 Com and beta Cet are particularly interesting because they sample lines of sight toward the north and south Galactic poles, respectively, for which H I and D I column densities were not previously available. The north Galactic pole appears to be a region of low hydrogen density like the 'interstellar tunnel' toward epsilon CMa. The temperature and turbulent velocities of the Local InterStellar Medium (LISM) that we measure for the lines of sight toward HR 1099, 31 Com, beta Cet, and beta Cas are similar to previously measured values (T approx.7000 K and xi = 1.0-1.6 km/s). The deuterium/hydrogen ratios found for these lines of sight are also consistent with previous measurements of other short lines of sight, which suggest D/H approx. 1.6 x 10(sup -5). In contrast, the Mg abundance measured for the beta Cet line of sight (implying a logarithmic depletion of D(Mg) = +0.30 +/- 0.15) is about 5 times larger than the Mg abundance previously observed toward alpha Cen, and about 20 times larger than all other previous measurements for the LISM. These results demonstrate that metal abundances in the LISM vary greatly over distances of only a few parsecs.

  16. Laboratory experiments on interstellar ice analogs: The sticking and desorption of small physisorbed molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fuchs, G. W.; Acharyya, K.; Bisschop, S. E.; Oberg, K. I.; vanBroekhuizen, F. A.; Fraser, H. J.; Schlemmer, S.; vanDishoeck, E. F.; Linnartz, H.

    2006-01-01

    Molecular oxygen and nitrogen are difficult to observe since they are infrared inactive and radio quiet. The low O2 abundances found so far combined with general considerations of dense cloud conditions suggest molecular oxygen is frozen out at low temperatures (< 20 K) in the shielded inner regions of cloud cores. In solid form O2 and N2 can only be observed as adjuncts within other ice constituents, like CO. In this work we focus on fundamental properties of N2 and O2 in CO ice-gas systems, e.g. desorption characteristics and sticking probabilities at low temperatures for different ice morphologies.

  17. VUV photoionization and dissociative photoionization spectroscopy of the interstellar molecule aminoacetonitrile: Theory and experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bellili, A.; Schwell, M.; Bénilan, Y.; Fray, N.; Gazeau, M.-C.; Mogren Al-Mogren, M.; Guillemin, J.-C.; Poisson, L.; Hochlaf, M.

    2015-09-01

    Aminoacetonitrile (AAN) is a key compound in astrochemistry and astrobiology. We present a combined theoretical and experimental investigation concerning the single photoionization of gas-phase AAN and the fragmentation pathways of the resulting cation. At present, we measured photoelectron photoion coincidence (PEPICO) spectra in the 9.8-13.6 eV energy regime using synchrotron radiation as exciting light source. In order to interpret the VUV experimental data obtained, we explored the ground potential energy surface (PES) of AAN and of its cation using standard and explicitly correlated quantum chemical methodologies. This allowed us to deduce accurate thermochemical data for this molecule. We also determined, for the first time, the adiabatic ionization energy of AAN to lie at AIE = (10.085 ± 0.03) eV. The unimolecular decomposition pathways of the resulting AAN+ parent cation are also investigated. The appearance energies of five fragments are determined for the first time, with 30 meV accuracy. Interestingly, our work shows the possibility of the formation of both HCN and HNC isomeric forms. The implications for the evolution of prebiotic molecules under VUV irradiation are briefly discussed.

  18. Communication: Ab initio study of O{sub 4}H{sup +}: A tracer molecule in the interstellar medium?

    SciTech Connect

    Xavier, George D.; Bernal-Uruchurtu, Margarita I.; Hernández-Lamoneda, Ramón

    2014-08-28

    The structure and energetics of the protonated molecular oxygen dimer calculated via ab initio methods is reported. We find structures that share analogies with the eigen and zundel forms for the protonated water dimer although the symmetrical sharing of the proton is more prevalent. Analysis of different fragmentation channels show charge transfer processes which indicate the presence of conical intersections for various states including the ground state. An accurate estimate for the proton affinity of O{sub 4} leads to a significantly larger value (5.6 eV) than for O{sub 2} (4.4 eV), implying that the reaction H{sub 3}{sup +} + O{sub 4} → O{sub 4}H{sup +} + H{sub 2} is exothermic by 28 Kcal/mol as opposed to the case of O{sub 2} which is nearly thermoneutral. This opens up the possibility of using O{sub 4}H{sup +} as a tracer molecule for oxygen in the interstellar medium.

  19. Elemental nitrogen partitioning in dense interstellar clouds

    PubMed Central

    Daranlot, Julien; Hincelin, Ugo; Bergeat, Astrid; Costes, Michel; Loison, Jean-Christophe; Wakelam, Valentine; Hickson, Kevin M.

    2012-01-01

    Many chemical models of dense interstellar clouds predict that the majority of gas-phase elemental nitrogen should be present as N2, with an abundance approximately five orders of magnitude less than that of hydrogen. As a homonuclear diatomic molecule, N2 is difficult to detect spectroscopically through infrared or millimeter-wavelength transitions. Therefore, its abundance is often inferred indirectly through its reaction product N2H+. Two main formation mechanisms, each involving two radical-radical reactions, are the source of N2 in such environments. Here we report measurements of the low temperature rate constants for one of these processes, the N + CN reaction, down to 56 K. The measured rate constants for this reaction, and those recently determined for two other reactions implicated in N2 formation, are tested using a gas-grain model employing a critically evaluated chemical network. We show that the amount of interstellar nitrogen present as N2 depends on the competition between its gas-phase formation and the depletion of atomic nitrogen onto grains. As the reactions controlling N2 formation are inefficient, we argue that N2 does not represent the main reservoir species for interstellar nitrogen. Instead, elevated abundances of more labile forms of nitrogen such as NH3 should be present on interstellar ices, promoting the eventual formation of nitrogen-bearing organic molecules. PMID:22689957

  20. Elemental nitrogen partitioning in dense interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Daranlot, Julien; Hincelin, Ugo; Bergeat, Astrid; Costes, Michel; Loison, Jean-Christophe; Wakelam, Valentine; Hickson, Kevin M

    2012-06-26

    Many chemical models of dense interstellar clouds predict that the majority of gas-phase elemental nitrogen should be present as N(2), with an abundance approximately five orders of magnitude less than that of hydrogen. As a homonuclear diatomic molecule, N(2) is difficult to detect spectroscopically through infrared or millimeter-wavelength transitions. Therefore, its abundance is often inferred indirectly through its reaction product N(2)H(+). Two main formation mechanisms, each involving two radical-radical reactions, are the source of N(2) in such environments. Here we report measurements of the low temperature rate constants for one of these processes, the N + CN reaction, down to 56 K. The measured rate constants for this reaction, and those recently determined for two other reactions implicated in N(2) formation, are tested using a gas-grain model employing a critically evaluated chemical network. We show that the amount of interstellar nitrogen present as N(2) depends on the competition between its gas-phase formation and the depletion of atomic nitrogen onto grains. As the reactions controlling N(2) formation are inefficient, we argue that N(2) does not represent the main reservoir species for interstellar nitrogen. Instead, elevated abundances of more labile forms of nitrogen such as NH(3) should be present on interstellar ices, promoting the eventual formation of nitrogen-bearing organic molecules.

  1. From Interstellar PAHs and Ices to the Origin of Life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allamandola, Louis J.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Tremendous strides have been made in our understanding of interstellar material over the past twenty years thanks to significant, parallel developments in observational astronomy and laboratory astrophysics. Twenty years ago the composition of interstellar dust was largely guessed at, the concept of ices in dense molecular clouds ignored, and the notion of large, abundant, gas phase, carbon rich molecules widespread throughout the interstellar medium (ISM) considered impossible. Today the composition of dust in the diffuse ISM is reasonably well constrained to micron-sized cold refractory materials comprised of amorphous and crystalline silicates mixed with an amorphous carbonaceous material containing aromatic structural units and short, branched aliphatic chains. In dense molecular clouds, the birthplace of stars and planets, these cold dust particles are coated with mixed molecular ices whose composition is very well constrained. Lastly, the signature of carbon-rich polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), shockingly large molecules by earlier interstellar chemistry standards, is widespread throughout the Universe. The first part of this lecture will describe how infrared studies of interstellar space, combined with laboratory simulations, have revealed the composition of interstellar ices (the building blocks of comets) and the high abundance and nature of interstellar PAHs. The laboratory database has now enabled us to gain insight into the identities, concentrations, and physical state of many interstellar materials. Within a dense molecular cloud, and especially in the solar nebula during the star and planet formation stage, the materials frozen into interstellar/precometary ices are photoprocessed by ultraviolet light, producing more complex molecules. The remainder of the presentation will focus on the photochemical evolution of these materials and the possible role of these compounds on the early Earth. As these materials are thought to be the building

  2. Spatial Distributions and Interstellar Reaction Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neill, Justin L.; Steber, Amanda L.; Muckle, Matt T.; Zaleski, Daniel P.; Lattanzi, Valerio; Spezzano, Silvia; McCarthy, Michael C.; Remijan, Anthony J.; Friedel, Douglas N.; Widicus Weaver, Susanna L.; Pate, Brooks H.

    2011-05-01

    Methyl formate presents a challenge for the conventional chemical mechanisms assumed to guide interstellar organic chemistry. Previous studies of potential formation pathways for methyl formate in interstellar clouds ruled out gas-phase chemistry as a major production route, and more recent chemical kinetics models indicate that it may form efficiently from radical-radical chemistry on ice surfaces. Yet, recent chemical imaging studies of methyl formate and molecules potentially related to its formation suggest that it may form through previously unexplored gas-phase chemistry. Motivated by these findings, two new gas-phase ion-molecule formation routes are proposed and characterized using electronic structure theory with conformational specificity. The proposed reactions, acid-catalyzed Fisher esterification and methyl cation transfer, both produce the less stable trans-conformational isomer of protonated methyl formate in relatively high abundance under the kinetically controlled conditions relevant to interstellar chemistry. Gas-phase neutral methyl formate can be produced from its protonated counterpart through either a dissociative electron recombination reaction or a proton transfer reaction to a molecule with larger proton affinity. Retention (or partial retention) of the conformation in these neutralization reactions would yield trans-methyl formate in an abundance that exceeds predictions under thermodynamic equilibrium at typical interstellar temperatures of interstellar clouds. Motivated by new theoretical predictions, the rotational spectrum of trans-methyl formate has been measured for the first time in the laboratory, and seven lines have now been detected in the interstellar medium using the publicly available PRIMOS survey from the NRAO Green Bank Telescope.

  3. Spatial distributions and interstellar reaction processes.

    PubMed

    Neill, Justin L; Steber, Amanda L; Muckle, Matt T; Zaleski, Daniel P; Lattanzi, Valerio; Spezzano, Silvia; McCarthy, Michael C; Remijan, Anthony J; Friedel, Douglas N; Widicus Weaver, Susanna L; Pate, Brooks H

    2011-06-23

    Methyl formate presents a challenge for the conventional chemical mechanisms assumed to guide interstellar organic chemistry. Previous studies of potential formation pathways for methyl formate in interstellar clouds ruled out gas-phase chemistry as a major production route, and more recent chemical kinetics models indicate that it may form efficiently from radical-radical chemistry on ice surfaces. Yet, recent chemical imaging studies of methyl formate and molecules potentially related to its formation suggest that it may form through previously unexplored gas-phase chemistry. Motivated by these findings, two new gas-phase ion-molecule formation routes are proposed and characterized using electronic structure theory with conformational specificity. The proposed reactions, acid-catalyzed Fisher esterification and methyl cation transfer, both produce the less stable trans-conformational isomer of protonated methyl formate in relatively high abundance under the kinetically controlled conditions relevant to interstellar chemistry. Gas-phase neutral methyl formate can be produced from its protonated counterpart through either a dissociative electron recombination reaction or a proton transfer reaction to a molecule with larger proton affinity. Retention (or partial retention) of the conformation in these neutralization reactions would yield trans-methyl formate in an abundance that exceeds predictions under thermodynamic equilibrium at typical interstellar temperatures of ≤100 K. For this reason, this conformer may prove to be an excellent probe of gas-phase chemistry in interstellar clouds. Motivated by new theoretical predictions, the rotational spectrum of trans-methyl formate has been measured for the first time in the laboratory, and seven lines have now been detected in the interstellar medium using the publicly available PRIMOS survey from the NRAO Green Bank Telescope.

  4. Observations of interstellar zinc

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    York, D. G.; Jura, M.

    1982-01-01

    IUE observations toward 10 stars have shown that zinc is not depleted in the interstellar medium by more than a factor of two, suggesting that its abundance may serve as a tracer of the true metallicity in the gas. A result pertinent to the history of nucleosynthesis in the solar neighborhood is that the local interstellar medium has abundances that appear to be homogeneous to within a factor of two, when integrated over paths of about 500 pc.

  5. Discovery of interstellar rubidium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jura, M.; Smith, W. H.

    1981-01-01

    Interstellar rubidium is detected through observations of the resonance line of Rb I at 7800 A towards zeta Oph. The abundance ratio of rubidium to potassium is estimated to be approximately solar, and if rubidium is generally found to have an abundance similar to potassium, it is indicated that the local interstellar medium is well mixed with a wide variety of the products of nucleosynthesis.

  6. THE SEARCH FOR THE DIFFUSE INTERSTELLAR BANDS AND OTHER MOLECULES IN COMETS 17P (HOLMES) AND C/2007 W1 (BOATTINI)

    SciTech Connect

    O'Malia, K. K. J.; Snow, T. P.; Thorburn, J. A.; Hammergren, M.; Dembicky, J.; Hobbs, L. M.; York, D. G.

    2010-01-01

    We present the search for both diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) and molecules in Comet 17P (Holmes) and Comet C/2007 W1 (Boattini) occultation observations. Absorption spectra were taken during stellar occultations by Comet Holmes of 31 and beta Persei, and the occultation of BD+22 216 by Comet Boattini. While no signature of the comets was detected, we present upper limits for some common cometary molecules such as C{sub 2}, C{sub 3}, CH, CN and for the most common DIBs. We did not detect either comet in absorption, most likely because of the large distance between the line of sight to the star and the nucleus of the comet. Interstellar sight lines with comparable reddening to what was measured in Comet Holmes have DIB equivalent widths between 5 and 50 mA. However, future observations with closer approaches to a background star have great potential for spatially mapping molecule distributions in comets, and in discovering DIBs, if they are present, in comets. Future observations could detect DIBs and molecules if they are done: (1) less than approx10{sup 4}-10{sup 3} km from the nucleus (2) with a signal to noise in the background star of approx300 and (3) with a resolving power of at least 38,000.

  7. Interstellar Dust Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dwek, Eli

    2004-01-01

    A viable interstellar dust model - characterized by the composition, morphology, and size distribution of the dust grains and by the abundance of the different elements locked up in the dust - should fit all observational constraints arising primarily from the interactions of the dust with incident radiation or the ambient gas. As a minimum, these should include the average interstellar extinction, the infrared emission from the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM), and the observed interstellar abundances of the various refractory elements. The last constraint has been largely ignored, resulting in dust models that require more elements to be in the dust phase than available in the ISM. In this talk I will describe the most recent advances towards the construction of a comprehensive dust model made by Zubko, Dwek, and Arendt, who, for the first time, included the interstellar abundances as explicit constraints in the construction of interstellar dust models. The results showed the existence of many distinct models that satisfy the basic set of observational constraints, including bare spherical silicate and graphite particles, PAHs, as well as spherical composite particles containing silicate, organic refractories, water ice, and voids. Recently, a new interstellar dust constituent has emerged, consisting of metallic needles. These needles constitute a very small fraction of the interstellar dust abundance, and their existence is primarily manifested in the 4 to 8 micron wavelength region, where they dominate the interstellar extinction. Preliminary studies show that these models may be distinguished by their X-ray halos, which are produced primarily by small angle scattering off large dust particles along the line of sight to bright X-ray sources, and probe dust properties largely inaccessible at other wavelengths.

  8. Gas Phase Spectroscopy of Cold PAH Ions: Contribution to the Interstellar Extinction and the Diffuse Interstellar Bands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Biennier, L.; Salama, F.; Allamandola, L. J.; Scherer, J. J.; OKeefe, A.

    2002-01-01

    Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon molecules (PAHs) are ubiquitous in the interstellar medium (ISM) and constitute the building blocks of interstellar dust grains. Despite their inferred important role in mediating the energetic and chemical processes in thc ISM, their exact contribution to the interstellar extinction, and in particular to the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) remains unclear. The DIBs are spectral absorption features observed in the line of sight of stars that are obscured by diffuse interstellar clouds. More than 200 bands have been reported to date spanning from the near UV to the near IR with bandwidths ranging from 0.4 to 40 Angstroms (Tielens & Snow 1995). The present consensus is that the DIBs arise from free flying, gas-phase, organic molecules and/or ions that are abundant under the typical conditions reigning in the diffuse ISM. PAHs have been proposed as possible carriers (Allamandola et al. 1985; Leger & DHendecourt 1985). The PAH hypothesis is consistent with the cosmic abundance of Carbon and Hydrogen and with the required photostability of the DIB carriers against the strong VUV radiation field in the diffuse interstellar clouds. A significant fraction of PAHs is expected to be ionized in the diffuse ISM.

  9. Present-day cosmic abundances. A comprehensive study of nearby early B-type stars and implications for stellar and Galactic evolution and interstellar dust models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nieva, M.-F.; Przybilla, N.

    2012-03-01

    Context. Early B-type stars are ideal indicators for present-day cosmic abundances since they preserve their pristine abundances and typically do not migrate far beyond their birth environments over their short lifetimes, in contrast to older stars like the Sun. They are also unaffected by depletion onto dust grains, unlike the cold/warm interstellar medium (ISM) or H ii regions. Aims: A carefully selected sample of early B-type stars in OB associations and the field within the solar neighbourhood is studied comprehensively. Quantitative spectroscopy is used to characterise their atmospheric properties in a self-consistent way. Present-day abundances for the astrophysically most interesting chemical elements are derived in order to investigate whether a present-day cosmic abundance standard can be established. Methods: High-resolution and high-S/N FOCES, FEROS and ELODIE spectra of well-studied sharp-lined early B-type stars are analysed in non-LTE. Line-profile fits based on extensive model grids and an iterative analysis methodology are used to constrain stellar parameters and elemental abundances at high accuracy and precision. Atmospheric parameters are derived from the simultaneous establishment of independent indicators, from multiple ionization equilibria and the Stark-broadened hydrogen Balmer lines, and they are confirmed by reproduction of the stars' global spectral energy distributions. Results: Effective temperatures are constrained to 1-2% and surface gravities to less than 15% uncertainty, along with accurate rotational, micro- and macroturbulence velocities. Good agreement of the resulting spectroscopic parallaxes with those from the new reduction of the Hipparcos catalogue is obtained. Absolute values for abundances of He, C, N, O, Ne, Mg, Si and Fe are determined to better than 25% uncertainty. The synthetic spectra match the observations reliably over almost the entire visual spectral range. Three sample stars, γ Ori, o Per and θ1 Ori D, are

  10. Near-infrared spectroscopy of M dwarfs. I. CO molecule as an abundance indicator of carbon†

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsuji, Takashi; Nakajima, Tadashi

    2014-10-01

    Based on the near-infrared spectra of 42 M dwarfs, carbon abundances are determined from the ro-vibrational lines of the CO (2-0) band. We apply Teff values based on the angular diameters if available or use the Teff values in a log Teff-M3.4 relation (M3.4 is the absolute magnitude at 3.4 μm based on the WISE W1 flux and the Hipparcos parallax) to estimate Teff values of objects for which angular diameters are unknown. Also, we discuss briefly the HR diagram of low-mass stars. On the observed spectrum of the M dwarf, the continuum is depressed by the numerous weak lines of H2O and only the depressed continuum or the pseudo-continuum can be seen. On the theoretical spectrum of the M dwarf, the true continuum can be evaluated easily but the pseudo-continuum can also be evaluated accurately thanks to the recent H2O line database. Then spectroscopic analysis of the M dwarf can be done by referring to the pseudo-continuum both on the observed and theoretical spectra. Since the basic principle of the spectroscopic analysis should be the same whether the true- or pseudo-continuum is referred to, the difficulty related to the continuum in cool stars can in principle be overcome. Then, the numerous CO lines can be excellent abundance indicators of carbon, since almost all the carbon atoms are in stable CO molecules which suffer little effect of the uncertainties in photospheric structure, and carbon abundances in late-type stars can best be determined in M dwarfs rather than in solar type stars. The resulting C/Fe ratios for most M dwarfs are nearly constant at about the solar value based on the classical high carbon abundance rather than on the recently revised lower value. This result implies that the solar carbon abundance is atypical for its metallicity among the stellar objects in the solar neighborhood if the downward revised carbon abundance is correct.

  11. The composition of interstellar molecular clouds.

    PubMed

    Irvine, W M

    1999-01-01

    We consider four-aspects of interstellar chemistry for comparison with comets: molecular abundances in general, relative abundances of isomers (specifically, HCN and HNC), ortho/para ratios for molecules, and isotopic fractionation, particularly for the ratio hydrogen/deuterium. Since the environment in which the solar system formed is not well constrained, we consider both isolated dark clouds where low mass stars may form and the "hot cores" that are the sites of high mass star formation. Attention is concentrated on the gas phase, since the grains are considered elsewhere in this volume.

  12. A search for interstellar H3O+.

    PubMed

    Wootten, A; Boulanger, F; Bogey, M; Combes, F; Encrenaz, P J; Gerin, M; Ziurys, L

    1986-01-01

    The P (2,1) line of H3O+, the hydroxonium ion, a key species in ion-molecule chemistry, has been sought in the interstellar medium and in Halley's Comet. In OMC1 and SgrB2, a line was detected which may possibly be attributed to H3O+. Verification of this identification must be accomplished through observation of the P(3,2) line at 364 GHz, or detection of isotopic variants. If we were to assume that the detected line arises from H3O+, we can deduce a fractional abundance X(H3O+) in OMC1 and SgrB2 of approximately 10(-9) and a production rate in Comet Halley of Q(H3O+) 10(28)s-1. These results would place H3O+ among the more abundant molecular ions in the interstellar gas in agreement with theoretical predictions.

  13. Laboratory absorption spectra of molecules at interstellar cloud temperatures - First measurements on CO at about 97 nm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, P. L.; Yoshino, K.; Stark, G.; Ito, K.; Stevens, M. H.

    1991-01-01

    In the 91-100 nm spectral region, where absorption of photons by interstellar CO usually leads to dissociation, laboratory spectra obtained at 295 K show that most CO bands are both overlapped and perturbed. Reliable band oscillator strengths cannot be extracted from such spectra. As a consequence, synthetic extreme-ultraviolet absorption spectra for CO at the low temperatures that prevail in interstellar clouds are uncertain. A supersonic expansion technique has been used to cool CO to 30 K and three bands in the 97-nm region have been studied with high spectral resolution. The measured spectrum at 30 K is in reasonable agreement with some published modeled spectra, but the ratios of integrated cross sections are somewhat different from those determined from low resolution spectra obtained at 295 K, in which the bands are blended.

  14. Investigating nearby star-forming galaxies in the ultraviolet with HST/COS spectroscopy. I. Spectral analysis and interstellar abundance determinations

    SciTech Connect

    James, B. L.; Aloisi, A.; Sohn, S. T.; Wolfe, M. A.; Heckman, T.

    2014-11-10

    This is the first in a series of three papers describing a project with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope to measure abundances of the neutral interstellar medium (ISM) in a sample of nine nearby star-forming galaxies. The goal is to assess the (in)homogeneities of the multiphase ISM in galaxies where the bulk of metals can be hidden in the neutral phase, yet the metallicity is inferred from the ionized gas in the H II regions. The sample, spanning a wide range in physical properties, is to date the best suited to investigate the metallicity behavior of the neutral gas at redshift z = 0. ISM absorption lines were detected against the far-ultraviolet spectra of the brightest star-forming region(s) within each galaxy. Here we report on the observations, data reduction, and analysis of these spectra. Column densities were measured by a multicomponent line-profile fitting technique, and neutral-gas abundances were obtained for a wide range of elements. Several caveats were considered, including line saturation, ionization corrections, and dust depletion. Ionization effects were quantified with ad hoc CLOUDY models reproducing the complex photoionization structure of the ionized and neutral gas surrounding the UV-bright sources. An 'average spectrum of a redshift z = 0 star-forming galaxy' was obtained from the average column densities of unsaturated profiles of neutral-gas species. This template can be used as a powerful tool for studies of the neutral ISM at both low and high redshift.

  15. Interstellar organic chemistry.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sagan, C.

    1972-01-01

    Most of the interstellar organic molecules have been found in the large radio source Sagittarius B2 toward the galactic center, and in such regions as W51 and the IR source in the Orion nebula. Questions of the reliability of molecular identifications are discussed together with aspects of organic synthesis in condensing clouds, degradational origin, synthesis on grains, UV natural selection, interstellar biology, and contributions to planetary biology.

  16. From Interstellar Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Ice to the Origin of Life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allamandola, Louis

    2004-01-01

    Tremendous strides have been made in our understanding of interstellar material over the past twenty years thanks to significant, parallel developments in observational astronomy and laboratory astrophysics. Twenty years ago the composition of interstellar dust was largely guessed at, the concept of ices in dense molecular clouds ignored, and the notion of large, abundant, gas phase, carbon rich molecules widespread throughout the interstellar medium (ISM) considered impossible. Today the composition of dust in the diffuse ISM is reasonably well constrained to cold refractory materials comprised of amorphous and crystalline silicates mixed with an amorphous carbonaceous material containing aromatic structural units and short, branched aliphatic chains. In the dense ISM, the birthplace of stars and planets, these cold dust particles are coated with mixed molecular ices whose composition is very well constrained. Lastly, the signature of carbon-rich polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), shockingly large molecules by early interstellar chemistry standards, is widespread throughout the Universe. The first part of this talk will describe how infrared studies of interstellar space, combined with laboratory simulations, have revealed the composition of interstellar ices (the building blocks of comets) and the high abundance and nature of interstellar PAHs. The laboratory database has now enabled us to gain insight into the identities, abundances, and physical state of many interstellar materials. Within a dense molecular cloud, and especially in the presolar nebula, the materials frozen into the interstellar/precometary ices are photoprocessed by ultraviolet light and produce more complex molecules. The remainder of the presentation will focus on the photochemical evolution of these materials and the possible role of these compounds on the to the carbonaceous components of micrometeorites, they are likely to have been important sources of complex materials on the early

  17. Interstellar Antifreeze: Ethylene Glycol

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollis, J. M.; Lovas, F. J.; Jewell, P. R.; Coudert, L. H.

    2002-01-01

    Interstellar ethylene glycol (HOCH2CH2,OH) has been detected in emission toward the Galactic center source Sagittarius B2(N-LMH) by means of several millimeter-wave rotational torsional transitions of its lowest energy conformer. The types and kinds of molecules found to date in interstellar clouds suggest a chemistry that favors aldehydes and their corresponding reduced alcohols-e.g., formaldehyde (H2CO)/methanol (CH3OH), acetaldehyde (CH3CHO)/ethanol (CH3CH2OH). Similarly, ethylene glycol is the reduced alcohol of glycolaldehyde (CH2OHCHO), which has also been detected toward Sgr B2(N-LMH). While there is no consensus as to how any such large complex molecules are formed in the interstellar clouds, atomic hydrogen (H) and carbon monoxide (CO) could form formaldehyde on grain surfaces, but such surface chemistry beyond that point is uncertain. However, laboratory experiments have shown that the gas-phase reaction of atomic hydrogen (H) and solid-phase CO at 10-20 K can produce formaldehyde and methanol and that alcohols and other complex molecules can be synthesized from cometary ice analogs when subject to ionizing radiation at 15 K. Thus, the presence of aldehyde/ reduced alcohol pairs in interstellar clouds implies that such molecules are a product of a low-temperature chemistry on grain surfaces or in grain ice mantles. This work suggests that aldehydes and their corresponding reduced alcohols provide unique observational constraints on the formation of complex interstellar molecules.

  18. Analyzing abundance of mRNA molecules with a near-infrared fluorescence technique.

    PubMed

    Chen, Ying; Pan, Yan; Zhang, Beibei; Wang, Jinke

    2014-01-01

    This study describes a simple method for analyzing the abundance of mRNA molecules in a total DNA sample. Due to the dependence on the near-infrared fluorescence technique, this method is named near-infrared fluorescence gene expression detection (NIRF-GED). The procedure has three steps: (1) isolating total RNA from detected samples and reverse-transcription into cDNA with a biotin-labeled oligo dT; (2) hybridizing cDNA to oligonucleotide probes coupled to a 96-well microplate; and (3) detecting biotins with NIRF-labeled streptavidin. The method was evaluated by performing proof-in-concept detections of absolute and relative expressions of housekeeping and NF-κB target genes in HeLa cells. As a result, the absolute expression of three genes, Ccl20, Cxcl2, and Gapdh, in TNF-α-uninduced HeLa cells was determined with a standard curve constructed on the same microplate, and the relative expression of five genes, Ccl20, Cxcl2, Il-6, STAT5A, and Gapdh, in TNF-α-induced and -uninduced HeLa cells was measured by using NIRF-GED. The results were verified by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and DNA microarray detections. The biggest advantage of NIRF-GED over the current techniques lies in its independence of exponential or linear amplification of nucleic acids. Moreover, NIRF-GED also has several other benefits, including high sensitivity as low as several fmols, absolute quantification in the range of 9 to 147 fmols, low cDNA consumption similar to qPCR template, and the current medium throughput in 96-well microplate format and future high throughput in DNA microarray format. NIRF-GED thus provides a new tool for analyzing gene transcripts and other nucleic acid molecules. PMID:24317515

  19. CaFe interstellar clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bondar, A.; Kozak, M.; Gnaciński, P.; Galazutdinov, G. A.; Beletsky, Y.; Krełowski, J.

    2007-07-01

    A new kind of interstellar cloud is proposed. These are rare (just a few examples among ~300 lines of sight) objects with the CaI 4227-Å, FeI 3720-Å and 3860-Å lines stronger than those of KI (near 7699 Å) and NaI (near 3302 Å). We propose the name `CaFe' for these clouds. Apparently they occupy different volumes from the well-known interstellar HI clouds where the KI and ultraviolet NaI lines are dominant features. In the CaFe clouds we have not found either detectable molecular features (CH, CN) or diffuse interstellar bands which, as commonly believed, are carried by some complex, organic molecules. We have found the CaFe clouds only along sightlines toward hot, luminous (and thus distant) objects with high rates of mass loss. In principle, the observed gas-phase interstellar abundances reflect the combined effects of the nucleosynthetic history of the material, the depletion of heavy elements into dust grains and the ionization state of these elements which may depend on irradiation by neighbouring stars. Based on data collected using the Maestro spectrograph at the Terskol 2-m telescope, Russia; and on data collected using the ESO Feros spectrograph; and on data obtained from the ESO Science Archive Facility acquired with the UVES spectrograph, Chile. E-mail: `arctur'@rambler.ru (AB); marizak@astri.uni.torun.pl (MK); pg@iftia.univ.gda.pl (PG); gala@boao.re.kr (GAG); ybialets@eso.org (YB); jacek@astri.uni.torun.pl (JK)

  20. Detection of abundant ethane and methane, along with carbon monoxide and water, in comet C/1996 B2 Hyakutake: evidence for interstellar origin.

    PubMed

    Mumma, M J; DiSanti, M A; Dello Russo, N; Fomenkova, M; Magee-Sauer, K; Kaminski, C D; Xie, D X

    1996-05-31

    The saturated hydrocarbons ethane (C2H6) and methane (CH4) along with carbon monoxide (CO) and water (H2O) were detected in comet C/1996 B2 Hyakutake with the use of high-resolution infrared spectroscopy at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The inferred production rates of molecular gases from the icy, cometary nucleus (in molecules per second) are 6.4 X 10(26) for C2H6, 1.2 X 10(27) for CH4, 9.8 X 10(27) for CO, and 1.7 X 10(29) for H2O. An abundance of C2H6 comparable to that of CH4 implies that ices in C/1996 B2 Hyakutake did not originate in a thermochemically equilibrated region of the solar nebula. The abundances are consistent with a kinetically controlled production process, but production of C2H6 by gas-phase ion molecule reactions in the natal cloud core is energetically forbidden. The high C2H6/CH4 ratio is consistent with production of C2H6 in icy grain mantles in the natal cloud, either by photolysis of CH4-rich ice or by hydrogen-addition reactions to acetylene condensed from the gas phase. PMID:8650540

  1. Detection of abundant ethane and methane, along with carbon monoxide and water, in comet C/1996 B2 Hyakutake: evidence for interstellar origin

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mumma, M. J.; DiSanti, M. A.; Dello Russo, N.; Fomenkova, M.; Magee-Sauer, K.; Kaminski, C. D.; Xie, D. X.

    1996-01-01

    The saturated hydrocarbons ethane (C2H6) and methane (CH4) along with carbon monoxide (CO) and water (H2O) were detected in comet C/1996 B2 Hyakutake with the use of high-resolution infrared spectroscopy at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The inferred production rates of molecular gases from the icy, cometary nucleus (in molecules per second) are 6.4 X 10(26) for C2H6, 1.2 X 10(27) for CH4, 9.8 X 10(27) for CO, and 1.7 X 10(29) for H2O. An abundance of C2H6 comparable to that of CH4 implies that ices in C/1996 B2 Hyakutake did not originate in a thermochemically equilibrated region of the solar nebula. The abundances are consistent with a kinetically controlled production process, but production of C2H6 by gas-phase ion molecule reactions in the natal cloud core is energetically forbidden. The high C2H6/CH4 ratio is consistent with production of C2H6 in icy grain mantles in the natal cloud, either by photolysis of CH4-rich ice or by hydrogen-addition reactions to acetylene condensed from the gas phase.

  2. Near-Infrared Band Strengths of Molecules Diluted in N2 and H20 Ice Mixtures Relevant to Interstellar and Planetary Ices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richey, C. R.; Richey, Christina R.

    2012-01-01

    In order to determine the column density of a component of an ice from its infrared absorption features, the strengths of these features must be known. The peak positions, widths, profiles, and strengths of a certain ice component's infrared absorption features are affected be the overall composition of the ice. Many satellites within the solar system have surfaces that are dominated by H2O or N2 and ices in the interstellar medium (ISM) are primarily composed of H2O. The experiments presented here focus on the near-infrared absorption features of CO, CO2, CH4, and NH3 (nu=10,000-4,000/cm, lambda=1-2.5 microns) and the effects of diluting these molecules in N2 or H2O ice (mixture ratio of 5:1). This is a continuation of previous results published by our research group.

  3. HERSCHEL OBSERVATIONS OF INTERSTELLAR CHLORONIUM

    SciTech Connect

    Neufeld, David A.; Indriolo, Nick; Roueff, Evelyne; Le Bourlot, Jacques; Le Petit, Franck; Snell, Ronald L.; Lis, Dariusz; Monje, Raquel; Phillips, Thomas G.; Benz, Arnold O.; Bruderer, Simon; Black, John H.; Larsson, Bengt; De Luca, Massimo; Gerin, Maryvonne; Goldsmith, Paul F.; Gupta, Harshal; Melnick, Gary J.; Menten, Karl M.; Nagy, Zsofia; and others

    2012-03-20

    Using the Herschel Space Observatory's Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared, we have observed para-chloronium (H{sub 2}Cl{sup +}) toward six sources in the Galaxy. We detected interstellar chloronium absorption in foreground molecular clouds along the sight lines to the bright submillimeter continuum sources Sgr A (+50 km s{sup -1} cloud) and W31C. Both the para-H{sup 35}{sub 2}Cl{sup +} and para-H{sup 37}{sub 2}Cl{sup +} isotopologues were detected, through observations of their 1{sub 11}-0{sub 00} transitions at rest frequencies of 485.42 and 484.23 GHz, respectively. For an assumed ortho-to-para ratio (OPR) of 3, the observed optical depths imply that chloronium accounts for {approx}4%-12% of chlorine nuclei in the gas phase. We detected interstellar chloronium emission from two sources in the Orion Molecular Cloud 1: the Orion Bar photodissociation region and the Orion South condensation. For an assumed OPR of 3 for chloronium, the observed emission line fluxes imply total beam-averaged column densities of {approx}2 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 13} cm{sup -2} and {approx}1.2 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 13} cm{sup -2}, respectively, for chloronium in these two sources. We obtained upper limits on the para-H{sup 35}{sub 2}Cl{sup +} line strengths toward H{sub 2} Peak 1 in the Orion Molecular cloud and toward the massive young star AFGL 2591. The chloronium abundances inferred in this study are typically at least a factor {approx}10 larger than the predictions of steady-state theoretical models for the chemistry of interstellar molecules containing chlorine. Several explanations for this discrepancy were investigated, but none has proven satisfactory, and thus the large observed abundances of chloronium remain puzzling.

  4. Herschel Observations of Interstellar Chloronium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neufeld, David A.; Roueff, Evelyne; Snell, Ronald L.; Lis, Dariusz; Benz, Arnold O.; Bruderer, Simon; Black, John H.; De Luca, Massimo; Gerin, Maryvonne; Goldsmith, Paul F.; Gupta, Harshal; Indriolo, Nick; Le Bourlot, Jacques; Le Petit, Franck; Larsson, Bengt; Melnick, Gary J.; Menten, Karl M.; Monje, Raquel; Nagy, Zsófia; Phillips, Thomas G.; Sandqvist, Aage; Sonnentrucker, Paule; van der Tak, Floris; Wolfire, Mark G.

    2012-03-01

    Using the Herschel Space Observatory's Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared, we have observed para-chloronium (H2Cl+) toward six sources in the Galaxy. We detected interstellar chloronium absorption in foreground molecular clouds along the sight lines to the bright submillimeter continuum sources Sgr A (+50 km s-1 cloud) and W31C. Both the para-H35 2Cl+ and para-H37 2Cl+ isotopologues were detected, through observations of their 111-000 transitions at rest frequencies of 485.42 and 484.23 GHz, respectively. For an assumed ortho-to-para ratio (OPR) of 3, the observed optical depths imply that chloronium accounts for ~4%-12% of chlorine nuclei in the gas phase. We detected interstellar chloronium emission from two sources in the Orion Molecular Cloud 1: the Orion Bar photodissociation region and the Orion South condensation. For an assumed OPR of 3 for chloronium, the observed emission line fluxes imply total beam-averaged column densities of ~2 × 1013 cm-2 and ~1.2 × 1013 cm-2, respectively, for chloronium in these two sources. We obtained upper limits on the para-H35 2Cl+ line strengths toward H2 Peak 1 in the Orion Molecular cloud and toward the massive young star AFGL 2591. The chloronium abundances inferred in this study are typically at least a factor ~10 larger than the predictions of steady-state theoretical models for the chemistry of interstellar molecules containing chlorine. Several explanations for this discrepancy were investigated, but none has proven satisfactory, and thus the large observed abundances of chloronium remain puzzling. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.

  5. Theoretical Modeling of Interstellar Chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Charnley, Steven

    2009-01-01

    The chemistry of complex interstellar organic molecules will be described. Gas phase processes that may build large carbon-chain species in cold molecular clouds will be summarized. Catalytic reactions on grain surfaces can lead to a large variety of organic species, and models of molecule formation by atom additions to multiply-bonded molecules will be presented. The subsequent desorption of these mixed molecular ices can initiate a distinctive organic chemistry in hot molecular cores. The general ion-molecule pathways leading to even larger organics will be outlined. The predictions of this theory will be compared with observations to show how possible organic formation pathways in the interstellar medium may be constrained. In particular, the success of the theory in explaining trends in the known interstellar organics, in predicting recently-detected interstellar molecules, and, just as importantly, non-detections, will be discussed.

  6. A Rigorous Attempt to Verify Interstellar Glycine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snyder, L. E.; Lovas, F. J.; Hollis, J. M.; Friedel, D. N.; Jewell, P. R.; Remijan, A.; Ilyushin, V. V.; Alekseev, E. A.; Dyubko, S. F.

    2004-01-01

    In 2003, Kuan, Charnley, and co-workers reported the detection of interstellar glycine (NH2CH2COOH) based on observations of 27 lines in 19 different spectral bands in one or more of the sources Sgr BP(N-LMH), Orion KL, and W51 e1/e2. They supported their detection report with rotational temperature diagrams for all three sources. In this paper, we present essential criteria which can be used in a straightforward analysis technique to confirm the identity of an interstellar asymmetric rotor such as glycine. We use new laboratory measurements of glycine as a basis for applying this analysis technique, both to our previously unpublished 12 m telescope data and to the previously published SEST data of Nummelin and colleagues. We conclude that key lines necessary for an interstellar glycine identification have not yet been found. We identify several common molecular candidates that should be examined further as more likely carriers of the lines reported as glycine. Finally, we illustrate that rotational temperature diagrams used without the support of correct spectroscopic assignments are not a reliable tool for the identification of interstellar molecules. Subject headings: ISM: abundances - ISM: clouds - ISM: individual (Sagittarius B2[N-

  7. Ammonia and nitrogen abundances in comets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wyckoff, Susan

    1990-01-01

    Comets consist of pristine material preserved from an earlier galactic epoch. Determination of the molecular, elemental, and isotopic abundances in the dust and volatile components of comet nuclei produce vital clues to the chemical evolution of both interstellar and solar nebula matter. Here the abundances of nitrogen-containing molecules in comets are considered. The molecular abundances of NH3 in four comets are summarized (Tegler 1990, Wyckoff, Tegler, and Engel, 1990). From an inventory of nitrogen-containing compounds (Wyckoff, Engel, and Tegler 1990, Wyckoff, Engel, Womack, Ferro, Tegler and Peterson, 1990), an estimate of the elemental N abundance is also presented.

  8. Interstellar fullerene compounds and diffuse interstellar bands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Omont, Alain

    2016-05-01

    Recently, the presence of fullerenes in the interstellar medium (ISM) has been confirmed and new findings suggest that these fullerenes may possibly form from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the ISM. Moreover, the first confirmed identification of two strong diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) with the fullerene, C60+, connects the long standing suggestion that various fullerenes could be DIB carriers. These new discoveries justify reassessing the overall importance of interstellar fullerene compounds, including fullerenes of various sizes with endohedral or exohedral inclusions and heterofullerenes (EEHFs). The phenomenology of fullerene compounds is complex. In addition to fullerene formation in grain shattering, fullerene formation from fully dehydrogenated PAHs in diffuse interstellar clouds could perhaps transform a significant percentage of the tail of low-mass PAH distribution into fullerenes including EEHFs. But many uncertain processes make it extremely difficult to assess their expected abundance, composition and size distribution, except for the substantial abundance measured for C60+. EEHFs share many properties with pure fullerenes, such as C60, as regards stability, formation/destruction and chemical processes, as well as many basic spectral features. Because DIBs are ubiquitous in all lines of sight in the ISM, we address several questions about the interstellar importance of various EEHFs, especially as possible carriers of diffuse interstellar bands. Specifically, we discuss basic interstellar properties and the likely contributions of fullerenes of various sizes and their charged counterparts such as C60+, and then in turn: 1) metallofullerenes; 2) heterofullerenes; 3) fulleranes; 4) fullerene-PAH compounds; 5) H2@C60. From this reassessment of the literature and from combining it with known DIB line identifications, we conclude that the general landscape of interstellar fullerene compounds is probably much richer than heretofore realized

  9. Highly Accurate Quantum-Chemical Calculations for the Interstellar Molecules C_3 and l-C_3H^+

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Botschwina, Peter; Schröder, Benjamin; Stein, Christopher; Sebald, Peter; Oswald, Rainer

    2014-06-01

    Composite potential energy surfaces with coupled-cluster contributions up to CCSDTQP were constructed for C_3 and l-C_3H^+ and used in the calculation of spectroscopic properties. The use of very large AO basis sets and the consideration of higher-order correlation beyond CCSD(T) is of utmost importance for C_3 in order to arrive at quantitative spectroscopic data. The first detection of l-C_3H^+ in the interstellar medium was reported by Pety et al., who attributed 9 radio lines observed in the horsehead photodissociation region to that species. That assignment was questioned by the recent theoretical work of Huang et al. However, our more accurate calculations are well in support of the original assignment. The calculated ground-state rotational constant is B_0 = 11248 MHz, only 0.03% off from the radio astronomical value of 11244.9512±0.0015 MHz. The ratio of centrifugal distortion constants D_0(exp.)/D_e(theor.) of 1.8 is quite large, but reasonable in comparison with C_3O and C_3. J. Pety, P. Gratier, V. Guzmán, E. Roueff, M. Gerin et al., Astron. Astrophys. 2012, A68, 1-8. X. Huang, R. C. Fortenberry, T. J. Lee, Astrophys. J. Lett. 2013, 768:L25, 1-5. P. Botschwina, R. Oswald, J. Chem. Phys. 2008, 129, 044305

  10. The 2014 KIDA Network for Interstellar Chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wakelam, V.; Loison, J.-C.; Herbst, E.; Pavone, B.; Bergeat, A.; Béroff, K.; Chabot, M.; Faure, A.; Galli, D.; Geppert, W. D.; Gerlich, D.; Gratier, P.; Harada, N.; Hickson, K. M.; Honvault, P.; Klippenstein, S. J.; Le Picard, S. D.; Nyman, G.; Ruaud, M.; Schlemmer, S.; Sims, I. R.; Talbi, D.; Tennyson, J.; Wester, R.

    2015-04-01

    Chemical models used to study the chemical composition of the gas and the ices in the interstellar medium are based on a network of chemical reactions and associated rate coefficients. These reactions and rate coefficients are partially compiled from data in the literature, when available. We present in this paper kida.uva.2014, a new updated version of the kida.uva public gas-phase network first released in 2012. In addition to a description of the many specific updates, we illustrate changes in the predicted abundances of molecules for cold dense cloud conditions as compared with the results of the previous version of our network, kida.uva.2011.

  11. Modelling Study of Interstellar Ethanimine Isomers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quan, Donghui; Herbst, Eric; Corby, Joanna F.; Durr, Allison; Hassel, George

    2016-06-01

    Ethanimine (CH3CHNH) , including both the E- and Z- isomers, were detected towards the star-forming region Sgr B2(N) using the GBT PRIMOS data (Loomis et al 2013), and were recently imaged by the ACTA (Corby et al. 2015). These aldimines can serve as precursors of biological molecules such as amino acids thus are considered prebiotic molecules in interstellar medium. In this study, we present chemical simulations of ethanimine with various physical conditions. From models for Sgr B2(N) and environs, calculated ethanimine abundances show reasonable agreement with observed values, while the translucent cloud models yield much lower abundances. These results agree with locations suggested by observations that ethanimine isomers were detected in the foreground of the shells of the hot core.

  12. H3+ in the diffuse interstellar medium.

    PubMed

    Liszt, Harvey S

    2006-11-15

    Three forms of solely hydrogen-bearing molecules--H2, HD and H3+--are observed in diffuse or optically transparent interstellar clouds. Although no comprehensive theory exists for the diffuse interstellar medium or its chemistry, the abundances of these species can generally be accommodated locally within the existing static equilibrium frameworks for heating/cooling, H2-formation on large grains, etc. with one modification demanded equally by observations of HD and H3+, i.e. a pervasive low-level source of H and H2 ionization ca 10 times faster than the usual cosmic ray ionization rate zetaH = 10(-17) s(-1) per free H-atom. We discuss this situation with reference to observation and time-dependent modelling of H2 and H3+ formation. While not wishing to appear ungrateful for the success of what are very simplistic notions of the interstellar medium, we point out several reasons not to feel smug. The equilibrium conditions which foster high H2 and H3+ abundances are very slow to appear and these same simple ideas of static equilibrium cannot explain any, but a few, of the simplest of the trace species, which are ubiquitously embedded in H2-bearing diffuse gases.

  13. Search for fullerenes and PAHs in the diffuse interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ehrenfreund, P.; Foing, B. H.

    1995-02-01

    Recent studies suggest carbon-containing molecules as the best candidates for carriers of the unidentified diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). considering their abundance and ability to form stable bonds in interstellar space. We have searched for new DIBs in the near-IR and have detected two new diffuse bands that are consistent with laboratory measurements of C 60+ in a neon matrix. Criteria for this possible identification are discussed. From these observations and the DIB treasured absorption. we estimate that up to 0.9% of interstellar carbon could be in the form of C 60+ We also searched for poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) canons and have derived corresponding limits for the presence of the coronene C 24H 12 and ovalene C 32H 14 cations in space. We have studied the ionization properties of these PAH cations, which could explain their selective destruction. From these results we discuss the role of fullerenes and PAHs as possible DIB carriers.

  14. Graphene etching on SiC grains as a path to interstellar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons formation.

    PubMed

    Merino, P; Švec, M; Martinez, J I; Jelinek, P; Lacovig, P; Dalmiglio, M; Lizzit, S; Soukiassian, P; Cernicharo, J; Martin-Gago, J A

    2014-01-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as well as other organic molecules appear among the most abundant observed species in interstellar space and are key molecules to understanding the prebiotic roots of life. However, their existence and abundance in space remain a puzzle. Here we present a new top-down route to form polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in large quantities in space. We show that aromatic species can be efficiently formed on the graphitized surface of the abundant silicon carbide stardust on exposure to atomic hydrogen under pressure and temperature conditions analogous to those of the interstellar medium. To this aim, we mimic the circumstellar environment using ultra-high vacuum chambers and investigate the SiC surface by in situ advanced characterization techniques combined with first-principles molecular dynamics calculations. These results suggest that top-down routes are crucial to astrochemistry to explain the abundance of organic species and to uncover the origin of unidentified infrared emission features from advanced observations.

  15. VizieR Online Data Catalog: Molecule and grain abundances (Marchand+, 2016)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marchand, P.; Masson, J.; Chabrier, G.; Hennebelle, P.; Commercon, B.; Vaytet, N.

    2016-06-01

    chemistry.tar is the fortran code that was used to compute the following table. abundance.txt is a 3D table giving the abundances of several ionised species over a wide range of density, temperature and cosmic rays ionisation rate, useful in prestellar core collapse conditions. The table is organised as follow : density (cm-3), temperature (K), ionisation rate (s-1), abundance of electrons, abundances of ions (metal (Mg etc.), molecular ions (HCO+), H3+, H+, C+, He+, K+, Na+), abundances of grains (grains +, grain -, neutral grains) for bins 1 to 5 (see Sect. 2.4 of the paper), total abundances of grains, integration time. Format : '(31(e24.17,2X))' Reading : ------------------------------------------------------------------------- read(unit,format) nrho, nT, nX, nvar read(unit,format) read(unit,format) read(unit,format) read(unit,format) do i=1,nX do j=1,nT do k=1,nrho read(unit,format) rho(k), T(j), Xi(i), abundance(k,j,i,1:nvar) end do read(unit,format) read(unit,format) end do read(unit,format) read(unit,format) end do ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The description of each column can be found in the header of the file. You can compute the resistivities using read_table.f90, which creates a table of resistivities with the same parameters and adding the magnetic field dependance (see Sect. 2.1 of the paper for the formulae used). You can use it as a subroutine in your code. (4 data files).

  16. Single-molecule tracing on a fluidic microchip for quantitative detection of low-abundance nucleic acids.

    PubMed

    Wang, Tza-Huei; Peng, Yahui; Zhang, Chunyang; Wong, Pak Kin; Ho, Chih-Ming

    2005-04-20

    Here, we report a method capable of quantitative detection of low-abundance DNA/RNA molecules by incorporating confocal fluorescence spectroscopy, molecular beacons, and a molecular-confinement microfluidic reactor. By using a combination of ac and dc fields via a trio of 3-D electrodes in the microreactor, we are able to precisely direct the transport of individual molecules to a minuscule laser-focused detection volume ( approximately 1 fL). A burst of fluorescence photons is detected whenever a molecular beacon-target hybrid flows through the detection region, and the amount of targets can be directly quantified according to the number of recorded single-molecule flow-through events. This assay consumes only attomoles of molecular probes and is able to quantitatively detect subpicomolar DNA targets. A measurement time of less than 2 min is sufficient to complete the detection.

  17. Deuterium Fractionation during Amino Acid Formation by Photolysis of Interstellar Ice Analogs Containing Deuterated Methanol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oba, Yasuhiro; Takano, Yoshinori; Watanabe, Naoki; Kouchi, Akira

    2016-08-01

    Deuterium (D) atoms in interstellar deuterated methanol might be distributed into complex organic molecules through molecular evolution by photochemical reactions in interstellar grains. In this study, we use a state-of-the-art high-resolution mass spectrometer coupled with a high-performance liquid chromatography system to quantitatively analyze amino acids and their deuterated isotopologues formed by the photolysis of interstellar ice analogs containing singly deuterated methanol CH2DOH at 10 K. Five amino acids (glycine, α-alanine, β-alanine, sarcosine, and serine) and their deuterated isotopologues whose D atoms are bound to carbon atoms are detected in organic residues formed by photolysis followed by warming up to room temperature. The abundances of singly deuterated amino acids are in the range of 0.3–1.1 relative to each nondeuterated counterpart, and the relative abundances of doubly and triply deuterated species decrease with an increasing number of D atoms in a molecule. The abundances of amino acids increase by a factor of more than five upon the hydrolysis of the organic residues, leading to decreases in the relative abundances of deuterated species for α-alanine and β-alanine. On the other hand, the relative abundances of the deuterated isotopologues of the other three amino acids did not decrease upon hydrolysis, indicating different formation mechanisms of these two groups upon hydrolysis. The present study facilitates both qualitative and quantitative evaluations of D fractionation during molecular evolution in the interstellar medium.

  18. Deuterium Fractionation during Amino Acid Formation by Photolysis of Interstellar Ice Analogs Containing Deuterated Methanol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oba, Yasuhiro; Takano, Yoshinori; Watanabe, Naoki; Kouchi, Akira

    2016-08-01

    Deuterium (D) atoms in interstellar deuterated methanol might be distributed into complex organic molecules through molecular evolution by photochemical reactions in interstellar grains. In this study, we use a state-of-the-art high-resolution mass spectrometer coupled with a high-performance liquid chromatography system to quantitatively analyze amino acids and their deuterated isotopologues formed by the photolysis of interstellar ice analogs containing singly deuterated methanol CH2DOH at 10 K. Five amino acids (glycine, α-alanine, β-alanine, sarcosine, and serine) and their deuterated isotopologues whose D atoms are bound to carbon atoms are detected in organic residues formed by photolysis followed by warming up to room temperature. The abundances of singly deuterated amino acids are in the range of 0.3-1.1 relative to each nondeuterated counterpart, and the relative abundances of doubly and triply deuterated species decrease with an increasing number of D atoms in a molecule. The abundances of amino acids increase by a factor of more than five upon the hydrolysis of the organic residues, leading to decreases in the relative abundances of deuterated species for α-alanine and β-alanine. On the other hand, the relative abundances of the deuterated isotopologues of the other three amino acids did not decrease upon hydrolysis, indicating different formation mechanisms of these two groups upon hydrolysis. The present study facilitates both qualitative and quantitative evaluations of D fractionation during molecular evolution in the interstellar medium.

  19. Interstellar matter research with the Copernicus satellite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spitzer, L., Jr.

    1976-01-01

    The use of the Copernicus satellite in an investigation of interstellar matter makes it possible to study absorption lines in the ultraviolet range which cannot be observed on the ground because of atmospheric absorption effects. A brief description is given of the satellite and the instrument used in the reported studies of interstellar matter. The results of the studies are discussed, giving attention to interstellar molecular hydrogen, the chemical composition of the interstellar gas, the coronal gas between the stars, and the interstellar abundance ratio of deuterium to hydrogen.

  20. An experimental study of the organic molecules produced in cometary and interstellar ice analogs by thermal formaldehyde reactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schutte, W. A.; Allamandola, L. J.; Sandford, S. A.

    1993-01-01

    Results of an experimental study tracing thermal formaldehyde reactions in astrophysically relevant ices in dense molecular clouds are reported. The formaldehyde chemistry during warm-up of ices containing H2CO and one or more of the molecules H2O, CH3OH, CO, O2, and NH3 were monitored using IR spectroscopy. Conversion of H2CO into residues was observed to start at about 40 K for NH3:H2CO ices and at about 80 K in H2O-rich ices. A total of five different organic products of these reactions were distinguished: POM and reaction products of H2CO and H2O, CH3OH, and NH3. Given the measured reaction paths and efficiencies, it is estimated that on the order of 1 percent of the organics found in the coma of Comet P/Halley could have been produced by thermal formaldehyde reactions taking place in the nucleus.

  1. Chemical Evolution in the Interstellar Medium: From Astrochemistry to Astrobiology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allamandola, Louis J.

    2009-01-01

    Great strides have been made in our understanding of interstellar material thanks to advances in infrared astronomy and laboratory astrophysics. Ionized polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), shockingly large molecules by earlier astrochemical standards, are widespread and very abundant throughout much of the Universe. In cold molecular clouds, the birthplace of planets and stars, interstellar molecules freeze onto dust and ice particles forming mixed molecular ices dominated by simple species such as water, methanol, ammonia, and carbon monoxide. Within these clouds, and especially in the vicinity of star and planet forming regions, these ices and PAHs are processed by ultraviolet light and cosmic rays forming hundreds of far more complex species, some of biogenic interest. Eventually, these are delivered to primordial planets by comets and meteorites. Astrochemical evolution, highlights of this field from a chemist's perspective, and the astronomer's infrared toolbox will be reviewed.

  2. Dissociative recombination of cold H3+ and its interstellar implications.

    PubMed

    McCall, Benjamin J

    2006-11-15

    H3+ plays a key role in interstellar chemistry as the initiator of ion-molecule chemistry. The amount of H3+ observed in dense interstellar clouds is consistent with expectations, but the large abundance of H3+ seen in diffuse clouds is not easily explained by simple chemical models. A crucial parameter in predicting the abundance of H3+ in diffuse clouds is the rate constant for dissociative recombination (DR) with electrons. The value of this constant has been very controversial, because different experimental techniques have yielded very different results, perhaps owing to varying degrees of rotational and vibrational excitation of the H3+ ions. If the value of this rate constant under interstellar conditions were much lower than usually assumed, the large H3+ abundance could be easily explained. In an attempt to pin down this crucial rate constant, we have performed DR measurements at the CRYRING ion storage ring in Stockholm, using a supersonic expansion ion source to produce rotationally cold H3+ ions. These measurements suggest that the DR rate constant in diffuse clouds is not much lower than usually assumed and that the abundant H3+ must be due to either a low electron fraction or a high ionization rate.

  3. Search for HCOCN in interstellar space.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gerin, M.

    1989-06-01

    More than 80 different molecular species have been observed in the interstellar medium (ISM) in one or more molecular sources (cf. the review of Irvine et al., 1987). Most of them were discovered and identified via their centimetre and millimetre lines. However, to get a better understanding of the complex chemical processes at work in interstellar clouds, we need to observe many more species. On the one hand, only a few among all species involved in the reaction networks are observed: most of the reactions are exothermic and involve radicals and/or molecular ions. These species have low abundances and complex spectra, and are therefore very difficult to detect, but their observation would provide important constraints on the chemical models. On the other hand, there are often competitive ways to synthesize complex molecules, with poorly known reaction rates. Observations of these elaborated species could provide constraints on the reaction rates, synthesis modes, and give an insight into the degree of complexity that this kind of chemical system can reach (how many heavy atoms, and what structure can we observe/ are present in complex molecules?). This research topic was initiated by the search of Glycine and Urea after several organic molecules were found in the ISM in the mid 1970's (Hollis et al., 1980; Guelin 1989).

  4. On an Interstellar Origin for N-15 Fractionation in Meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Charnley, S. B.; Rodgers, S. D.

    2001-01-01

    We have shown that interstellar chemistry could produce much larger N-15/N-14 fractionation in specific interstellar molecules than previously thought. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  5. Quaternary ammonium compounds can be abundant in some soils and are taken up as intact molecules by plants.

    PubMed

    Warren, Charles R

    2013-04-01

    Studies of organic nitrogen (N) cycling and uptake by plants have focused on protein amino acids, but the soil solution includes organic N compounds from many other compound classes. The two aims of this study were to characterize the 30-50 most abundant molecules of small (< 250 Da), nonpeptide organic N in the soil solution from six soils, and to determine if two ecologically disparate species (nonmycorrhizal Banksia oblongifolia and mycorrhizal Triticum aestivum) have the ability to take up intact molecules of three quaternary ammonium compounds (betaine, carnitine and acetyl-carnitine). Protein amino acids were dominant components of the pool of small nonpeptide organic N in all soils. The most abundant other compound classes were quaternary ammonium compounds (1-28% of nonpeptide small organic N) and nonprotein amino acids (3-19% of nonpeptide small organic N). B. oblongifolia and T. aestivum took up intact quaternary ammonium compounds from dilute hydroponic solution, while T. aestivum growing in field soil took up intact quaternary ammonium compounds injected into soil. Results of this study show that the pool of organic N in soil is more diverse and plants have an even broader palate than is suggested by most of the literature on organic N.

  6. Detection of Interstellar CH3.

    PubMed

    Feuchtgruber; Helmich; van Dishoeck EF; Wright

    2000-06-01

    Observations with the Short Wavelength Spectrometer on board the Infrared Space Observatory have led to the first detection of the methyl radical CH(3) in the interstellar medium. The nu(2) Q-branch at 16.5 µm and the R(0) line at 16.0 µm have been unambiguously detected toward the Galactic center Sagittarius A*. The analysis of the measured bands gives a column density of &parl0;8.0+/-2.4&parr0;x1014 cm(-2) and an excitation temperature of 17+/-2 K. Gaseous CO at a similarly low excitation temperature and C(2)H(2) are detected for the same line of sight. Using constraints on the H(2) column density obtained from C(18)O and visual extinction, the inferred CH(3) abundance is &parl0;1.3+2.2-0.7&parr0;x10-8. The chemically related CH(4) molecule is not detected, but the pure rotational lines of CH are seen with the Long Wavelength Spectrometer. The absolute abundances and the CH(3)/CH(4) and CH(3)/CH ratios are inconsistent with published pure gas-phase models of dense clouds. The data require a mix of diffuse and translucent clouds with different densities and extinctions, and/or the development of translucent models in which gas-grain chemistry, freeze-out, and reactions of H with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and solid aliphatic material are included.

  7. Chemical solver to compute molecule and grain abundances and non-ideal MHD resistivities in prestellar core-collapse calculations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marchand, P.; Masson, J.; Chabrier, G.; Hennebelle, P.; Commerçon, B.; Vaytet, N.

    2016-07-01

    We develop a detailed chemical network relevant to calculate the conditions that are characteristic of prestellar core collapse. We solve the system of time-dependent differential equations to calculate the equilibrium abundances of molecules and dust grains, with a size distribution given by size-bins for these latter. These abundances are used to compute the different non-ideal magneto-hydrodynamics resistivities (ambipolar, Ohmic and Hall), needed to carry out simulations of protostellar collapse. For the first time in this context, we take into account the evaporation of the grains, the thermal ionisation of potassium, sodium, and hydrogen at high temperature, and the thermionic emission of grains in the chemical network, and we explore the impact of various cosmic ray ionisation rates. All these processes significantly affect the non-ideal magneto-hydrodynamics resistivities, which will modify the dynamics of the collapse. Ambipolar diffusion and Hall effect dominate at low densities, up to nH = 1012 cm-3, after which Ohmic diffusion takes over. We find that the time-scale needed to reach chemical equilibrium is always shorter than the typical dynamical (free fall) one. This allows us to build a large, multi-dimensional multi-species equilibrium abundance table over a large temperature, density and ionisation rate ranges. This table, which we make accessible to the community, is used during first and second prestellar core collapse calculations to compute the non-ideal magneto-hydrodynamics resistivities, yielding a consistent dynamical-chemical description of this process. The multi-dimensional multi-species equilibrium abundance table and a copy of the code are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (http://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/592/A18

  8. Detection of organic matter in interstellar grains.

    PubMed

    Pendleton, Y J

    1997-06-01

    Star formation and the subsequent evolution of planetary systems occurs in dense molecular clouds, which are comprised, in part, of interstellar dust grains gathered from the diffuse interstellar medium (DISM). Radio observations of the interstellar medium reveal the presence of organic molecules in the gas phase and infrared observational studies provide details concerning the solid-state features in dust grains. In particular, a series of absorption bands have been observed near 3.4 microns (approximately 2940 cm-1) towards bright infrared objects which are seen through large column densities of interstellar dust. Comparisons of organic residues, produced under a variety of laboratory conditions, to the diffuse interstellar medium observations have shown that aliphatic hydrocarbon grains are responsible for the spectral absorption features observed near 3.4 microns (approximately 2940 cm-1). These hydrocarbons appear to carry the -CH2- and -CH3 functional groups in the abundance ratio CH2/CH3 approximately 2.5, and the amount of carbon tied up in this component is greater than 4% of the cosmic carbon available. On a galactic scale, the strength of the 3.4 microns band does not scale linearly with visual extinction, but instead increases more rapidly for objects near the Galactic Center. A similar trend is noted in the strength of the Si-O absorption band near 9.7 microns. The similar behavior of the C-H and Si-O stretching bands suggests that these two components may be coupled, perhaps in the form of grains with silicate cores and refractory organic mantles. The ubiquity of the hydrocarbon features seen in the near infrared near 3.4 microns throughout out Galaxy and in other galaxies demonstrates the widespread availability of such material for incorporation into the many newly forming planetary systems. The similarity of the 3.4 microns features in any organic material with aliphatic hydrocarbons underscores the need for complete astronomical observational

  9. Interstellar Isotopes: Prospects with ALMA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Charnley Steven B.

    2010-01-01

    Cold molecular clouds are natural environments for the enrichment of interstellar molecules in the heavy isotopes of H, C, N and O. Anomalously fractionated isotopic material is found in many primitive Solar System objects, such as meteorites and comets, that may trace interstellar matter that was incorporated into the Solar Nebula without undergoing significant processing. Models of the fractionation chemistry of H, C, N and O in dense molecular clouds, particularly in cores where substantial freeze-out of molecules on to dust has occurred, make several predictions that can be tested in the near future by molecular line observations. The range of fractionation ratios expected in different interstellar molecules will be discussed and the capabilities of ALMA for testing these models (e.g. in observing doubly-substituted isotopologues) will be outlined.

  10. PROSPECTS FOR THE DETECTION OF INTERSTELLAR CYANOVINYLIDENE

    SciTech Connect

    Kolos, Robert; Gronowski, Marcin; Dobrowolski, Jan Cz.

    2009-08-10

    Prospects for the presence and detection of interstellar cyanovinylidene, CC(H)CN, a Y-shaped isomer of cyanoacetylene, are discussed. It is proposed that CC(H)CN can arise in interstellar clouds as one of the HC{sub 3}NH{sup +} + e {sup -} dissociative recombination products, by rearrangements of the neutral chain radical HC{sub 3}NH into branched species HCCC(H)N, CC(H)C(H)N, and/or HCC(H)CN, and by the subsequent elimination of a hydrogen atom. It is deduced that the abundance of cyanovinylidene in molecular clouds should be confined between the abundances of its chain isomers HNCCC and HCNCC. Quantum chemical predictions regarding cyanovinylidene geometry, ground-state rotational constants, centrifugal distortion constants, spin-orbit coupling, IR absorption spectroscopy, and electric dipole moment are given. The spectroscopically observed molecules formyl cyanide, NC{sub 2}(H)O, and propynal, HC{sub 3}(H)O, with structures qualitatively resembling cyanovinylidene, served to prove the adequacy of the calculational procedures employed.

  11. Near-infrared spectroscopy of M dwarfs. II. H2O molecule as an abundance indicator of oxygen†

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsuji, Takashi; Nakajima, Tadashi; Takeda, Yoichi

    2015-04-01

    Based on the near-infrared spectra (R ≈ 20000) of M dwarfs, oxygen abundances are determined from the rovibrational lines of H2O. Although H2O lines in M dwarfs are badly blended with each other and the continuum levels are depressed appreciably by the collective effect of the numerous H2O lines themselves, quantitative analysis of H2O lines has been carried out by referring to the pseudo-continua, consistently defined on the observed and theoretical spectra. For this purpose, the pseudo-continuum on the theoretical spectrum has been evaluated accurately by the use of the recent high-precision H2O line-list. Then, we propose a simple and flexible method of analyzing the equivalent widths (EWs) of blended features (i.e., not necessarily limited to single lines) by the use of a mini-curve-of-growth (CG), which is a small portion of the usual CG around the observed EW. The mini-CG is generated by using the theoretical EWs evaluated from the synthetic spectrum in exactly the same way as the EWs are measured from the observed spectrum. The observed EW is converted to the abundance by the use of the mini-CG, and the process is repeated for all the observed EWs line-by-line or blend-by-blend. In cool M dwarfs, almost all the oxygen atoms left after CO formation are in stable H2O molecules, which suffer little change for the uncertainties due to imperfect modelling of the photospheres. Thus the numerous H2O lines are excellent abundance indicators of oxygen. The oxygen abundances are determined to be log AO (AO = NO/NH) between -3.5 and -3.0 in 38 M dwarfs, but cannot be determined in four early M dwarfs in which H2O lines are detected only marginally. The resulting log AO/AC values plotted against log AC appear to be systematically smaller in the carbon-rich M dwarfs, showing the different formation histories of oxygen and carbon in the chemical evolution of the Galactic disk. Also, AO/AFe ratios in most M dwarfs are closer to the solar AO/AFe ratio, based on the

  12. The chemistry of dense interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, W. M.

    1991-01-01

    The basic theme of this program is the study of molecular complexity and evolution in interstellar and circumstellar clouds incorporating the biogenic elements. Recent results include the identification of a new astronomical carbon-chain molecule, C4Si. This species was detected in the envelope expelled from the evolved star IRC+10216 in observations at the Nobeyama Radio Observatory in Japan. C4Si is the carrier of six unidentified lines which had previously been observed. This detection reveals the existence of a new series of carbon-chain molecules, C sub n Si (n equals 1, 2, 4). Such molecules may well be formed from the reaction of Si(+) with acetylene and acetylene derivatives. Other recent research has concentrated on the chemical composition of the cold, dark interstellar clouds, the nearest dense molecular clouds to the solar system. Such regions have very low kinetic temperatures, on the order of 10 K, and are known to be formation sites for solar-type stars. We have recently identified for the first time in such regions the species of H2S, NO, HCOOH (formic acid). The H2S abundance appears to exceed that predicted by gas-phase models of ion-molecule chemistry, perhaps suggesting the importance of synthesis on grain surfaces. Additional observations in dark clouds have studied the ratio of ortho- to para-thioformaldehyde. Since this ratio is expected to be unaffected by both radiative and ordinary collisional processes in the cloud, it may well reflect the formation conditions for this molecule. The ratio is observed to depart from that expected under conditions of chemical equilibrium at formation, perhaps reflecting efficient interchange between cold dust grains in the gas phase.

  13. Interstellar grains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snow, T. P.

    1986-01-01

    There are few aspects of interstellar grains that can be unambiguously defined. Very little can be said that is independent of models or presuppositions; hence issues are raised and questions categorized, rather than providing definitive answers. The questions are issues fall into three general areas; the general physical and chemical nature of the grains; the processes by which they are formed and destroyed; and future observational approaches.

  14. Time scales for molecule formation by ion-molecule reactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, W. D.; Glassgold, A. E.

    1976-01-01

    Analytical solutions are obtained for nonlinear differential equations governing the time-dependence of molecular abundances in interstellar clouds. Three gas-phase reaction schemes are considered separately for the regions where each dominates. The particular case of CO, and closely related members of the Oh and CH families of molecules, is studied for given values of temperature, density, and the radiation field. Nonlinear effects and couplings with particular ions are found to be important. The time scales for CO formation range from 100,000 to a few million years, depending on the chemistry and regime. The time required for essentially complete conversion of C(+) to CO in the region where the H3(+) chemistry dominates is several million years. Because this time is longer than or comparable to dynamical time scales for dense interstellar clouds, steady-state abundances may not be observed in such clouds.

  15. Detection of [SiLL] (34.8 micron) emission in Orion-KL: A measurement of the silicon abundance in dense interstellar gas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haas, M. R.; Hollenbach, D. J.; Erickson, E. F.

    1985-01-01

    The first detection of the ground state fine structure transition of Si+ at a rest wavelength determined to be 34.815 + or - 0.004 micron are reported. These observations were obtained with the facility spectrometer on NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory. A 6' NW-SE strip scan across the Orion-KL region shows SiII emission from both the extended photodissociation region surrounding theta 1 Ori C and from the shocked gas NW of BN-KL. The inferred gas-phase silicon elemental abundance relative to hydrogen in the dense 10 to the 5/cc primarily neutral photodissociation region is approximately 2.6 x to the -6, a factor of 0.075 times the solar value and 3.4 times greater than the abundance in the moderate density approx. 10 to the 3/cc cloud toward zeta Oph. The silicon abundance in the shocked gas is approximately solar, indicating that any pre-existing grains have been destroyed in the shock wave or that the preshock gas carries a near solar abundance of gas phase silicon. The shock-excited SiII (34.8 micron) emission may arise from shocked wind material in the outflow around IRc2, with wind velocities approx. 100 km/s.

  16. Observations of Carbon Isotopic Fractionation in Interstellar Formaldehyde

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wirstrom, E. S.; Charnley, S. B.; Geppert, W. D.; Persson, C. M.

    2012-01-01

    Primitive Solar System materials (e.g. chondrites. IDPs, the Stardust sample) show large variations in isotopic composition of the major volatiles (H, C, N, and O ) even within samples, witnessing to various degrees of processing in the protosolar nebula. For ex ample. the very pronounced D enhancements observed in IDPs [I] . are only generated in the cold. dense component of the interstellar medium (ISM), or protoplanetary disks, through ion-molecule reactions in the presence of interstellar dust. If this isotopic anomaly has an interstellar origin, this leaves open the possibility for preservation of other isotopic signatures throughout the form ation of the Solar System. The most common form of carbon in the ISM is CO molecules, and there are two potential sources of C-13 fractionation in this reservoir: low temperature chemistry and selective photodissociation. While gas-phase chemistry in cold interstellar clouds preferentially incorporates C-13 into CO [2], the effect of self-shielding in the presence of UV radiation instead leads to a relative enhancement of the more abundant isotopologue, 12CO. Solar System organic material exhibit rather small fluctuations in delta C-13 as compared to delta N-15 and delta D [3][1], the reason for which is still unclear. However, the fact that both C-13 depleted and enhanced material exists could indicate an interstellar origin where the two fractionation processes have both played a part. Formaldehyde (H2CO) is observed in the gas-phase in a wide range of interstellar environments, as well as in cometary comae. It is proposed as an important reactant in the formation of more complex organic molecules in the heated environments around young stars, and formaldehyde polymers have been suggested as the common origin of chondritic insoluable organic matter (IOM) and cometary refractory organic solids [4]. The relatively high gas-phase abundance of H2CO observed in molecular clouds (10(exp- 9) - 10(exp- 8) relative to H2) makes

  17. The Exobiological Role of Interstellar Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Ices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hudgins, Douglas M.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Tremendous strides have been made in our understanding of interstellar material over the past twenty years thanks to significant, parallel developments in observational astronomy and laboratory astrophysics. Before this time, the composition of interstellar dust was largely guessed-at, the presence of ices in interstellar clouds ignored, and the notion that large, gas phase, carbon rich molecules might be abundant and widespread throughout the interstellar medium (ISM) considered impossible. Today, the composition of dust in the ISM is reasonably well constrained to micron-sized cold refractory materials comprised of amorphous and crystalline silicates mixed with an amorphous carbonaceous material containing aromatic structural units and short, branched aliphatic chains. Shrouded within the protective confines of cold, opaque molecular clouds--the birthplace of stars and planets--these cold dust particles secrete mantles of mixed molecular ices whose compositions are also well constrained. Finally, amidst the molecular inventory of these ice mantles are likely to be found polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), shockingly large molecules by the standards of interstellar chemistry, the telltale infrared spectral signature of which is now recognized throughout the Universe. In the first part of this talk, we will review the spectroscopic evidence that forms the basis for the currently accepted abundance and ubiquity of PANs in the ISM. We will then look at a few specific examples which illustrate how experimental and theoretical data can be applied to interpret the interstellar spectra and track how the PAN population evolves as it passes from its formation site in the circumstellar outflows of dying stars, through the various phases of the ISM, and into forniing planetary systems. Nevertheless, despite the fact that PANs likely represent the single largest molecular reservoir of organic carbon in evolving planetary systems, they are not what would be considered

  18. The inventory of interstellar materials available for the formation of the solar system.

    PubMed

    Sandford, S A

    1996-07-01

    Tremendous progress has been made in the field of interstellar dust in recent years through the use of telescopic observations, theoretical studies, laboratory studies of analogs, and the study of actual interstellar samples found in meteorites. It is increasingly clear that the interstellar medium (ISM) contains an enormous diversity of materials created by a wide range of chemical and physical processes. This understanding is a far cry from the picture of interstellar materials held as recently as two decades ago, a picture which incorporated only a few generic types of grains and few molecules. In this paper, I attempt to review some of our current knowledge of the more abundant materials thought to exist in the ISM. The review concentrates on matter in interstellar dense molecular clouds since it is the materials in these environments from which new stars and planetary systems are formed. However, some discussion is reserved for materials in circumstellar environments and in the diffuse ISM. The paper also focuses largely on solid materials as opposed to gases since solids contain a major fraction of the heavier elements in clouds and because solids are most likely to survive incorporation into new planetary systems in identifiable form. The paper concludes with a discussion of some of the implications resulting from the recent growth of our knowledge about interstellar materials and also considers a number of areas in which future work might be expected to yield important results.

  19. Organic chemistry and biology of the interstellar medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sagan, C.

    1973-01-01

    Interstellar organic chemistry is discussed as the field of study emerging from the discovery of microwave lines of formaldehyde and of hydrogen cyanide in the interstellar medium. The reliability of molecular identifications and comparisons of interstellar and cometary compounds are considered, along with the degradational origin of simple organics. It is pointed out that the contribution of interstellar organic chemistry to problems in biology is not substantive but analogical. The interstellar medium reveals the operation of chemical processes which, on earth and perhaps on vast numbers of planets throughout the universe, led to the origin of life, but the actual molecules of the interstellar medium are unlikely to play any significant biological role.

  20. Abundances of Deuterium, Oxygen and Nitrogen in the Local Interstellar Medium: Overview of First Results from the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moos, H. W.; Sembach, K. R.; Vidal-Madjar, A.; York, D. G.; Friedman, S. D.; Hebrard, G.; Kruk, J. W.; Lehner, N.; Lemoine, M.; Sonneborn, G.; Oegerle, William R. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Observations obtained with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) have been used to determine the column densities of D I, O I, and N I along seven sight lines that probe the local interstellar medium (LISM) at distances from 37 pc to 179 pc. Five of the sight lines are within the Local Bubble and two penetrate the surrounding H I wall. Reliable values of N(H I) were determined for five of the sight lines from HST data, IUE data, and published EUVE measurements. The weighted mean of DI/H I for these five sight lines is (1.52 +/- 0.08) x l0(exp -5)(1 sigma uncertainty in the mean). It is likely that the D I/H I ratio in the Local Bubble has a single value. The D I/O I ratio for the five sight lines within the Local Bubble is (3.76 +/- 0.20) x 10(esp -2). It is likely that O I column densities can serve as a proxy for H I in the Local Bubble. The weighted mean for O I/ H I for the seven FUSE sight lines is (3.03 +/- 0.21) x 10(esp -4), comparable to the weighted mean (3.43 +/- 0.15) x 10(exp -4) reported for 13 sight lines probing larger distances and higher column densities. The FUSE weighted mean of N I/ H I for five sight lines is half that reported by Meyer et al. for seven sight lines with larger distances and higher column densities. This result combined with the variability of O I/ N I (six sight lines) indicates that at the low column densities found in the LISM, nitrogen ionization balance is important. Thus, unlike O I, N I cannot be used as a proxy for H I or as a metallicity indicator in the LISM.

  1. FORMATION OF GLYCINE ON ULTRAVIOLET-IRRADIATED INTERSTELLAR ICE-ANALOG FILMS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR INTERSTELLAR AMINO ACIDS

    SciTech Connect

    Lee, Chang-Woo; Kim, Joon-Ki; Moon, Eui-Seong; Kang, Heon; Minh, Y. C.

    2009-05-20

    We report the synthesis of glycine on interstellar ice-analog films composed of water, methylamine (MA), and carbon dioxide under irradiation of ultraviolet (UV) photons. Analysis of the UV-irradiated ice films by in situ mass spectrometric methods revealed glycine and other isomers as photochemical products. Deuterium-labeling experiments were conducted to determine the structures of the photoproducts and to examine their formation pathways. The reactions occur via photocleavages of C-H and N-H bonds in MA, followed by subsequent reactions of the nascent H atom with CO{sub 2}, leading to the formation of HOCO and then to glycine and carbamic acid. The photochemical synthesis of glycine occurs efficiently at the ice surfaces, and the competing photosynthesis and photodestruction processes can reach a steady-state kinetic balance at an extended UV exposure, maintaining a substantial population level of glycine. The observation suggests that interstellar amino acids can be created on ice grains, and that they can also be stored in the ices by maintaining a kinetic balance under interstellar UV irradiation. As such, the transport of amino acids in interstellar space may be possible without depleting the net abundance of amino acids in the ices but rather increasing the structural diversity of the molecules.

  2. Interstellar grains within interstellar grains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bernatowicz, Thomas J.; Amari, Sachiko; Zinner, Ernst K.; Lewis, Roy S.

    1991-01-01

    Five interstellar graphite spherules extracted from the Murchison carbonaceous meteorite are studied. The isotopic and elemental compositions of individual particles are investigated with the help of an ion microprobe, and this analysis is augmented with structural studies of ultrathin sections of the grain interiors by transmission electron microscopy. As a result, the following procedure for the formation of the interstellar graphite spherule bearing TiC crystals is inferred: (1) high-temperature nucleation and rapid growth of the graphitic carbon spherule in the atmosphere of a carbon-rich star, (2) nucleation and growth of TiC crystals during continued growth of the graphitic spherule and the accretion of TiC onto the spherule, (3) quenching of the graphite growth process by depletion of C or by isolation of the spherule before other grain types could condense.

  3. Boundary Conditions for the Paleoenvironment: Chemical and Physical Processes in Dense Interstellar Clouds: Summary of Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, William M.

    1999-01-01

    The basic theme of this program was the study of molecular complexity and evolution for the biogenic elements and compounds in interstellar clouds and in primitive solar system objects. Research included the detection and study of new interstellar and cometary molecules and investigation of reaction pathways for astrochemistry from a comparison of theory and observed molecular abundances. The latter includes studies of cold, dark clouds in which ion-molecule chemistry should predominate, searches for the effects of interchange of material between the gas and solid phases in interstellar clouds, unbiased spectral surveys of particular sources, and systematic investigation of the interlinked chemistry and physics of dense interstellar clouds. In addition, the study of comets has allowed a comparison between the chemistry of such minimally thermally processed objects and that of interstellar clouds, shedding light on the evolution of the biogenic elements during the process of solar system formation. One PhD dissertation on this research was completed by a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts. An additional 4 graduate students at the University of Massachusetts and 5 graduate students from other institutions participated in research supported by this grant, with 6 of these thus far receiving PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts or their home institutions. Four postdoctoral research associates at the University of Massachusetts also participated in research supported by this grant, receiving valuable training.

  4. Comets, interstellar clouds and star clusters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donn, B.

    1976-01-01

    The association of comets with star formation in clusters is elaborated. This hypothesis is also used to explain origin and evaluation of the Oort cloud, the composition of comets, and relationships between cometary and interstellar molecules.

  5. ON THE RELATIVE ABUNDANCE OF LiH AND LiH{sup +} MOLECULES IN THE EARLY UNIVERSE: NEW RESULTS FROM QUANTUM REACTIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Bovino, Stefano; Tacconi, Mario; Gianturco, Franco A.; Galli, Daniele; Palla, Francesco

    2011-04-20

    The relative efficiencies of the chemical pathways that can lead to the destruction of LiH and LiH{sup +} molecules, conjectured to be present in the primordial gas and to control molecular cooling processes in the gravitational collapse of the post-recombination era, are revisited by using accurate quantum calculations for the several reactions involved. The new rates are employed to survey the behavior of the relative abundance of these molecules at redshifts of interest for early universe conditions. We find significant differences with respect to previous calculations, the present ones yielding LiH abundances higher than LiH{sup +} at all redshifts.

  6. Accelerated chemistry in the reaction between the hydroxyl radical and methanol at interstellar temperatures facilitated by tunnelling.

    PubMed

    Shannon, Robin J; Blitz, Mark A; Goddard, Andrew; Heard, Dwayne E

    2013-09-01

    Understanding the abundances of molecules in dense interstellar clouds requires knowledge of the rates of gas-phase reactions between uncharged species. However, because of the low temperatures within these clouds, reactions with an activation barrier were considered too slow to play an important role. Here we show that, despite the presence of a barrier, the rate coefficient for the reaction between the hydroxyl radical (OH) and methanol--one of the most abundant organic molecules in space--is almost two orders of magnitude larger at 63 K than previously measured at ∼200 K. We also observe the formation of the methoxy radical product, which was recently detected in space. These results are interpreted by the formation of a hydrogen-bonded complex that is sufficiently long-lived to undergo quantum-mechanical tunnelling to form products. We postulate that this tunnelling mechanism for the oxidation of organic molecules by OH is widespread in low-temperature interstellar environments.

  7. Cosmic Carbon Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Early Earth

    PubMed Central

    Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Cami, Jan

    2010-01-01

    Astronomical observations have shown that carbonaceous compounds in the gas and solid state, refractory and icy are ubiquitous in our and distant galaxies. Interstellar molecular clouds and circumstellar envelopes are factories of complex molecular synthesis. A surprisingly large number of molecules that are used in contemporary biochemistry on Earth are found in the interstellar medium, planetary atmospheres and surfaces, comets, asteroids and meteorites, and interplanetary dust particles. In this article we review the current knowledge of abundant organic material in different space environments and investigate the connection between presolar and solar system material, based on observations of interstellar dust and gas, cometary volatiles, simulation experiments, and the analysis of extraterrestrial matter. Current challenges in astrochemistry are discussed and future research directions are proposed. PMID:20554702

  8. Cosmic carbon chemistry: from the interstellar medium to the early Earth.

    PubMed

    Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Cami, Jan

    2010-12-01

    Astronomical observations have shown that carbonaceous compounds in the gas and solid state, refractory and icy are ubiquitous in our and distant galaxies. Interstellar molecular clouds and circumstellar envelopes are factories of complex molecular synthesis. A surprisingly large number of molecules that are used in contemporary biochemistry on Earth are found in the interstellar medium, planetary atmospheres and surfaces, comets, asteroids and meteorites, and interplanetary dust particles. In this article we review the current knowledge of abundant organic material in different space environments and investigate the connection between presolar and solar system material, based on observations of interstellar dust and gas, cometary volatiles, simulation experiments, and the analysis of extraterrestrial matter. Current challenges in astrochemistry are discussed and future research directions are proposed.

  9. Studies of minute quantities of natural abundance molecules using 2D heteronuclear correlation spectroscopy under 100kHz MAS

    SciTech Connect

    Nishiyama, Y.; Kobayashi, T.; Malon, M.; Singappuli-Arachchige, D.; Slowing, I. I.; Pruski, M.

    2015-02-16

    Two-dimensional 1H{13C} heteronuclear correlation solid-state NMR spectra of naturally abundant solid materials are presented, acquired using the 0.75-mm magic angle spinning (MAS) probe at spinning rates up to 100 kHz. In spite of the miniscule sample volume (290 nL), high-quality HSQC-type spectra of bulk samples as well as surface-bound molecules can be obtained within hours of experimental time. The experiments are compared with those carried out at 40 kHz MAS using a 1.6-mm probe, which offered higher overall sensitivity due to a larger rotor volume. The benefits of ultrafast MAS in such experiments include superior resolution in 1H dimension without resorting to 1H–1H homonuclear RF decoupling, easy optimization, and applicability to mass-limited samples. As a result, the HMQC spectra of surface-bound species can be also acquired under 100 kHz MAS, although the dephasing of transverse magnetization has significant effect on the efficiency transfer under MAS alone.

  10. Studies of minute quantities of natural abundance molecules using 2D heteronuclear correlation spectroscopy under 100kHz MAS

    DOE PAGES

    Nishiyama, Y.; Kobayashi, T.; Malon, M.; Singappuli-Arachchige, D.; Slowing, I. I.; Pruski, M.

    2015-02-16

    Two-dimensional 1H{13C} heteronuclear correlation solid-state NMR spectra of naturally abundant solid materials are presented, acquired using the 0.75-mm magic angle spinning (MAS) probe at spinning rates up to 100 kHz. In spite of the miniscule sample volume (290 nL), high-quality HSQC-type spectra of bulk samples as well as surface-bound molecules can be obtained within hours of experimental time. The experiments are compared with those carried out at 40 kHz MAS using a 1.6-mm probe, which offered higher overall sensitivity due to a larger rotor volume. The benefits of ultrafast MAS in such experiments include superior resolution in 1H dimensionmore » without resorting to 1H–1H homonuclear RF decoupling, easy optimization, and applicability to mass-limited samples. As a result, the HMQC spectra of surface-bound species can be also acquired under 100 kHz MAS, although the dephasing of transverse magnetization has significant effect on the efficiency transfer under MAS alone.« less

  11. The water abundance behind interstellar shocks: results from Herschel/PACS and Spitzer/IRS observations of H{sub 2}O, CO, and H{sub 2}

    SciTech Connect

    Neufeld, David A.; Gusdorf, Antoine; Güsten, Rolf; Herczeg, Greg J.; Kristensen, Lars; Melnick, Gary J.; Nisini, Brunella; Ossenkopf, Volker; Tafalla, Mario; Van Dishoeck, Ewine F.

    2014-02-01

    We have investigated the water abundance in shock-heated molecular gas, making use of Herschel measurements of far-infrared (IR) CO and H{sub 2}O line emissions in combination with Spitzer measurements of mid-IR H{sub 2} rotational emissions. We present far-IR line spectra obtained with Herschel's Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer instrument in range spectroscopy mode toward two positions in the protostellar outflow NGC 2071 and one position each in the supernova remnants W28 and 3C391. These spectra provide unequivocal detections, at one or more positions, of 12 rotational lines of water, 14 rotational lines of CO, 8 rotational lines of OH (4 lambda doublets), and 7 fine-structure transitions of atoms or atomic ions. We first used a simultaneous fit to the CO line fluxes, along with H{sub 2} rotational line fluxes measured previously by Spitzer, to constrain the temperature and density distribution within the emitting gas; we then investigated the water abundances implied by the observed H{sub 2}O line fluxes. The water line fluxes are in acceptable agreement with standard theoretical models for nondissociative shocks that predict the complete vaporization of grain mantles in shocks of velocity v ∼ 25 km s{sup –1}, behind which the characteristic gas temperature is ∼1300 K and the H{sub 2}O/CO ratio is 1.2.

  12. Search for H2COH+ and H2(13)CO in dense interstellar molecular clouds.

    PubMed

    Minh, Y C; Irvine, W M; McGonagle, D

    1993-01-01

    We have searched for the 2 mm transitions of H2COH+ (2(02) - 1(01)) and H2(13)CO (2(02) - 1(01), 2(12) - 1(11), and 2(11) - 1(10)) toward the dense interstellar molecular clouds Orion A, TMC-1 and L134N using the FCRAO 14m telescope. None of the transitions have been detected except the H2(13)CO transitions toward Orion-KL. We set upper limits for the abundances of the protonated formaldehyde ion (H2COH+), which are close to the abundances expected from ion-molecule chemistry.

  13. Search for H2COH+ and H2(13)CO in dense interstellar molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Minh, Y. C.; Irvine, W. M.; McGonagle, D.

    1993-01-01

    We have searched for the 2 mm transitions of H2COH+ (2(02) - 1(01)) and H2(13)CO (2(02) - 1(01), 2(12) - 1(11), and 2(11) - 1(10)) toward the dense interstellar molecular clouds Orion A, TMC-1 and L134N using the FCRAO 14m telescope. None of the transitions have been detected except the H2(13)CO transitions toward Orion-KL. We set upper limits for the abundances of the protonated formaldehyde ion (H2COH+), which are close to the abundances expected from ion-molecule chemistry.

  14. EXPERIMENTAL AND COMPUTATIONAL STUDIES OF THE FORMATION MECHANISM OF PROTONATED INTERSTELLAR DIAZINES

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, Zhe-Chen; Cole, Callie A.; Bierbaum, Veronica M.; Snow, Theodore P.

    2015-01-10

    Studies of interstellar chemistry have grown in number and complexity by both observations and laboratory measurements, and nitrogen-containing aromatics have been implicated as important interstellar molecules. In this paper, the gas-phase collision induced dissociation (CID) processes of protonated pyridazine (1,2-diazine), pyrimidine (1,3-diazine), and pyrazine (1,4-diazine) cations (C{sub 4}H{sub 5}N{sub 2} {sup +}) are investigated in detail both experimentally and theoretically. The major neutral loss for all three CID processes is HCN, leading to the formation of C{sub 3}H{sub 4}N{sup +} isomers; our density functional theory (DFT) calculations support and elucidate our experimental results. The formation of C{sub 3}H{sub 4}N{sup +} isomers from the reaction of abundant interstellar acrylonitrile (CH{sub 2}CHCN) and H{sup +}is also studied employing DFT calculations. Our results lead to a novel mechanism for interstellar protonated diazine formation from the consecutive reactions of CH{sub 2}CHCN+ H{sup +} + HCN. Moreover, our results motivate the continuing search for interstellar C{sub 3}H{sub 4}N{sup +} isomers as well as polycyclic aromatic N-containing hydrocarbons (PANHs)

  15. The nature of interstellar/pre-cometary dust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allamandola, Louis

    1990-01-01

    During the past 15 years considerable progress in observational techniques has been achieved in the middle-infrared region (5000-500/cm, 2-20 microns), the region where most diagnostic molecular vibrations occur. Spectra of many different astronomical infrared sources, some deeply embedded in dark molecular clouds and others obscured only by dust in the diffuse interstellar medium are now available. These spectra provide a powerful probe, not only for the identification of interstellar molecules in both the gas and solid phases, but also of the physical and chemical conditions which prevail in these two very different domains. By comparing these spectra with laboratory spectra one can determine the composition and abundance of the icy material frozen on the cold (- 10K) dust in the dark interior of molecular clouds and of the hydrocarbon component of dust in the diffuse interstellar medium. As these are the building blocks of comets, the work described here also gives insight into the nature of comets.

  16. Detection of Interstellar Urea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuo, Hsin-Lun; Remijan, Anthony J.; Snyder, Lewis E.; Looney, Leslie W.; Friedel, Douglas N.; Lovas, Francis J.; McCall, Benjamin J.; Hollis, Jan M.

    2010-11-01

    Urea, a molecule discovered in human urine by H. M. Rouelle in 1773, has a significant role in prebiotic chemistry. Previous BIMA observations have suggested that interstellar urea [(NH2)2CO] is a compact hot core molecule such as other large molecules (e.g. methyl formate and acetic acid). We have conducted an extensive search for urea toward the high mass hot molecular core Sgr B2(N-LMH) using BIMA, CARMA and the IRAM 30 m. Because the spectral lines of heavy molecules like urea tend to be weak and hot cores display lines from a wide range of molecules, it is necessary to detect a number of urea lines and apply sophisticated statistical tests before having confidence in an identification. The 1 mm resolution of CARMA enables favorable coupling of the source size and synthesized beam size, which was found to be essential for the detection of weak signals. We have detected a total of 65 spectral lines (32 molecular transitions and 33 unidentified transitions), most of which are narrower than the SEST survey (Nummelin et al. 1998) due to the small synthesized beam (2.5" x 2") of CARMA. It significantly resolves out the contamination by extended emission and reveals the eight weak urea lines that were previously blended with nearby transitions. Our analysis indicates that these lines are likely to be urea since the resulting observed line frequencies are coincident with a set of overlapping connecting urea lines, and the observed line intensities are consistent with the expected line strengths of urea. In addition, we have developed a new statistical approach to examine the spatial correlation between the observed lines by applying the Student's t test to the high resolution channel maps obtained from CARMA. The t test shows consistent spatial distributions from all eight candidate lines, suggesting a common molecular origin, urea. Our t test method could have a broad impact on the next generation of arrays, such as ALMA, because the new arrays will require a method

  17. OBSERVATIONAL CONSTRAINTS ON METHANOL PRODUCTION IN INTERSTELLAR AND PREPLANETARY ICES

    SciTech Connect

    Whittet, D. C. B.; Cook, A. M.; Herbst, Eric; Chiar, J. E.; Shenoy, S. S.

    2011-11-20

    Methanol (CH{sub 3}OH) is thought to be an important link in the chain of chemical evolution that leads from simple diatomic interstellar molecules to complex organic species in protoplanetary disks that may be delivered to the surfaces of Earthlike planets. Previous research has shown that CH{sub 3}OH forms in the interstellar medium predominantly on the surfaces of dust grains. To enhance our understanding of the conditions that lead to its efficient production, we assemble a homogenized catalog of published detections and limiting values in interstellar and preplanetary ices for both CH{sub 3}OH and the other commonly observed C- and O-bearing species, H{sub 2}O, CO, and CO{sub 2}. We use this catalog to investigate the abundance of ice-phase CH{sub 3}OH in environments ranging from dense molecular clouds to circumstellar envelopes around newly born stars of low and high mass. Results show that CH{sub 3}OH production arises during the CO freezeout phase of ice-mantle growth in the clouds, after an ice layer rich in H{sub 2}O and CO{sub 2} is already in place on the dust, in agreement with current astrochemical models. The abundance of solid-phase CH{sub 3}OH in this environment is sufficient to account for observed gas-phase abundances when the ices are subsequently desorbed in the vicinity of embedded stars. CH{sub 3}OH concentrations in the ices toward embedded stars show order-of-magnitude object-to-object variations, even in a sample restricted to stars of low mass associated with ices lacking evidence of thermal processing. We hypothesize that the efficiency of CH{sub 3}OH production in dense cores and protostellar envelopes is mediated by the degree of prior CO depletion.

  18. Observations of interstellar chlorine and phosphorus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jura, M.; York, D. G.

    1978-01-01

    Copernicus observations of interstellar Cl I, Cl II, and P II UV lines toward 10 stars are reported. Column densities are estimated for each species, and upper limits are computed for HCl column densities. Derivation of the gas-phase abundances of chlorine and phosphorus indicates that the averages of both the chlorine and the phosphorus logarithmic abundances relative to hydrogen are between 5.0 and 5.1. It is suggested that interstellar chlorine may be depleted by about a factor of 3 relative to the solar abundance and that interstellar phosphorus is depleted by a factor of 2 to 3. The results are shown to support the prediction that chlorine is ionized in regions containing primarily atomic oxygen and is neutral in regions where there is a significant amount of molecular hydrogen. The photoionization rate of neutral chlorine toward 15 Mon is estimated, and it is concluded that most chlorine is contained within the gas phase.

  19. The Chemical Impact of Physical Conditions in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rimmer, Paul Brandon

    2012-09-01

    We examine the role cosmic rays, X-rays and ultra-violet (UV) photons play in the chemical evolution of the interstellar medium, and how astrophysical processes like massive star formation can change the fluxes of these energetic particles. We connect star formation rates to interstellar chemistry. We first explore the basic effects of cosmic-ray and X-ray ionization and UV photodissociation on the chemistry. For cosmic-ray and X-ray ionization, increasing the ionization rates enriches the chemistry, up to a value of 10 -14 s-1, whereupon molecules and ions are quickly destroyed due to the high electron fraction. Isolated from other effects, the UV field tends to dissociate species much more efficiently than ionizing them, and generally reduces molecular abundances, especially those of complex molecules. The combination of a high ionization rate and a high UV field can enhance the production of some molecular species, such as small hydrocarbons. We investigate the role of cosmic rays and UV photons in the Horsehead Nebula, and determine the impact a column-dependent cosmic ray ionization rate makes on photodissociation region (PDR) chemistry. The column-dependence of cosmic rays is solved using a three-dimensional two-fluid magnetohydrodynamics model, treating the cosmic rays as a fluid governed by the relativistic Boltzmann Transport Equation, and treating the interstellar medium as a second fluid, governed by the standard non-relativistic magnetohydrodynamics equations. We then utilize a modified version of the Morata-Herbst time-dependent PDR model, incorporating our function for cosmic ray ionization. Our results help solve a chemical mystery concerning high abundances of small hydrocarbons at the edge of the nebula. We discuss predictions the model makes for species currently unobserved in the Horsehead Nebula. Finally, we examine the role of star formation on interstellar astrochemistry in the Orion KL region. We develop a new astrochemical gas-grain PDR

  20. RUBIDIUM IN THE INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM

    SciTech Connect

    Walker, Kyle M.; Federman, S. R.; Knauth, David C.; Lambert, David L. E-mail: steven.federman@utoledo.ed E-mail: dll@astro.as.utexas.ed

    2009-11-20

    We present observations of interstellar rubidium toward o Per, zeta Per, AE Aur, HD 147889, chi Oph, zeta Oph, and 20 Aql. Theory suggests that stable {sup 85}Rb and long-lived {sup 87}Rb are produced predominantly by high-mass stars, through a combination of the weak s- and r-processes. The {sup 85}Rb/{sup 87}Rb ratio was determined from measurements of the Rb I line at 7800 A and was compared to the solar system meteoritic ratio of 2.59. Within 1sigma uncertainties, all directions except HD 147889 have Rb isotope ratios consistent with the solar system value. The ratio toward HD 147889 is much lower than the meteoritic value and similar to that toward rho Oph A; both lines of sight probe the Rho Ophiuchus Molecular Cloud. The earlier result was attributed to a deficit of r-processed {sup 85}Rb. Our larger sample suggests instead that {sup 87}Rb is enhanced in these two lines of sight. When the total elemental abundance of Rb is compared to the K elemental abundance, the interstellar Rb/K ratio is significantly lower than the meteoritic ratio for all the sight lines in this study. Available interstellar samples for other s- and r- process elements are used to help interpret these results.

  1. Detection of H3+ in interstellar space.

    PubMed

    Geballe, T R; Oka, T

    1996-11-28

    The H3+ ion is widely believed to play an important role in interstellar chemistry, by initiating the chains of reactions that lead to the production of many of the complex molecular species observed in the interstellar medium. The presence of H3+ in the interstellar medium was first suggested in 1961, and its infrared spectrum was measured in the laboratory in 1980. But attempts to detect it in interstellar space have hitherto proved unsuccessful. Here we report the detection of H3+ absorption in the spectra of two molecular clouds. Although the present results do not permit an accurate determination of the H3+ abundances, these ions appear nevertheless to be present in sufficient quantities to drive much of the chemistry in molecular clouds. It should soon be possible to obtain more accurate measurements, and thus better quantify the role of ion-neutral reactions in the chemical evolution of molecular clouds.

  2. Synthesis of prebiotic glycerol in interstellar ices.

    PubMed

    Kaiser, Ralf I; Maity, Surajit; Jones, Brant M

    2015-01-01

    Contemporary mechanisms for the spontaneous formation of glycerol have not been able to explain its existence on early Earth. The exogenous origin and delivery of organic molecules to early Earth presents an alternative route to their terrestrial in situ formation since biorelevant molecules like amino acids, carboxylic acids, and alkylphosphonic acids have been recovered from carbonaceous chondrites. Reported herein is the first in situ identification of glycerol, the key building block of all cellular membranes, formed by exposure of methanol-based - interstellar model ices to ionizing radiation in the form of energetic electrons. These results provide compelling evidence that the radiation-induced formation of glycerol in low-temperature interstellar model ices is facile. Synthesized on interstellar grains and eventually incorporated into the "building material" of solar systems, biorelevant molecules such as glycerol could have been dispensed to habitable planets such as early Earth by comets and meteorites. PMID:25363714

  3. Physics of Molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, D.; Murdin, P.

    2000-11-01

    Many varieties of molecule have been detected in the Milky Way and in other galaxies. The processes by which these molecules are formed and destroyed are now broadly understood (see INTERSTELLAR CHEMISTRY). These molecules are important components of galaxies in two ways. Firstly, radiation emitted by molecules enables us to trace the presence of diffuse gas, to infer its physical properties and ...

  4. A search for interstellar scandium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snow, T. P., Jr.; Dodgen, S. L.

    1980-01-01

    The resonance line of Sc II at 3642.785 A has been sought in the interstellar spectrum of Zeta Oph, resulting in an upper limit N(Sc II) not greater than 8.6 billion/sq cm and a depletion of this element at least by a factor of 200, if Sc III contributes a negligible column density. The present upper limit may be somewhat below the level expected under the grain-formation model for interstellar depletions, and is consistent with the abundance expected if the depletions are due to gas-grain collisions. The new limit on this element helps to support the hypothesis that species within a specific range of ionization potential are preferentially depleted.

  5. Evolutionary models of interstellar chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prasad, Sheo S.

    1987-01-01

    The goal of evolutionary models of interstellar chemistry is to understand how interstellar clouds came to be the way they are, how they will change with time, and to place them in an evolutionary sequence with other celestial objects such as stars. An improved Mark II version of an earlier model of chemistry in dynamically evolving clouds is presented. The Mark II model suggests that the conventional elemental C/O ratio less than one can explain the observed abundances of CI and the nondetection of O2 in dense clouds. Coupled chemical-dynamical models seem to have the potential to generate many observable discriminators of the evolutionary tracks. This is exciting, because, in general, purely dynamical models do not yield enough verifiable discriminators of the predicted tracks.

  6. The sensitivity of gas-phase models of dense interstellar clouds to changes in dissociative recombination branching ratios.

    PubMed

    Millar, T J; DeFrees, D J; McLean, A D; Herbst, E

    1988-01-01

    The approach of Bates to the determination of neutral product branching ratios in ion-electron dissociative recombination reactions has been utilised in conjunction with quantum chemical techniques to redetermine branching ratios for a wide variety of important reactions of this class in dense interstellar clouds. The branching ratios have then been used in a pseudo time-dependent model calculation of the gas phase chemistry of a dark cloud resembling TMC-1 and the results compared with an analogous model containing previously used branching ratios. In general, the changes in branching ratios lead to stronger effects on calculated molecular abundances at steady state than at earlier times and often lead to reductions in the calculated abundances of complex molecules. However, at the so-called "early time" when complex molecule synthesis is most efficient, the abundances of complex molecules are hardly affected by the newly used branching ratios.

  7. ESO Diffuse Interstellar Bands Large Exploration Survey (EDIBLES) - Merging Observations and Laboratory Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, Farid

    2016-01-01

    The Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) are a set of 500 absorption bands that are detected in the spectra of stars with interstellar clouds in the line of sight. DIBs are found from the NUV to the NIR in the spectra of reddened stars spanning different interstellar environments in our local, and in other galaxies. DIB carriers are a significant part of the interstellar chemical inventory. They are stable and ubiquitous in a broad variety of environments and play a unique role in interstellar physics/chemistry. It has long been realized that the solving of the DIB problem requires a strong synergy between astronomical observations, laboratory astrophysics, and astrophysical modeling of line-of-sights. PAHs are among the molecular species that have been proposed as DIB carriers. We will present an assessment of the PAH-DIB model in view of the progress and the advances that have been achieved over the past years through a series of studies involving astronomical observations of DIBs, laboratory simulation of interstellar analogs for neutrals and ionized PAHs, theoretical calculations of PAH spectra and the modelization of diffuse and translucent interstellar clouds. We will present a summary of what has been learned from these complementary studies, the constraints that can now be derived for the PAHs as DIB carriers in the context of the PAH-DIB model and how these constraints can be applied to the EDIBLES project. The spectra of several neutral and ionized PAHs isolated in the gas phase at low temperature have been measured in the laboratory under experimental conditions that mimic interstellar conditions and are compared with an extensive set of astronomical spectra of reddened, early type stars. The comparisons of astronomical and laboratory data provide upper limits for the abundances of specific neutral PAH molecules and ions along specific lines-of-sight. Something that is not attainable from infrared observations alone. We present the characteristics of the

  8. The Distribution of Complex Organic Molecules in the Orion KL Molecular Core

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kuan, Yi-Jehng; Hsu, Yu-Sen; Charnley, Steven B.; Wang, Kuo-Song

    2011-01-01

    We conducted high angular-resolution observations toward the massive star-forming region Orion KL at 1.3 mm using the Submillimeter Array (SMA). Spectral emission from twelve complex organic molecules was simultaneously imaged. We discuss the distinct chemical characteristics among four sub- regions in Orion KL by comparing the spatial distributions and fractional abundances of these complex molecules. These observations will allow us to test and constrain chemical models of interstellar organic synthesis.

  9. Interstellar cyanomethane.

    PubMed

    Turner, B E; Friberg, P; Irvine, W M; Saito, S; Yamamoto, S

    1990-06-01

    We have made an observational study of the newly identified cyanomethane radical CH2CN and the possibly related species CH3CN with the goals of (1) elucidating the possible role of reactions of the type CnHm(+) + N in astrochemistry, and (2) providing a possible test of Bates's models of dissociative electron recombination. We find a remarkably different abundance ratio CH2CN/CH3CN in TMC-1 and Sgr B2, which we deduce is a result of the large difference in temperature of these objects. Studies of CH2CN and CH3CN in other sources, including two new detections of CH2CN, support this conclusion and are consistent with a monotonic increase in the CH2CN/CH3CN ratio with decreasing temperature over the range 10-120 K. This behavior may be explained by the destruction of CH2CN by reaction with O. If this reaction does not proceed, then CH2CN and CH3CN are concluded to form via different chemical pathways. Thus, they do not provide a test of Bates's conjectures (they do not both form from CH3CNH+). CH2CN is then likely to form via C2H4(+) + N --> CH2CNH+, thus demonstrating the viability of this important reaction in astrochemistry. The T dependence of the CH2CN/CH3CN ratio would then reflect the increasing rate of the C2H4(+) + N reaction with decreasing temperature.

  10. Sublimation from icy jets as a probe of the interstellar volatile content of comets.

    PubMed

    Blake, G A; Qi, C; Hogerheijde, M R; Gurwell, M A; Muhleman, D O

    1999-03-18

    Comets are some of the most primitive bodies left over from the Solar System's early history. They may preserve both interstellar material and material from the proto-solar nebula, and so studies of their volatile components can provide clues about the evolution of gases and ices, as a collapsing molecular cloud transforms into a mature planetary system. Previous observations of emission from rotational transitions in molecules have averaged over large areas of the inner coma, and therefore include both molecules that sublimed from the nucleus and those that result from subsequent chemical processes in the coma Here we present high-resolution observations of emission from the molecules HNC, DCN and HDO associated with comet Hale-Bopp. Our data reveal arc-like structures-icy jets-offset from (but close to) the nucleus. The measured abundance ratios on 1-3" scales are substantially different from those on larger scales, and cannot be accounted for by models of chemical processes in the coma; they are, however, similar to the values observed in the cores of dense interstellar clouds and young stellar objects. We therefore propose that sublimation from millimetre-sized icy grains ejected from the nucleus provides access to relatively unaltered volatiles. The D/H ratios inferred from our data suggest that, by mass, Hale-Bopp (and by inference the outer regions of the early solar nebula) consists of > or =15-40% of largely unprocessed interstellar material.

  11. Photoluminescence by Interstellar Dust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vijh, U. P.

    2005-08-01

    In this dissertation, we report on our study of interstellar dust through the process of photoluminescence (PL). We present the discovery of a new band of dust PL, blue luminescence (BL) with λpeak˜370 nm in the proto-planetary nebula known as the Red Rectangle (RR). We attribute this to fluorescence by small, 3-4-ringed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules. Further analysis reveals additional independent evidence for the presence of small PAHs in this nebula. Detection of BL using long-slit spectroscopic observations in other ordinary reflection nebulae suggests that the BL carrier is an ubiquitous component of the ISM and is not restricted to the particular environment of the RR. We present the spatial distribution of the BL in these nebulae and find that the BL is spatially correlated with IR emission structures attributed to aromatic emission features (AEFs), attributed to PAHs. The carrier of the dust-associated photoluminescence process causing the extended red emission (ERE), known now for over twenty five years, remains unidentified. We constrain the character of the ERE carrier by determining the wavelengths of the radiation that initiates the ERE -- λ < 118 nm. We note that under interstellar conditions most PAH molecules are ionized to the di-cation stage by photons with E > 10.5 eV and that the electronic energy level structure of PAH di-cations is consistent with fluorescence in the wavelength band of the ERE. In the last few chapters of the dissertation we present first results from ongoing work: i) Using narrow-band imaging, we present the optical detection of the circum-binary disk of the RR in the light of the BL, and show that the morphology of the BL and ERE emissions in the RR nebula are almost mutually exclusive. It is very suggestive to attribute them to different ionization stages of the same family of carriers such as PAH molecules. ii) We also present a pure spectrum of the BL free of scattered light, resolved into seven

  12. Model atmospheres - Tool for identifying interstellar features

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Frisch, P. C.; Slojkowski, S. E.; Rodriguez-Bell, T.; York, D.

    1993-01-01

    Model atmosphere parameters are derived for 14 early A stars with rotation velocities, from optical spectra, in excess of 80 km/s. The models are compared with IUE observations of the stars in regions where interstellar lines are expected. In general, with the assumption of solar abundances, excellent fits are obtained in regions longward of 2580 A, and accurate interstellar equivalent widths can be derived using models to establish the continuum. The fits are poorer at shorter wavelengths, particularly at 2026-2062 A, where the stellar model parameters seem inadequate. Features indicating mass flows are evident in stars with known infrared excesses. In gamma TrA, variability in the Mg II lines is seen over the 5-year interval of these data, and also over timescales as short as 26 days. The present technique should be useful in systematic studies of episodic mass flows in A stars and for stellar abundance studies, as well as interstellar features.

  13. Interstellar organic matter in meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yang, J.; Epstein, S.

    1983-01-01

    Deuterium-enriched hydrogen is present in organic matter in such meteorites as noncarbonaceous chondrites. The majority of the unequilibrated primitive meteorites contain hydrogen whose D/H ratios are greater than 0.0003, requiring enrichment (relative to cosmic hydrogen) by isotope exchange reactions taking place below 150 K. The D/H values presented are the lower limits for the organic compounds derived from interstellar molecules, since all processes subsequent to their formation, including terrestrial contamination, decrease their D/H ratios. In contrast, the D/H ratios of hydrogen associated with hydrated silicates are relatively uniform for the meteorites analyzed. The C-13/C-12 ratios of organic matter, irrespective of D/H ratio, lie well within those observed for the earth. Present findings suggest that other interstellar material, in addition to organic matter, is preserved and is present in high D/H ratio meteorites.

  14. The Inventory of Interstellar Materials Available for the Formation of the Solar System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandford, Scott A.; Witteborn, Fred C. (Technical Monitor)

    1996-01-01

    Dr. Derek Sears, the editor of the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science, has established a policy of having each issue of the journal contain an invited review of an area that he deems to be of special cur-rent importance. Typically 20 to 25 pages of the beginning of the journal are devoted to each review. He has asked me to prepare such a review summarizing what we know about the composition and structure of interstellar materials. The attached paper is the result. This is a good time for such a review since tremendous progress has been made in the field of interstellar dust in recent years through the use of telescopic observations, theoretical studies, laboratory studies of analogs, and the study of actual interstellar samples found in meteorites. It is increasing clear that the interstellar medium (ISM) contains an enormous diversity of materials created by a wide range of chemical and physical processes. This understanding is a far cry from the picture of interstellar materials held as recently as two decades ago, a picture which incorporated only a few generic types of grains and few molecules. In the paper I review our current knowledge of the more abundant materials thought to exist in the ISM. The review concentrates on matter in interstellar dense molecular clouds since it is the materials in these environments from which new stars and planetary systems are formed, although materials in circumstellar environments and in the diffuse ISM are also discussed. The paper focuses largely on solid materials since they contain a major fraction of the heavier elements in clouds and because solids are most likely to survive incorporation into new planetary systems in identifiable form. The paper concludes with discussion of some of the implications resulting from the identification of these interstellar materials. I also present some new thoughts, the most intriguing being that meteoritic 'microdiamonds' may be the same material that modelers of the

  15. Fulleranes and Carbon Nanostructures in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iglesias-Groth, Susana; Cataldo, Franco

    We review the potential contribution of single fullerenes and buckyonions to interstellar extinction. Photoabsorption spectra of these molecules are compared with some of the most relevant features of interstellar extinction, the UV bump, the far UV rise and the diffuse interstellar bands. According to semiempirical models, photoabsorption by fullerenes (single and multishell) could explain the shape, width and peak energy of the most prominent feature of the interstellar absorption, the UV bump at 2,175 Å. Other weaker transitions are predicted in the optical and near-infrared providing a potential explanation for diffuse interstellar bands. In particular, several fullerenes could contribute to the well known strong DIB at 4,430 Å comparing cross sections and available data for this DIB and the UV bump we estimate a density of fullerenes in the diffuse interstellar medium of 0.1-0.2 ppm. These molecules could then be a major reservoir for interstellar carbon. We give an estimation of the carbon fraction locked in these molecules. We discuss the rotation rates and electric dipole emission of hydrogenated icosahedral fullerenes in various phases of the interstellar medium. These molecules could be the carriers of the anomalous microwave emission detected by Watson et al. (Astrophys. J. 624:L89, 2005) in the Perseus molecular complex and Cassasus et al. (2006) in the dark cloud LDN 1622. Hydrogenated forms of fullerenes may account for the dust-correlated microwave emission detected in our Galaxy by Cosmic Microwave Background experiments.

  16. A Laboratory Route to Interstellar Ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Broekhuizen, Fleur Antoinette

    2005-06-01

    The formation of snow and ice has always intrigued humans and challenged them to study these phenomena. Every snowflake has its own unique history of formation, but no two are alike. Like snow-crystals, interstellar ices consist predominantly of water (H2O), but also contain significant fractions of other molecules such as carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methanol (CH3OH), and traces of dinitrogen (N2) and ammonia (NH3). The presence, or absence, of a molecule in the ice strongly depends on the environmental conditions. Vice versa, these molecules have an influence on their environment as well. Hence, the chemical composition and the structure of interstellar ices are thought to contain valuable information about the past and the future of interstellar regions, and it is for this reason that interstellar ices are simulated and studied under laboratory conditions. The present thesis contains a study of laboratory analogs of interstellar ices and presents a newly developed apparatus that provides a novel laboratory route to investigate the properties of these ices in more detail than has previously been possible.

  17. Alcohol Chemistry: Tentative Detections of Two New Interstellar Big Molecules CH_3OC_2H_5 and (C_2H_5)_2O

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuan, Y.-J.; Charnley, S. B.; Wilson, T. L.; Ohishi, M.; Huang, H.-C.; Snyder, L. E.

    1999-05-01

    Recent modeling of gas-grain chemistry demonstrated that many of the organic species are not the products of grain-surface reactions but are in fact synthesized in the warm gas from simpler species produced on grains. To test gas-grain chemistry, in particular alcohol chemistry, we have thus searched for (C_2H_5)_2O (diethyl ether) and CH_3OC_2H_5 (methyl ethyl ether), using the NRAO 12-m, in the giant molecular cloud cores Sgr B2(N), W51 e1/e2 and Orion-KL, where alcohols have been evaporated from ice mantles. In addition, we have also used the BIMA array to observe the 3-mm transitions of the two molecules toward Sgr B2. The preliminary 12-m results indicate clean detections of various line transitions of the two molecular species in the 1-mm, 2-mm and 3-mm regimes in all 3 molecular cloud cores. Furthermore our BIMA maps show a clear concentration of CH_3OH toward Sgr B2(N), the Large Molecule Heimat; sole detections of CH_3OC_2H_5 and (C_2H_5)_2O toward Sgr B2(N), instead of the more evolved Sgr B2(M), are also observed unambiguously as predicted by alcohol chemistry. Our detections of the two complex molecules not only further confirm the gas-grain chemistry but also require specifically that methanol (CH_3OH) and ethanol (C_2H_5OH) to be formed in grain mantles. In addition, the detections of diethyl ether and methyl ethyl ether lead to the discovery of two new molecules, including the largest ever, (C_2H_5)_2O. This work was partially supported by: NSC grants 87-2112-M-003-007 and 88-2112-M-003-013 of Taiwan, National Taiwan Normal University, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, NSF AST 96-13999, the University of Illinois, and NASA's Exobiology Program.

  18. Search for the isomers of C2H3NO and C2H3NS in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Etim, Emmanuel; Chakrabarti, Sandip Kumar; Das, Ankan; Gorai, Prasanta; Arunan, Elangannan

    2016-07-01

    With about 40% of all the known interstellar and circumstellar molecules having their isomeric analogues as known astromolecules, isomerism remains one of the leading themes in interstellar chemistry. In this regard, the recent detection of methyl isocyanate (with a number of isomeric analogues) in the Sgr B2(N) giant molecular cloud opens a new window for the possible astronomical detection of other C_2H_3NO isomers. The present work looks at the possibility of detecting other isomers of methyl isocyanate by considering different factors such as thermodynamic stability of the different isomers with respect to the Energy, Stability and Abundance (ESA) relationship, effect of interstellar hydrogen bonding with respect to the formation these isomers on the surface of the interstellar dust grains, possible formation routes for these isomers, spectroscopic parameters for potential astromolecules among these isomers, chemical modeling among other studies. The same studies are repeated for the C_2H_3NS isomers which are the isoelectroninc analogues of the C_2H_3NO isomers taking into account the unique chemistry of S and O-containing interstellar molecular species. Among the C_2H_3NS isomers, methyl isothiocyanate remains the most potential candidate for astronomical observation.

  19. Tracking the organic refractory component from interstellar dust to comets.

    PubMed

    Greenberg, J M; Li, A

    1999-01-01

    The abundance and composition of complex organic (carbonaceous) material in the interstellar dust is followed as the dust evolves in its cyclic evolution between diffuse and dense clouds. Interstellar extinction, laboratory and space analog experiments, dust infrared absorption spectra, the cosmic abundance of the condensible atoms, and space and ground-based observations of comet dust are used to impose constraints on the organic dust component as mantles on silicate cores.

  20. Atoms in carbon cages as a source of interstellar diffuse lines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ballester, J. L.; Antoniewicz, P. R.; Smoluchowski, R.

    1990-01-01

    A model to describe the resonance absorption lines of various atoms trapped in closed carbon cages is presented. These systems may be responsible for some of the as yet unexplained diffuse interstellar bands. Model potentials for possible atom-C60 systems are obtained and used to calculate the resonance lines. The trapped atoms considered are O, N, Si, Mg, Al, Na, and S, and in all cases the resonance lines are shifted toward the red as compared to the isolated atoms. The calculated wavelengths are compared to the range of wavelengths observed for the diffuse interstellar bands, and good agreement is found for Mg and Si resonance lines. Other lines may be caused by other than resonance transitions or by trapped molecules. The oscillator strengths and the abundances are evaluated and compared with observation. Mechanisms to explain the observed band width of the lines and the existence of certain correlated pairs of lines are discussed.

  1. A search for interstellar oxiranecarbonitrile (C3H3NO).

    PubMed

    Dickens, J E; Irvine, W M; Ohishi, M; Arrhenius, G; Pitsch, S; Bauder, A; Muller, F; Eschenmoser, A

    1996-04-01

    We report a search in cold, quiescent and in 'hot core' type interstellar molecular clouds for the small cyclic molecule oxiranecarbonitrile (C3H3NO), which has been suggested as a precursor of important prebiotic molecules. We have determined upper limits to the column density and fractional abundance for the observed sources and find that, typically, the fractional abundance by number relative to molecular hydrogen of C3H3NO is less than a few times 10(-10). This limit is one to two orders of magnitude less than the measured abundance of such similarly complex species as CH3CH2CN and HCOOCH3 in well-studied hot cores. A number of astrochemical discoveries were made, including the first detection of the species CH3CH2CN in the massive star-forming clouds G34.3+0.2 and W51M and the first astronomical detections of some eight rotational transitions of CH3CH2CN, CH3CCH, and HCOOCH3. In addition, we found 8 emission lines in the 89 GHz region and 18 in the 102 GHz region which we were unable to assign.

  2. A Search for Interstellar Oxiranecarbonitrile (C3H3NO)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dicken, J. E.; Irvine, W. M.; Ohishi, M.; Arrhenius, G.; Bauder, A.; Mueller, F.; Eschenmoser, A.

    1996-01-01

    We report a search in cold, quiescent and in 'hot core' type interstellar molecular clouds for the small cyclic molecule oxiranecarbonitrile (C3H3NO), which has been suggested as a precursor of important prebiotic molecules. We have determined upper limits to the column density and fractional abundance for the observed sources and find that, typically, the fractional abundance by number relative to molecular hydrogen Of C3H3NO is less than a few times 10(exp -10). This limit is one to two orders of magnitude less than the measured abundance of such similarly complex species as CH3CH2CN and HCOOCH3 in well-studied hot cores. A number of astrochemical discoveries were made, including the first detection of the species CH3CH2CN in the massive star-forming clouds G34.3+0.2 and W51M and the first astronomical detections of some eight rotational transitions of CH3CH2CN, CH3CCH, and HCOOCH3. In addition, we found 8 emission lines in the 89 GHz region and 18 in the 102 GHz region which we were unable to assign.

  3. Reaction kinetics at very low temperatures: laboratory studies and interstellar chemistry.

    PubMed

    Smith, I W; Rowe, B R

    2000-05-01

    Studies of gas-phase processes at temperatures down to 10 K have recently blossomed, largely through application of the CRESU (cinétique de réaction en ecoulement supersonique uniforme) technique. The results are of considerable relevance to the synthesis of molecules in dense interstellar clouds, demonstrating that the models developed to explain the observed molecular abundances must be expanded to include reactions between electrically neutral species. In addition, the experimental results have stimulated theoretical efforts to describe the factors that control the rates of such low-temperature reactions. In this Account, the CRESU method is described and the relevance of the results discussed.

  4. NASA's IBEX Observes Interstellar Matter

    NASA Video Gallery

    The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) has directly sampled multiple heavy elements from the Local Interstellar Cloud for the first time. It turns out that this interstellar material is not like...

  5. Search for interstellar methane

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knacke, R. F.; Kim, Y. H.; Noll, K. S.; Geballe, T. R.

    1990-01-01

    Researchers searched for interstellar methane in the spectra of infrared sources embedded in molecular clouds. New observations of several lines of the P and R branches of the nu 3 band of CH4 near 3.3 microns give column densities in the range N less than 1(-2) times 10 to the minus 16th power cm(-2). Resulting abundance ratios are (CH4)/(CO) less than 3.3 times 10 to the minus 2nd power toward GL961 in NGC 2244 and less than 2.4 times 10 to the minus 3rd power toward GL989 in the NGC 2264 molecular cloud. The limits, and those determined in earlier observations of BN in Orion and GL490, suggest that there is little methane in molecular clouds. The result agrees with predictions of chemical models. Exceptions could occur in clouds where oxygen may be depleted, for example by H2O freezing on grains. The present observations probably did not sample such regions.

  6. Theoretical investigation of the interstellar CH3NC/CH3CN ratio.

    PubMed

    DeFrees, D J; McLean, A D; Herbst, E

    1985-06-01

    Calculations have been performed to determine the abundance ratio of the metastable isomer CH3NC to the stable isomer CH3CN in dense interstellar clouds. According to gas phase, ion-molecule treatments, these molecules are both synthesized via protonated ion precursors. We have calculated the ratio of the formation rates of the protonated precursor ions-- CH3NCH+ and CH3CNH+ --synthesized via the radiative association reaction between CH3+ and HCN, which is thought to the dominant formation process of the two isomeric ions. Our calculations, which involve both ab initio quantum chemistry and equilibrium determinations, lead to a predicted CH3NCH+/CH3CNH+ formation rate ratio between 0.1 and 0.4. If this ratio is maintained in the neutral species formed from the precursor ions, theory predicts a sizable abundance for methyl isocyanide (CH3NC) and lends credence to its tentative observation.

  7. Top-down formation of fullerenes in the interstellar medium

    PubMed Central

    Berné, O.; Montillaud, J.; Joblin, C.

    2015-01-01

    Fullerenes have been recently detected in various circumstellar and interstellar environments, raising the question of their formation pathway. It has been proposed that they can form at the low densities found in the interstellar medium by the photo-chemical processing of large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Following our previous work on the evolution of PAHs in the NGC 7023 reflection nebula, we evaluate, using photochemical modeling, the possibility that the PAH C66H20 (i.e. circumovalene) can lead to the formation of C60 upon irradiation by ultraviolet photons. The chemical pathway involves full dehydrogenation of C66H20, folding into a floppy closed cage and shrinking of the cage by loss of C2 units until it reaches the symmetric C60 molecule. At 10” from the illuminating star and with realistic molecular parameters, the model predicts that 100% of C66H20 is converted into C60 in ~ 105 years, a timescale comparable to the age of the nebula. Shrinking appears to be the kinetically limiting step of the whole process. Hence, PAHs larger than C66H20 are unlikely to contribute significantly to the formation of C60, while PAHs containing between 60 and 66 C atoms should contribute to the formation of C60 with shorter timescales, and PAHs containing less than 60 C atoms will be destroyed. Assuming a classical size distribution for the PAH precursors, our model predicts absolute abundances of C60 are up to several 10−4 of the elemental carbon, i.e. less than a percent of the typical interstellar PAH abundance, which is consistent with observational studies. According to our model, once formed, C60 can survive much longer (> 107 years for radiation fields below G0 = 104) than other fullerenes because of the remarkable stability of the C60 molecule at high internal energies. Hence, a natural consequence is that C60 is more abundant than other fullerenes in highly irradiated environments. PMID:26722131

  8. Constraining the Properties of Cold Interstellar Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spraggs, Mary Elizabeth; Gibson, Steven J.

    2016-01-01

    Since the interstellar medium (ISM) plays an integral role in star formation and galactic structure, it is important to understand the evolution of clouds over time, including the processes of cooling and condensation that lead to the formation of new stars. This work aims to constrain and better understand the physical properties of the cold ISM by utilizing large surveys of neutral atomic hydrogen (HI) 21cm spectral line emission and absorption, carbon monoxide (CO) 2.6mm line emission, and multi-band infrared dust thermal continuum emission. We identify areas where the gas may be cooling and forming molecules using HI self-absorption (HISA), in which cold foreground HI absorbs radiation from warmer background HI emission.We are developing an algorithm that uses total gas column densities inferred from Planck and other FIR/sub-mm data in parallel with CO and HISA spectral line data to determine the gas temperature, density, molecular abundance, and other properties as functions of position. We can then map these properties to study their variation throughout an individual cloud as well as any dependencies on location or environment within the Galaxy.Funding for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation, the NASA Kentucky Space Grant Consortium, the WKU Ogden College of Science and Engineering, and the Carol Martin Gatton Academy for Mathematics and Science in Kentucky.

  9. The depletion of interstellar gaseous iron

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Savage, B. D.; Bohlin, R. C.

    1979-01-01

    The Copernicus UV telescope was used to measure equivalent widths of interstellar Fe II resonance lines toward 55 early-type stars; the measurements permit the determination of Fe II column densities. The depletion of interstellar gaseous iron was obtained by combining these measurements with the results from a previous atomic and molecular hydrogen survey program; the derived depletions refer mostly to matter in H I regions. As an example, the nearly normal gaseous iron abundance in the distant high-latitude intermediate-velocity cloud toward HD 93521 is consistent with the idea that these clouds are produced by galactic supernova explosions.

  10. LABORATORY FORMATION OF FULLERENES FROM PAHS: TOP-DOWN INTERSTELLAR CHEMISTRY

    SciTech Connect

    Zhen, Junfeng; Castellanos, Pablo; Tielens, Alexander G. G. M.; Paardekooper, Daniel M.; Linnartz, Harold

    2014-12-20

    Interstellar molecules are thought to build up in the shielded environment of molecular clouds or in the envelope of evolved stars. This follows many sequential reaction steps of atoms and simple molecules in the gas phase and/or on (icy) grain surfaces. However, these chemical routes are highly inefficient for larger species in the tenuous environment of space as many steps are involved and, indeed, models fail to explain the observed high abundances. This is definitely the case for the C{sub 60} fullerene, recently identified as one of the most complex molecules in the interstellar medium. Observations have shown that, in some photodissociation regions, its abundance increases close to strong UV-sources. In this Letter we report laboratory findings in which C{sub 60} formation can be explained by characterizing the photochemical evolution of large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Sequential H losses lead to fully dehydrogenated PAHs and subsequent losses of C{sub 2} units convert graphene into cages. Our results present for the first time experimental evidence that PAHs in excess of 60 C-atoms efficiently photo-isomerize to buckminsterfullerene, C{sub 60}. These laboratory studies also attest to the importance of top-down synthesis routes for chemical complexity in space.

  11. Laboratory Formation of Fullerenes from PAHs: Top-down Interstellar Chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhen, Junfeng; Castellanos, Pablo; Paardekooper, Daniel M.; Linnartz, Harold; Tielens, Alexander G. G. M.

    2014-12-01

    Interstellar molecules are thought to build up in the shielded environment of molecular clouds or in the envelope of evolved stars. This follows many sequential reaction steps of atoms and simple molecules in the gas phase and/or on (icy) grain surfaces. However, these chemical routes are highly inefficient for larger species in the tenuous environment of space as many steps are involved and, indeed, models fail to explain the observed high abundances. This is definitely the case for the C60 fullerene, recently identified as one of the most complex molecules in the interstellar medium. Observations have shown that, in some photodissociation regions, its abundance increases close to strong UV-sources. In this Letter we report laboratory findings in which C60 formation can be explained by characterizing the photochemical evolution of large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Sequential H losses lead to fully dehydrogenated PAHs and subsequent losses of C2 units convert graphene into cages. Our results present for the first time experimental evidence that PAHs in excess of 60 C-atoms efficiently photo-isomerize to buckminsterfullerene, C60. These laboratory studies also attest to the importance of top-down synthesis routes for chemical complexity in space.

  12. Organic Synthesis in Simulated Interstellar Ice Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dworkin, Jason P.; Bernstein, Max P.; Sandford, Scott A.; Allamandola, Louis J.; Deamer, David W.; Elsila, Jamie; Zare, Richard N.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Comets and carbonaceous micrometeorites may have been significant sources of organic compounds on the early Earth. Ices on grains in interstellar dense molecular clouds contain a variety of simple molecules as well as aromatic molecules of various sizes. While in these clouds the icy grains are processed by ultraviolet light and cosmic radiation which produces more complex organic molecules. ID We have run laboratory simulations to identify the types of molecules which could have been generated photolytically in pre-cometary ices. Experiments were conducted by forming various realistic interstellar mixed-molecular ices with and without polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at approx. 10 K under high vacuum irradiated with LTV light from a hydrogen plasma lamp: The residue that remained after warming to room temperature was analyzed by HPLC, and by laser desorption mass spectrometry. The residue contains several classes of compounds which may be of prebiotic significance.

  13. Organic Synthesis in Simulated Interstellar Ice Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dworkin, Jason P.; Bernstein, Max P.; Sandford, Scott A.; Allamandola, Louis J.; Deamer, David W.; Elsila, Jamie; Zare, Richard N.

    2001-01-01

    Comets and carbonaceous micrometeorites may have been significant sources of organic compounds on the early Earth. Ices on grains in interstellar dense molecular clouds contain a variety of simple molecules as well as aromatic molecules of various sizes. While in these clouds the icy grains are processed by ultraviolet light and cosmic radiation which produces more complex organic molecules. We have run laboratory simulations to identify the types of molecules which could have been generated photolytically in pre-cometary ices. Experiments were conducted by forming various realistic interstellar mixed-molecular ices with and without polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at approx. 10 K under high vacuum irradiated with UV light from a hydrogen plasma lamp. The residue that remained after warming to room temperature was analyzed by HPLC, and by laser desorption mass spectrometry. The residue contains several classes of compounds which may be of prebiotic significance.

  14. The effect of selective desorption mechanisms during interstellar ice formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kalvāns, J.

    2015-04-01

    Major components of ices on interstellar grains in molecular clouds—water and carbon oxides—occur at various optical depths. This implies that selective desorption mechanisms are at work. An astrochemical model of a contracting low-mass molecular cloud core is presented. Ice was treated as consisting of the surface and three subsurface layers (i.e., sublayers). Photodesorption, reactive desorption, and indirect reactive desorption were investigated. The latter manifests itself through desorption from H+H reaction on grains. Desorption of shallow subsurface species was also included. Modeling results suggest the existence of a “photon-dominated ice” during the early phases of core contraction. Subsurface ice is chemically processed by interstellar photons, which produces complex organic molecules (COMs). Desorption from the subsurface layer results in high COM gas-phase abundances at AV = 2.4-10 mag. This may contribute toward an explanation for COM observations in dark cores. It was found that photodesorption mostly governs the onset of ice accumulation onto grains. Reaction-specific reactive desorption is efficient for small molecules that form via highly exothermic atom-addition reactions. Higher reactive desorption efficiency results in lower gas-phase abundances of COMs. Indirect reactive desorption allows for closely reproducing the observed H2O:CO:CO2 ratio toward a number of background stars. Presumably, this can be done by any mechanism whose efficiency fits with the sequence CO≥slant C{{O}2}\\gg {{H}2}O. After the freeze-out has ended, the three sublayers represent chemically distinct parts of the mantle. The likely AV threshold for the appearance of CO ice is 8-10.5 mag. The lower value is supported by observations.

  15. SMALL-SCALE STRUCTURE OF THE INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM TOWARD {rho} Oph STARS: DIFFUSE BAND OBSERVATIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Cordiner, M. A.; Smith, A. M.; Sarre, P. J.; Fossey, S. J.

    2013-02-10

    We present an investigation of small-scale structure in the distribution of large molecules/dust in the interstellar medium through observations of diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). High signal-to-noise optical spectra were recorded toward the stars {rho} Oph A, B, C, and DE using the University College London Echelle Spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. The strengths of some of the DIBs are found to differ by about 5%-9% between the close binary stars {rho} Oph A and B, which are separated by a projected distance on the sky of only c. 344 AU. This is the first star system in which such small-scale DIB strength variations have been reported. The observed variations are attributed to differences between a combination of carrier abundance and the physical conditions present along each sightline. The sightline toward {rho} Oph C contains relatively dense, molecule-rich material and has the strongest {lambda}{lambda}5850 and 4726 DIBs. The gas toward DE is more diffuse and is found to exhibit weak ''C{sub 2}'' (blue) DIBs and strong yellow/red DIBs. The differences in diffuse band strengths between lines of sight are, in some cases, significantly greater in magnitude than the corresponding variations among atomic and diatomic species, indicating that the DIBs can be sensitive tracers of interstellar cloud conditions.

  16. Boussard Interstellar Ramjet Engine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The Boussard Interstellar Ramjet engine concept uses interstellar hydrogen scooped up from its environment as the spacecraft passes by to provide propellant mass. The hydrogen is then ionized and then collected by an electromagentic field. In this image, an onboard laser is uded to heat the plasma, and the laser or electron beam is used to trigger fusion pulses thereby creating propulsion.

  17. Deuterium enrichment of interstellar dusts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Das, Ankan; Chakrabarti, Sandip Kumar; Majumdar, Liton; Sahu, Dipen

    2016-07-01

    High abundance of some abundant and simple interstellar species could be explained by considering the chemistry that occurs on interstellar dusts. Because of its simplicity, the rate equation method is widely used to study the surface chemistry. However, because the recombination efficiency for the formation of any surface species is highly dependent on various physical and chemical parameters, the Monte Carlo method is best suited for addressing the randomness of the processes. We carry out Monte-Carlo simulation to study deuterium enrichment of interstellar grain mantle under various physical conditions. Based on the physical properties, various types of clouds are considered. We find that in diffuse cloud regions, very strong radiation fields persists and hardly a few layers of surface species are formed. In translucent cloud regions with a moderate radiation field, significant number of layers would be produced and surface coverage is mainly dominated by photo-dissociation products such as, C, CH_3, CH_2D, OH and OD. In the intermediate dense cloud regions (having number density of total hydrogen nuclei in all forms ˜2 × 10^4 cm^{-3}), water and methanol along with their deuterated derivatives are efficiently formed. For much higher density regions (˜10^6 cm^{-3}), water and methanol productions are suppressed but surface coverage of CO, CO_2, O_2, O_3 are dramatically increased. We find a very high degree of fractionation of water and methanol. Observational results support a high fractionation of methanol but surprisingly water fractionation is found to be low. This is in contradiction with our model results indicating alternative routes for de-fractionation of water.

  18. Is interstellar archeology possible?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrigan, Richard A.

    2012-09-01

    Searching for signatures of cosmic-scale archeological artifacts such as Dyson spheres is an interesting alternative to conventional radio SETI. Uncovering such an artifact does not require the intentional transmission of a signal on the part of the original civilization. This type of search is called interstellar archeology or sometimes cosmic archeology. A variety of interstellar archeology signatures is discussed including non-natural planetary atmospheric constituents, stellar doping, Dyson spheres, as well as signatures of stellar, and galactic-scale engineering. The concept of a Fermi bubble due to interstellar migration is reviewed in the discussion of galactic signatures. These potential interstellar archeological signatures are classified using the Kardashev scale. A modified Drake equation is introduced. With few exceptions interstellar archeological signatures are clouded and beyond current technological capabilities. However SETI for so-called cultural transmissions and planetary atmosphere signatures are within reach.

  19. Differential adsorption of CHON isomers at interstellar grain surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lattelais, M.; Pauzat, F.; Ellinger, Y.; Ceccarelli, C.

    2015-06-01

    Context. The CHON generic chemical formula covers different isomers such as isocyanic acid (HNCO), cyanic acid (HOCN), fulminic acid (HCNO), and isofulminic acid (HONC); the first three have been identified in a large variety of environments in the interstellar medium (ISM). Several phenomena could be at the origin of the observed abundances, such as different pathways of formation and destruction involving gas phase reactions with different possible activation barriers and/or surface processes depending on the local temperature and the nature of the support. Aims: The scope of this article is to shed some light on the interaction of the CHON isomers with interstellar grains as a function of the nature of the surface and to determine the corresponding adsorption energies in order to find whether this phenomenon could play a role in the abundances observed in the ISM. Methods: The question was addressed by means of numerical simulations using first principle periodic density functional theory (DFT) to represent the grain support as a solid of infinite dimension. Results: Regardless of the nature of the model surface (water ice, graphene, silica), two different classes of isomers were identified: weakly bound (HNCO and HCNO) and strongly bound (HOCN and HONC), with the adsorption energies of the latter group being about twice those of the former. The range of the adsorption energies is (from highest to lowest) HOCN > HONC > HNCO > HCNO. They are totally disconnected from the relative stabilities, which range from HNCO > HOCN > HCNO > HONC. Conclusions: The possibility of hydrogen bonding is the discriminating factor in the trapping of CHON species on grain surfaces. Whatever the environment, differential adsorption is effective and its contribution to the molecular abundances should not be ignored. The theoretical adsorption energies provided here could be profitably used for a more realistic modeling of molecule-surfaces interactions.

  20. Discovery of Interstellar Hydrogen Fluoride

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neufeld, David A.; Zmuidzinas, Jonas; Schilke, Peter; Phillips, Thomas G.

    1997-01-01

    We report the first detection of interstellar hydrogen fluoride. Using the Long Wavelength Spectrometer of the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), we have detected the 121.6973 micron J = 2-1 line of HF in absorption toward the far-infrared continuum source Sagittarius B2. The detection is statistically significant at the 13 sigma level. On the basis of our model for the excitation of HF in Sgr B2, the observed line equivalent width of 1.0 nm implies a hydrogen fluoride abundance of approximately 3 x 10(exp -10) relative to H2. If the elemental abundance of fluorine in Sgr B2 is the same as that in the solar system, then HF accounts for approximately 2% of the total number of fluorine nuclei. We expect hydrogen fluoride to be the dominant reservoir of gas-phase fluorine in Sgr B2, because it is formed rapidly in exothermic reactions of atomic fluorine with either water or molecular hydrogen; thus, the measured HF abundance suggests a substantial depletion of fluorine onto dust grains. Similar conclusions regarding depletion have previously been reached for the case of chlorine in dense interstellar clouds. We also find evidence at a lower level of statistical significance (approximately 5 sigma) for an emission feature at the expected position of the 4(sub 32)-4(sub 23) 121.7219 micron line of water. The emission-line equivalent width of 0.5 nm for the water feature is consistent with the water abundance of 5 x 10(exp -6) relative to H2 that has been inferred previously from observations of the hot core of Sgr B2.

  1. Discovery of Interstellar Hydrogen Fluoride

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neufeld, David A.; Zmuidzinas, Jonas; Schilke, Peter; Phillips, Thomas G.

    1997-01-01

    We report the first detection of interstellar hydrogen fluoride. Using the Long Wavelength Spectrometer of the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), we have detected the 121.6973 micron J = 2-1 line of HF in absorption toward the far-infrared continuum source Sagittarius B2. The detection is statistically significant at the 13 sigma level. On the basis of our model for the excitation of HF in Sgr B2, the observed line equivalent width of 1.0 nm implies a hydrogen fluoride abundance of about 3 x 10 (exp -10) relative to H, If the elemental abundance of fluorine in Sgr B2 is the same as that in the solar system, then HF accounts for about 2% of the total number of fluorine nuclei. We expect hydrogen fluoride to be the dominant reservoir of gas-phase fluorine in Sgr B2, because it is formed rapidly in exothermic reactions of atomic fluorine with either water or molecular hydrogen; thus, the measured HF abundance suggests a substantial depletion of fluorine onto dust grains. Similar conclusions regarding depletion have previously been reached for the case of chlorine in dense interstellar clouds. We also find evidence at a lower level of statistical significance (about 5 sigma) for an emission feature at the expected position of the 4(sub 32)-4(sub 23) 121.7219 micron line of water. The emission-line equivalent width of 0.5 mm for the water feature is consistent with the water abundance of 5 x 10(exp -6) relative to H, that has been inferred previously from observations of the hot core of Sgr B2.

  2. Chemistry of nitrile anions in the interstellar medium

    SciTech Connect

    Carles, S.; Le Garrec, J.-L.; Biennier, L.; Guillemin, J.-C.

    2015-12-31

    Despite the extreme conditions of temperature (down to 10K) and density (down to 100 molecules/cm{sup 3}), the giant molecular clouds and the circumstellar envelopes present a rich and complex chemistry. To date, more than 180 molecules have been detected in the InterStellar Medium (ISM) with a large abundance of nitriles (RC≡N). In addition, several anions have been recently observed in this medium: C{sub 4}H{sup ¯}, C{sub 6}H{sup ¯}, C{sub 8}H{sup ¯}, CN{sup ¯}, C{sub 3}N{sup ¯} and C{sub 5}N{sup ¯}. These last species should play a key role in the molecular growth towards complexity. To explore this hypothesis, their reactivity must be studied in the laboratory. The FALP-MS and the CRESU experimental apparatuses of the Rennes University are able to measure absolute rate coefficient of various chemical reactions, including the ion – molecule reactions, in gas phase at low temperature (from 300K for the FALP-MS down to 15K for the CRESU). Therefore, these experimental tools are particularly adapted to the kinetic studies of reactions potentially involved in the Interstellar Medium. One of the difficulties encountered in experiments with anions is their generation. We describe here the formation of the CN{sup ¯} and C{sub 3}N{sup ¯} anions by dissociative electron attachment on the molecular precursors BrCN and BrC{sub 3}N.

  3. Energetic Processing of Interstellar Ices: A Route to Complexity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Marla H.; Hudson, Reggie L.

    2009-01-01

    More than 140 gas-phase molecules have been detected in the interstellar (IS) medium or in circumstellar environments including inorganics, organics, ions, and radicals. The significant abundance of large, complex organic molecules, and families of isomers in these regions makes the origin and formation history of these species the subject of debate. Observationally determined condensed-phase species are H2O, CO, CO2, NH3 and CH30H, with CH4, HCOOH, OCS, OCN-, H2CO and NH4(+) present at trace levels. These ices can undergo energetic processing with cosmic rays or far-UV photons to form larger complex organics with abundance levels that make them undetectable in icy mantles. Once warmed, however, it is likely that these complex species would enter the gas-phase where they might be detected by Herschel or Alma. Understanding the role of radiation chemistry and thermal processing of ices and identifying new products are the goals of our laboratory research. In the Cosmic lee Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Plight Center, we can study both the photo-and radiation chemistries of ices from 8 -- 300 K. Using dear- and mid-IR spectroscopy we can follow the destruction of primary molecules and the formation of radicals and secondary products as a function of energetic processing. During warming we can monitor the trapping of species and the results of any thermal chemistry. An overview of recent and past work will focus on complex secondary radiation products from small condensed-phase IS species. Likely reactions include dimerization, isomerization, H-addition and H-elimination. Another focus of our work is the development of reaction schemes for the formation of complex molecules and the use of such schemes to predict new molecules awaiting detection by Herschel and Alma.

  4. INTERSTELLAR ANALOGS FROM DEFECTIVE CARBON NANOSTRUCTURES ACCOUNT FOR INTERSTELLAR EXTINCTION

    SciTech Connect

    Tan, Zhenquan; Abe, Hiroya; Sato, Kazuyoshi; Ohara, Satoshi; Chihara, Hiroki; Koike, Chiyoe; Kaneko, Kenji

    2010-11-15

    Because interstellar dust is closely related to the evolution of matter in the galactic environment and many other astrophysical phenomena, the laboratory synthesis of interstellar dust analogs has received significant attention over the past decade. To simulate the ultraviolet (UV) interstellar extinction feature at 217.5 nm originating from carbonaceous interstellar dust, many reports focused on the UV absorption properties of laboratory-synthesized interstellar dust analogs. However, no general relation has been established between UV interstellar extinction and artificial interstellar dust analogs. Here, we show that defective carbon nanostructures prepared by high-energy collisions exhibit a UV absorption feature at 220 nm which we suggest accounts for the UV interstellar extinction at 217.5 nm. The morphology of some carbon nanostructures is similar to that of nanocarbons discovered in the Allende meteorite. The similarity between the absorption feature of the defective carbon nanostructures and UV interstellar extinction indicates a strong correlation between the defective carbon nanostructures and interstellar dust.

  5. Addition of nucleophiles on cyanoacetylene N≡CCH=CH-X (X = NH2, OH, SH, …). Synthesis and Physico-chemical Properties of Potential Prebiotic Compounds or Interstellar Molecules.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guillemin, Jean-Claude

    Among the molecules detected to date in the interstellar medium (ISM), cyanopolyynes constitute a rich and important subset. These robust compounds exhibit special properties with respect to their reactivity and kinetic stability, and some have been found in other astrochemical environments, such as comets or in lab simulations of planetary atmospheres.[1] These systems are supposed to be good starting materials for the formation of new, more complex, astrochemical species, or amino acids on primitive Earth. The formal addition of water, hydrogen sulfur or ammonia on cyanoacetylene (H-C≡C-C≡N) gives the corresponding heterosubstitued acrylonitriles. We have extensively investigated the study of such adducts. With water, the formed cyanovinylalcohol (NC-CH=CH-OH) is in a tautomeric equilibrium with the kinetically more stable cyanoacetaldehyde (NC-CH2 CH(=O)). Isolation of these compounds in pure form is challenging but the gas phase infrared spectrum has been recorded. Reaction of ammonia with cyanoacetylene gives aminoacrylonitrile (H2 N-CH=CH-CN), a stable enamine; microwave and infrared spectra were obtained.[2] Similarly the MW spectrum of 3-mercapto-2-propenenitrile (HS-CH=CH-CN) has been recorded.[3] Attempts to detect both species in the ISM have been performed. A combined experimental and theoretical study on the gas-phase basicity and acidity of a series of cyanovinyl derivatives is also presented.[4] We will demonstrate that many particular physicochemical properties are associated to these simple adducts of cyanoacetylene, compounds often proposed as prebiotic molecules or components of the ISM. 1] S. W. Fow, K. Dose, Molecular Evolution and the Origin of Life, Marcel Dekker, Stateplace- New York, metricconverterProductID1977. A1977. A. Coustenis, T. Encrenaz, B. BJzard, B. Bjoraker, G. Graner, G. Dang-Nhu, E. AriJ, Icarus 1993, 102, 240 - 269. [2] Benidar, A. ; Guillemin, J.-C. ; M—, O. ; Y‡-ez, M. J. Phys. Chem. A. 2005, 109, 4705-4712. E

  6. Complex Organics from Laboratory Simulated Interstellar Ices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dworkin, J. P.

    2003-01-01

    Many of the volatiles in interstellar dense clouds exist in ices surrounding dust grains. The low temperatures of these ices (T < 50 K) preclude most chemical reactions, but photolysis can drive reactions that produce a suite of new species, many of which are complex organics. We study the UV and proton radiation processing of interstellar ice analogs to explore links between interstellar chemistry, the organics in comets and meteorites, and the origin of life on Earth. The high D/H ratios in some interstellar species, and the knowledge that many of the organics in primitive meteorites are D-enriched, suggest that such links are plausible. Once identified, these species may serve as markers of interstellar heritage of cometary dust and meteorites. Of particular interest are our findings that UV photolysis of interstellar ice analogs produce molecules of importance in current living organisms, including quinones, amphiphiles, and amino acids. Quinones are essential in vital metabolic roles such as electron transport. Studies show that quinones should be made wherever polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are photolyzed in interstellar ices. In the case of anthracene-containing ices, we have observed the production of 9-anthrone and 9,10 anthraquinone, both of which have been observed in the Murchison meteorite. Amphiphiles are also made when mixed molecular ices are photolyzed. These amphiphiles self-assemble into fluorescent vesicles when placed in liquid water, as do Murchison extracts. Both have the ability to trap an ionic dye. Photolysis of plausible ices can also produce alanine, serine, and glycine as well as a number of small alcohols and amines. Flash heating of the room temperature residue generated by such experiments generates mass spectral distributions similar to those of IDPs. The detection of high D/H ratios in some interstellar molecular species, and the knowledge that many of the organics, such as hydroxy and amino acids, in primitive meteorites are D

  7. Complex molecules in galactic dust cores: Biologically interesting molecules and dust chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Shen-Yuan

    2000-06-01

    The astronomical study of molecules has been an essential research field since the development of radio astronomy. Presently nearly 120 molecules have been identified in interstellar and circumstellar environments. The complexity of molecular species, and particularly organic molecules, that can be synthesized in the interstellar medium (ISM) leads to one interesting and important subfield in interstellar molecular studies, namely, the search and study for molecules of possible biological interest. Observationally, complex and most saturated molecules are observed exclusively toward compact hot, dense regions, often called ``hot cores'', in molecular clouds. To account for the observed amount of saturated organic molecules, interstellar dust particles play an important role. It has often been suggested that solid state reactions on grain surfaces provide an efficient way to synthesis saturated organic molecules. The objective of this study is to obtain observational data on biologically interesting molecules and to study important complex interstellar molecules. Since hot molecular cores are inherently compact, interferometric observations are therefore an ideal approach to study these sources. All our observations were all made with the Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland-Association (BIMA) Array. We conducted the first survey of formic acid (HCOOH) with an interferometric array, and identified at least three sources. HCOOH is found with column densities above 1015 cm-2 in these sources. The correlation between HCOOH and HCOOCH3 emission implies a surface chemistry origin of HCOOH. Details of the results are given in Chapter 2. Meanwhile, we continued to search for molecules of biological interest, namely urea, acetic acid, and glycine. In Chapter 3, the results of column density limits set by our observations are discussed. We have also investigated properties of individual hot molecular cores. It is very important to obtain the physical and chemical properties of these

  8. Composition, structure and chemistry of interstellar dust

    SciTech Connect

    Tielens, A.G.G.M.; Allamandola, L.J.

    1986-09-01

    The observational constraints on the composition of the interstellar dust are analyzed. The dust in the diffuse interstellar medium consists of a mixture of stardust (amorphous silicates, amorphous carbon, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and graphite) and interstellar medium dust (organic refractory material). Stardust seems to dominate in the local diffuse interstellar medium. Inside molecular clouds, however, icy grain mantles are also important. The structural differences between crystalline and amorphous materials, which lead to differences in the optical properties, are discussed. The astrophysical consequences are briefly examined. The physical principles of grain surface chemistry are discussed and applied to the formation of molecular hydrogen and icy grain mantles inside dense molecular clouds. Transformation of these icy grain mantles into the organic refractory dust component observed in the diffuse interstellar medium requires ultraviolet sources inside molecular clouds as well as radical diffusion promoted by transient heating of the mantle. The latter process also returns a considerable fraction of the molecules in the grain mantle to the gas phase.

  9. Composition, structure and chemistry of interstellar dust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tielens, Alexander G. G. M.; Allamandola, Louis J.

    1986-01-01

    The observational constraints on the composition of the interstellar dust are analyzed. The dust in the diffuse interstellar medium consists of a mixture of stardust (amorphous silicates, amorphous carbon, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and graphite) and interstellar medium dust (organic refractory material). Stardust seems to dominate in the local diffuse interstellar medium. Inside molecular clouds, however, icy grain mantles are also important. The structural differences between crystalline and amorphous materials, which lead to differences in the optical properties, are discussed. The astrophysical consequences are briefly examined. The physical principles of grain surface chemistry are discussed and applied to the formation of molecular hydrogen and icy grain mantles inside dense molecular clouds. Transformation of these icy grain mantles into the organic refractory dust component observed in the diffuse interstellar medium requires ultraviolet sources inside molecular clouds as well as radical diffusion promoted by transient heating of the mantle. The latter process also returns a considerable fraction of the molecules in the grain mantle to the gas phase.

  10. Newly synthesized lithium in the interstellar medium

    PubMed

    Knauth; Federman; Lambert; Crane

    2000-06-01

    Astronomical observations of elemental and isotopic abundances provide the means to determine the source of elements and to reveal their evolutionary pathways since the formation of the Galaxy some 15 billion years ago. The abundance of lithium is particularly interesting because, although some of it is thought to be primordial, most results from spallation reactions (in which Galactic cosmic rays break apart larger nuclei in the interstellar medium). Spallation reactions are crucial for the production of other light elements, such as beryllium and boron, so observations of lithium isotopic abundances can be used to test model predictions for light-element synthesis in general. Here we report observations of 7Li and 6Li abundances in several interstellar clouds lying in the direction of the star o Persei. We find the abundance ratio 7Li/6Li to be about 2, which is significantly lower than the average Solar System value of 12.3 (refs 6, 7). An abundance ratio of 2 is clear evidence that the observed lithium must have resulted entirely from spallation, confirming a basic tenet of light-element synthesis. The total lithium abundance, however, is not enhanced as expected.

  11. Interstellar Dust Grain Alignment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andersson, B.-G.; Lazarian, A.; Vaillancourt, John E.

    2015-08-01

    Interstellar polarization at optical-to-infrared wavelengths is known to arise from asymmetric dust grains aligned with the magnetic field. This effect provides a potentially powerful probe of magnetic field structure and strength if the details of the grain alignment can be reliably understood. Theory and observations have recently converged on a quantitative, predictive description of interstellar grain alignment based on radiative processes. The development of a general, analytical model for this radiative alignment torque (RAT) theory has allowed specific, testable predictions for realistic interstellar conditions. We outline the theoretical and observational arguments in favor of RAT alignment, as well as reasons the "classical" paramagnetic alignment mechanism is unlikely to work, except possibly for the very smallest grains. With further detailed characterization of the RAT mechanism, grain alignment and polarimetry promise to not only better constrain the interstellar magnetic field but also provide new information on the dust characteristics.

  12. Interstellar Propulsion Concepts Assessment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Forward, Robert L.

    2000-01-01

    NASA is investigating the feasibility of conducting extra-solar and interstellar missions over the next 10 to 50 years. An assessment of technologies supporting these near and far term objectives is required. To help meet these objectives the Principal Investigator assessed the feasibility of candidate propulsion systems for the proposed 'Interstellar Probe', a mission to send a spacecraft to the Heliopause at 250 AU and beyond.

  13. Herschel/HIFI line surveys: Discovery of interstellar chloronium (H2Cl+)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lis, Dariusz C.

    2015-01-01

    Prior to the launch of Herschel, HCl was the only chlorine-containing molecule detected in the interstellar medium (ISM). However, chemical models have identified chloronium, H2Cl+, as a relatively abundant species that is potentially detectable. H2Cl+ was predicted to be most abundant in the environments where the ultraviolet radiation is strong: in diffuse clouds, or near the surfaces of dense clouds illuminated by nearby O and B stars. The HIFI instrument on Herschel provided the first detection of H2Cl+ in the ISM. The 212-101 lines of ortho-H235Cl+ and ortho-H237Cl+ were detected in absorption toward NGC 6334I, and the 111-000 transition of para-H235Cl+ was detected in absorption toward NGC 6334I and Sgr B2(S). The derived HCl / H2Cl+ column density ratios, ˜1-10, are within the range predicted by models of diffuse and dense Photon Dominated Regions (PDRs). However, the observed H2Cl+ column densities, in excess of 1013 cm-2, are significantly higher than the model predictions. These observations demonstrate the outstanding spectroscopic capabilities of HIFI for detecting new interstellar molecules and providing key constraints for astrochemical models.

  14. GAS-GRAIN MODELING OF ISOCYANIC ACID (HNCO), CYANIC ACID (HOCN), FULMINIC ACID (HCNO), AND ISOFULMINIC ACID (HONC) IN ASSORTED INTERSTELLAR ENVIRONMENTS

    SciTech Connect

    Quan Donghui; Herbst, Eric; Osamura, Yoshihiro; Roueff, Evelyne

    2010-12-20

    Isocyanic acid (HNCO) is a well-known interstellar molecule. Evidence also exists for the presence of two of its metastable isomers in the interstellar medium: HCNO (fulminic acid) and HOCN (cyanic acid). Fulminic acid has been detected toward cold and lukewarm sources, while cyanic acid has been detected both in these sources and in warm sources in the Galactic Center. Gas-phase models can reproduce the abundances of the isomers in cold sources, but overproduce HCNO in the Galactic Center. Here we present a detailed study of a gas-grain model that contains these three isomers, plus a fourth isomer, isofulminic acid (HONC), for four types of sources: hot cores, the warm envelopes of hot cores, lukewarm corinos, and cold cores. The current model is partially able to rationalize the abundances of HNCO, HOCN, and HCNO in cold and warm sources. Predictions for HONC in all environments are also made.

  15. On the detection of rubidium in diffuse interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Federman, S. R.; Sneden, C.; Schempp, W. V.; Smith, W. H.

    1985-01-01

    A search for absorption from neutral rubidium at 7800 A was conducted. No evidence for absorption to a 3 sigma limit of less than 1.5 mA was seen in the diffuse interstellar gas toward the stars omicron Persei, zeta Persei, and zeta Ophiuchi. Present results do not confirm the detection by Jura and Smith (1981) toward zeta Oph. A possible reason for the discrepancy is presented. In light of the present measurements, the abundance of interstellar rubidium in reconsidered.

  16. Are CO Observations of Interstellar Clouds Tracing the H2?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Federrath, Christoph; Glover, S. C. O.; Klessen, R. S.; Mac Low, M.

    2010-01-01

    Interstellar clouds are commonly observed through the emission of rotational transitions from carbon monoxide (CO). However, the abundance ratio of CO to molecular hydrogen (H2), which is the most abundant molecule in molecular clouds is only about 10-4. This raises the important question of whether the observed CO emission is actually tracing the bulk of the gas in these clouds, and whether it can be used to derive quantities like the total mass of the cloud, the gas density distribution function, the fractal dimension, and the velocity dispersion--size relation. To evaluate the usability and accuracy of CO as a tracer for H2 gas, we generate synthetic observations of hydrodynamical models that include a detailed chemical network to follow the formation and photo-dissociation of H2 and CO. These three-dimensional models of turbulent interstellar cloud formation self-consistently follow the coupled thermal, dynamical and chemical evolution of 32 species, with a particular focus on H2 and CO (Glover et al. 2009). We find that CO primarily traces the dense gas in the clouds, however, with a significant scatter due to turbulent mixing and self-shielding of H2 and CO. The H2 probability distribution function (PDF) is well-described by a log-normal distribution. In contrast, the CO column density PDF has a strongly non-Gaussian low-density wing, not at all consistent with a log-normal distribution. Centroid velocity statistics show that CO is more intermittent than H2, leading to an overestimate of the velocity scaling exponent in the velocity dispersion--size relation. With our systematic comparison of H2 and CO data from the numerical models, we hope to provide a statistical formula to correct for the bias of CO observations. CF acknowledges financial support from a Kade Fellowship of the American Museum of Natural History.

  17. Excitation of interstellar hydrogen chloride

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Neufild, David A.; Green, Sheldon

    1994-01-01

    We have computed new rate coefficients for the collisional excitation of HCl by He, in the close-coupled formalism and using an interaction potential determined recently by Willey, Choong, & DeLucia. Results have been obtained for temperatures between 10 K and 300 K. With the use of the infinite order sudden approximation, we have derived approximate expressions of general applicability which may be used to estimate how the rate constant for a transition (J to J prime) is apportioned among the various hyperfine states F prime of the final state J prime. Using these new rate coefficients, we have obtained predictions for the HCl rotational line strengths expected from a dense clump of interstellar gas, as a function of the HCl fractional abundance. Over a wide range of HCl abundances, we have found that the line luminosities are proportional to abundance(exp 2/3), a general result which can be explained using a simple analytical approximation. Our model for the excitation of HCl within a dense molecular cloud core indicates that the J = 1 goes to 0 line strengths measured by Blake, Keene, & Phillips toward the Orion Molecular Cloud (OMC-1) imply a fractional abundance n(HCl)/n(H2) approximately 2 x 10(exp -9), a value which amounts to only approximately 0.3% of the cosmic abundance of chlorine nuclei. Given a fractional abundance of 2 x 10(exp -9), the contribution of HCl emission to the total radiative cooling of a dense clump is small. For Orion, we predict a flux approximately 10(exp -19) W/sq cm for the HCl J = 3 goes to 2 line near 159.8 micrometers, suggesting that the strength of this line could be measured using the Infrared Space Observatory.

  18. Interstellar cloud material: contribution to planetary atmospheres.

    PubMed

    Butler, D M; Newman, M J; Talbot, R J

    1978-08-11

    A statistical analysis of the properties of dense interstellar clouds indicates that the solar system has encountered at least a dozen clouds of sufficient density to cause planets to accumulate nonnegligible amounts of some isotopes. The effect is most pronounced for neon. This mechanism could be responsible for much of the neon in Earth's atmosphere. For Mars, the predicted amount of neon added by cloud encounters greatly exceeds the present abundance.

  19. Molecules between the Stars.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Verschuur, Gerrit L.

    1987-01-01

    Provides a listing of molecules discovered to date in the vast interstellar clouds of dust and gas. Emphasizes the recent discoveries of organic molecules. Discusses molecular spectral lines, MASERs (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), molecular clouds, and star birth. (TW)

  20. Hydrocarbons on Saturns Satellites: Relationship to Interstellar Dust and the Solar Nebula

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cruikshank, D. P.

    2012-01-01

    aromatic molecules, together with measurements from the VIMS data, allow us to calculate the number of C atoms to find the relative abundances of C atoms in the two kinds of organic molecules. The strength of the prominent aromatic C-H stretch band relative to the aliphatic band complex in Phoebe and Iapetus indicates that the relative abundance of aromatic to aliphatic carbon is very large (greater than 200). In contract, the aromatic band is nearly imperceptible in spectra of interplanetary dust particles (IDP), returned samples from comet 91P/Wild 2, insoluable carbonaceous material in most meteorites, and the diffuse interstellar dust (DISM) (although aromatics are known in all these materials-here we consider only the spectroscopic signature)

  1. Differences in leukocyte differentiation molecule abundances on domestic sheep (Ovis aries) and bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) neutrophils identified by flow cytometry.

    PubMed

    Highland, Margaret A; Schneider, David A; White, Stephen N; Madsen-Bouterse, Sally A; Knowles, Donald P; Davis, William C

    2016-06-01

    Although both domestic sheep (DS) and bighorn sheep (BHS) are affected by similar respiratory bacterial pathogens, experimental and field data indicate BHS are more susceptible to pneumonia. Cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for use in flow cytometry (FC) are valuable reagents for interspecies comparative immune system analyses. This study describes cross-reactive mAbs that recognize leukocyte differentiation molecules (LDMs) and major histocompatibility complex antigens on DS and BHS leukocytes. Characterization of multichannel eosinophil autofluorescence in this study permitted cell-type specific gating of granulocytes for evaluating LDMs, specifically on neutrophils, by single-label FC. Evaluation of relative abundances of LDMs by flow cytometry revealed greater CD11a, CD11b, CD18 (β2 integrins) and CD 172a (SIRPα) on DS neutrophils and greater CD14 (lipopolysaccharide receptor) on BHS neutrophils. Greater CD25 (IL-2) was identified on BHS lymphocytes following Concavalin A stimulation. While DS and BHS have similar total peripheral blood leukocyte counts, BHS have proportionately more neutrophils.

  2. Chemistry in interstellar space. [environment characteristics influencing reaction dynamics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donn, B.

    1973-01-01

    The particular characteristics of chemistry in interstellar space are determined by the unique environmental conditions involved. Interstellar matter is present at extremely low densities. Large deviations from thermodynamic equilibrium are, therefore, to be expected. A relatively intense ultraviolet radiation is present in many regions. The temperatures are in the range from 5 to 200 K. Data concerning the inhibiting effect of small activation energies in interstellar clouds are presented in a table. A summary of measured activation energies or barrier heights for exothermic exchange reactions is also provided. Problems of molecule formation are discussed, taking into account gas phase reactions and surface catalyzed processes.

  3. Three milieux for interstellar chemistry: gas, dust, and ice.

    PubMed

    Herbst, Eric

    2014-02-28

    The interdisciplinary science of astrochemistry is 45 years of age, if we pinpoint its origin to have occurred when the first polyatomic molecules were detected in the interstellar gas. Since that time, the field has grown remarkably from an esoteric area of research to one that unites scientists around the globe. Almost 200 different molecules have been detected in the gas-phase of interstellar clouds, mainly by rotational spectroscopy, while dust particles and their icy mantles in colder regions can be probed by vibrational spectroscopy. Astrochemistry is exciting to scientists in a number of different fields. Astronomers are interested in molecular spectra from the heavens because such spectra are excellent probes of the physical conditions where molecules exist, while chemists are interested in the exotic molecules, their spectra, and the unusual chemical processes that produce and destroy them under conditions often very different from those on our home planet. Chemical simulations involving thousands of reactions are now used to calculate concentrations and spectra of interstellar molecules as functions of time. Even biologists share an interest in the subject, because the interstellar clouds of gas and dust, portions of which collapse to form stars and planetary systems, contain organic molecules that may become part of the initial inventory of new planets and may indeed be the precursors of life. An irresistible subject to its practitioners, astrochemistry is proving to be exciting to a much wider audience. In this perspective article, the field is first introduced, and the emphasis is then placed on the three environments in which chemistry occurs in the interstellar medium: the gas phase, the surfaces of bare dust particles, and the ice mantles that cover bare grains in cold dense interstellar clouds. What we do know and what we do not know is distinguished. The status of chemical simulations for a variety of interstellar sources having to do with stellar

  4. Three milieux for interstellar chemistry: gas, dust, and ice.

    PubMed

    Herbst, Eric

    2014-02-28

    The interdisciplinary science of astrochemistry is 45 years of age, if we pinpoint its origin to have occurred when the first polyatomic molecules were detected in the interstellar gas. Since that time, the field has grown remarkably from an esoteric area of research to one that unites scientists around the globe. Almost 200 different molecules have been detected in the gas-phase of interstellar clouds, mainly by rotational spectroscopy, while dust particles and their icy mantles in colder regions can be probed by vibrational spectroscopy. Astrochemistry is exciting to scientists in a number of different fields. Astronomers are interested in molecular spectra from the heavens because such spectra are excellent probes of the physical conditions where molecules exist, while chemists are interested in the exotic molecules, their spectra, and the unusual chemical processes that produce and destroy them under conditions often very different from those on our home planet. Chemical simulations involving thousands of reactions are now used to calculate concentrations and spectra of interstellar molecules as functions of time. Even biologists share an interest in the subject, because the interstellar clouds of gas and dust, portions of which collapse to form stars and planetary systems, contain organic molecules that may become part of the initial inventory of new planets and may indeed be the precursors of life. An irresistible subject to its practitioners, astrochemistry is proving to be exciting to a much wider audience. In this perspective article, the field is first introduced, and the emphasis is then placed on the three environments in which chemistry occurs in the interstellar medium: the gas phase, the surfaces of bare dust particles, and the ice mantles that cover bare grains in cold dense interstellar clouds. What we do know and what we do not know is distinguished. The status of chemical simulations for a variety of interstellar sources having to do with stellar

  5. Correlation between molecular lines and diffuse interstellar bands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Szczerba, Richard; Krelowski, J.; Walker, G. A. H.; Kennelly, E. T.; Sneden, C.; Volk, Kevin; Hill, G.

    1994-01-01

    Observations are presented of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIB's) at 4726, 4763, and 4789 A and at 5780 and 5797 A together with the ultraviolet lines of CH and CN molecules for stars with different shapes of UV extinction curve. The new results concerning the relationship between different characteristics of the interstellar clouds; molecular lines, blue and yellow DIB's, and UV extinction curves are discussed.

  6. Low-temperature surface formation of NH3 and HNCO: hydrogenation of nitrogen atoms in CO-rich interstellar ice analogues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fedoseev, G.; Ioppolo, S.; Zhao, D.; Lamberts, T.; Linnartz, H.

    2015-01-01

    Solid-state astrochemical reaction pathways have the potential to link the formation of small nitrogen-bearing species, like NH3 and HNCO, and prebiotic molecules, specifically amino acids. To date, the chemical origin of such small nitrogen-containing species is still not well understood, despite the fact that ammonia is an abundant constituent of interstellar ices towards young stellar objects and quiescent molecular clouds. This is mainly because of the lack of dedicated laboratory studies. The aim of this work is to experimentally investigate the formation routes of NH3 and HNCO through non-energetic surface reactions in interstellar ice analogues under fully controlled laboratory conditions and at astrochemically relevant temperatures. This study focuses on the formation of NH3 and HNCO in CO-rich (non-polar) interstellar ices that simulate the CO freeze-out stage in dark interstellar cloud regions, well before thermal and energetic processing start to become relevant. We demonstrate and discuss the surface formation of solid HNCO through the interaction of CO molecules with NH radicals - one of the intermediates in the formation of solid NH3 upon sequential hydrogenation of N atoms. The importance of HNCO for astrobiology is discussed.

  7. Isotope Fractionation in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Charnley, Steven

    2011-01-01

    Anomalously fractionated isotopic material is found in many primitive Solar System objects, such as meteorites and comets. It is thought, in some cases, to trace interstellar matter that was incorporated into the Solar Nebula without undergoing significant processing. We will present the results of models of the nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon fractionation chemistry in dense molecular clouds, particularly in cores where substantial freeze-out of molecules on to dust has occurred. The range of fractionation ratios expected in different interstellar molecules will be discussed and compared to the ratios measured in molecular clouds, comets and meteoritic material. These models make several predictions that can be tested in the near future by molecular line observations, particularly with ALMA.

  8. Structural Evolution of Interstellar Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hammonds, Mark; Candian, Alessandra; Mori, Tamami; Usui, Fumihiko; Onaka, Takashi

    2015-08-01

    Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are an important reservoir for molecular carbon in the interstellar medium (ISM), and investigations into their chemistry and behaviour may be important to the understanding of how carbon is processed from simple forms into complex prebiotic molecules such as those detected in chondritic meteorites. In this study, infrared astronomical data from AKARI and other observatories are used together with laboratory and theoretical data to study variations in the structure of emitting PAHs in interstellar environments using spectroscopic decomposition techniques and bands arising from carbon-hydrogen bond vibrations at wavelengths from 3 - 14 microns. Results and inferences are discussed in terms of the processing of large carbonaceous molecules in astrophysical environments.

  9. Matrix isolation as a tool for studying interstellar chemical reactions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ball, David W.; Ortman, Bryan J.; Hauge, Robert H.; Margrave, John L.

    1989-01-01

    Since the identification of the OH radical as an interstellar species, over 50 molecular species were identified as interstellar denizens. While identification of new species appears straightforward, an explanation for their mechanisms of formation is not. Most astronomers concede that large bodies like interstellar dust grains are necessary for adsorption of molecules and their energies of reactions, but many of the mechanistic steps are unknown and speculative. It is proposed that data from matrix isolation experiments involving the reactions of refractory materials (especially C, Si, and Fe atoms and clusters) with small molecules (mainly H2, H2O, CO, CO2) are particularly applicable to explaining mechanistic details of likely interstellar chemical reactions. In many cases, matrix isolation techniques are the sole method of studying such reactions; also in many cases, complexations and bond rearrangements yield molecules never before observed. The study of these reactions thus provides a logical basis for the mechanisms of interstellar reactions. A list of reactions is presented that would simulate interstellar chemical reactions. These reactions were studied using FTIR-matrix isolation techniques.

  10. H2 in interstellar and extragalactic ices: infrared characteristics, ultraviolet production, and implications.

    PubMed

    Sandford, S A; Allamandola, L J

    1993-06-01

    H2 is the most abundant molecule in the universe. We demonstrate that this molecule may be an important component of interstellar and possibly intergalactic ices, both because it can be formed in situ, within the ices, and because gas phase H2 can freeze out onto dust grains in some astrophysical environments. The condensation-sublimation and infrared spectral properties of ices containing H2 are presented. We show that solid H2 in H20-rich ices can be detected by an infrared absorption band at 4137 cm-1 (2.417 micrometers). The surface binding energy of H2 to H2O ice was measured to the delta Hs/k = 555 +/- 35 K. Surface binding energies can be used to calculate the residence times of H2 on grain surfaces as a function of temperature. Some of the implications of these results are considered.

  11. Interstellar Precursors of Meteoritic Organics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Charnley, S. B.

    2003-01-01

    The organic inventory initially available to protostellar disks is the first step on the long chemical path to the development of Life. The early earth may have obtained most its volatile material from the arrival of meteorites and comets at its surface. Determining the most likely distribution of meteoritic and cometary organic molecules that could seed primitive planets is a major goal since it sets the initial conditions for, at least part of, the phase of prebiotic chemical evolution. Observations and measurements of the chemical composition of primitive Solar System organics, and of dense molecular clouds, should allow the construction of coherent theoretical picture of the development of organic complexity from interstellar biogenic material to the beginning of prebiotic evolution.

  12. The interstellar gas experiment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lind, D. L.; Geiss, J.; Buehler, F.; Eugster, O.

    1992-01-01

    The Interstellar Gas Experiment (IGE) exposed thin metallic foils to collect neutral interstellar gas particles. These particles penetrate the solar system due to their motion relative to the sun. Thus, it is possible to entrap them in the collecting foils along with precipitating magnetospheric and perhaps some ambient atmospheric particles. For the entire duration of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) mission, seven of these foils collected particles arriving from seven different directions as seen from the spacecraft. In the mass spectroscopic analysis of the noble gas component of these particles, we have detected the isotopes of He-3, He-4, Ne-20, and Ne-22. In the foil analyses carried out so far, we find a distribution of particle arrival directions which shows that a significant part of the trapped particles are indeed interstellar atoms. The analysis needed to subtract the competing fluxes of magnetospheric and atmospheric particles is still in progress.

  13. High Abundance of Ions in Cosmic Ices

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gudipati, Murthy S.; Allamandola, Louis J.; Fonda, Mark (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Water-rich, mixed molecular ices and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are common throughout interstellar molecular clouds and the Solar System. Vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) irradiation and particle bombardment of these abiotic ices produces complex organic species, including important biogenic molecules such as amino acids and functionalized PAHs which may have played a role in the origin of life. This ability of such water-rich, oxygen dominated ices to promote production of complex organic species is surprising and points to an important, unusual, but previously overlooked mechanism at play within the ice. Here we report the nature of this mechanism using electronic spectroscopy. VUV-irradiation of PAH/H2O ices leads to an unprecedented and efficient (greater than 70 %) conversion of the neutral PAHs to their cation form (PAH+). Further, these H2O/PAH+ ices are stabile at temperatures below 50 K, a temperature domain common throughout interstellar clouds and the Solar System. Between 50 and 125 K they react to form the complex organics. In view of this, we conclude that charged PAHs and other molecular ions should be common and abundant in many cosmic ices. The chemical, spectroscopic and physical properties of these ion-rich ices can be of fundamental importance for objects as diverse as comets, planets, and molecular clouds and may account for several poorly understood phenomena associated with each of these object classes.

  14. Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rudd, R.; Textor, G.

    1991-01-01

    The DSN (Deep Space Network) mission support requirements for the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM) are summarized. The general objectives of the VIM are to investigate the interplanetary and interstellar media and to continue the Voyager program of ultraviolet astronomy. The VIM will utilize both Voyager spacecraft for the period from January 1990 through December 2019. The mission objectives are outlined and the DSN support requirements are defined through the presentation of tables and narratives describing the spacecraft flight profile; DSN support coverage; frequency assignments; support parameters for telemetry, control and support systems; and tracking support responsibility.

  15. Oscillator strengths for lines of the F/0, 0, 0/-X/0, 0, 0/ band of H2O at 111.5 nanometers and the abundance of H2O in diffuse interstellar clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, P. L.; Yoshino, K.; Griesinger, H. E.; Black, J. H.

    1981-11-01

    Absolute oscillator strengths (f-values) for rotational lines of the F˜ (0, 0, 0)-X˜(0, 0, 0) band of H2O at 111.5 nm have been measured with an uncertainty of ±40% using quantitative photographic techniques. The f-value for the 111-000 line, the one most likely to be seen in absorption in interstellar clouds, is (3.0 ± 1.2) × 10-2 This value is combined with a measured upper limit for absorption by this line in the ζ Oph cloud to show that the column density of H2O in the 000 level is less than 5.3 × 1012 cm-2. This upper limit is larger than the predictions of gas-phase, chemical models of this cloud. We show that definite detection of H2O in diffuse clouds at the level of this upper limit would be in conflict with models of molecular formation in shock-heated gas. The data analysis produced additional results: the absolute scale of the oscillator strengths for lines of the C˜(0, 0, 0)-X˜(0, 0, 0) band of H2O at 124 nm is reduced by 10%; the integrated absorption coefficients for P - and C-k bands are compared to calculated and measured values and agree within the experimental uncertainties.

  16. The influence of variations of elemental composition on the thermal properties of interstellar gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vasiliev, E. O.; Shchekinov, Yu. A.

    2016-10-01

    The mixing of metals and redistribution of the relative abundances of chemical elements in the interstellar medium often takes place on a timescale that exceeds the characteristic timescales for many other processes, such as ionization and the establishment of thermal equilibrium. Under these conditions, different regions of interstellar gas can have different thermal, chemical, and spectral properties. The paper considers the ionization kinetics and thermal regime of interstellar gas with variations in the relative elemental abundances. The thermal properties and observational (spectral) characteristics are most sensitive to variations of the relative abundance of carbon, oxygen, neon, and iron. The dynamic consequences of such variations are considered.

  17. HERSCHEL/HIFI DISCOVERY OF HCL{sup +} IN THE INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM

    SciTech Connect

    De Luca, M.; Gerin, M.; Falgarone, E.; Gupta, H.; Drouin, B. J.; Pearson, J. C.; Neufeld, D.; Teyssier, D.; Lis, D. C.; Monje, R.; Phillips, T. G.; Goicoechea, J. R.; Godard, B.; Bell, T. A.; Coutens, A.

    2012-06-01

    The radical ion HCl{sup +}, a key intermediate in the chlorine chemistry of the interstellar gas, has been identified for the first time in the interstellar medium with the Herschel Space Observatory's Heterodyne Instrument for the Far-Infrared. The ground-state rotational transition of H{sup 35}Cl{sup +}, {sup 2}{Pi}{sub 3/2} J = 5/2-3/2, showing {Lambda}-doubling and hyperfine structure, is detected in absorption toward the Galactic star-forming regions W31C (G10.6-0.4) and W49N. The complex interstellar absorption features are modeled by convolving in velocity space the opacity profiles of other molecular tracers toward the same sources with the fine and hyperfine structure of HCl{sup +}. This structure is derived from a combined analysis of optical data from the literature and new laboratory measurements of pure rotational transitions, reported in the accompanying Letter by Gupta et al. The models reproduce well the interstellar absorption, and the frequencies inferred from the astronomical observations are in exact agreement with those calculated using spectroscopic constants derived from the laboratory data. The detection of H{sup 37}Cl{sup +} toward W31C, with a column density consistent with the expected {sup 35}Cl/{sup 37}Cl isotopic ratio, provides additional evidence for the identification. A comparison with the chemically related molecules HCl and H{sub 2}Cl{sup +} yields an abundance ratio of unity with both species (HCl{sup +} : H{sub 2}Cl{sup +} : HCl {approx} 1). These observations also yield the unexpected result that HCl{sup +} accounts for 3%-5% of the gas-phase chlorine toward W49N and W31C, values several times larger than the maximum fraction ({approx}1%) predicted by chemical models.

  18. A laboratory model for interstellar chemical evolution.

    PubMed

    Ishikawa, Y; Kuriki, K

    1983-01-01

    The chemistry in a supersonic plasma source flow was studied as a laboratory model for interstellar chemical evolution. It is important to match the similarity parameters for cosmic and laboratory conditions, which connect the temporal and spatial scales of the two cases. The apparatus simulated the conditions in a molecular cloud with respect to molecular-ionic reaction fraction, temperature, and non-equilibrium kinetics. The plasma flow was found to be cold enough, by the radical expansion, to produce polyatomic molecules. From the simple atomic plasma as reactant, cyanopolyyne and unsaturated hydrocarbons were synthesized in the present experiment. These molecules are also inherent in molecular clouds. The reaction mechanism is discussed.

  19. The interstellar medium in external galaxies: Summaries of contributed papers

    SciTech Connect

    Hollenbach, D.J.; Thronson, H.A. Jr.

    1990-07-01

    The Second Wyoming Conference entitled, The interstellar medium in external galaxies, was held on July 3 to 7, 1989, to discuss the current understanding of the interstellar medium in external galaxies and to analyze the basic physical processes underlying interstellar phenomena. The papers covered a broad range of research on the gas and dust in external galaxies and focused on such topics as the distribution and morphology of the atomic, molecular, and dust components; the dynamics of the gas and the role of the magnetic field in the dynamics; elemental abundances and gas depletions in the atomic and ionized components; cooling flows; star formation; the correlation of the nonthermal radio continuum with the cool component of the interstellar medium; the origin and effect of hot galactic halos; the absorption line systems seen in distant quasars; and the effect of galactic collisions.

  20. The Interstellar Medium in External Galaxies: Summaries of contributed papers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollenbach, David J. (Editor); Thronson, Harley A., Jr. (Editor)

    1990-01-01

    The Second Wyoming Conference entitled, The Interstellar Medium in External Galaxies, was held on July 3 to 7, 1989, to discuss the current understanding of the interstellar medium in external galaxies and to analyze the basic physical processes underlying interstellar phenomena. The papers covered a broad range of research on the gas and dust in external galaxies and focused on such topics as the distribution and morphology of the atomic, molecular, and dust components; the dynamics of the gas and the role of the magnetic field in the dynamics; elemental abundances and gas depletions in the atomic and ionized components; cooling flows; star formation; the correlation of the nonthermal radio continuum with the cool component of the interstellar medium; the origin and effect of hot galactic halos; the absorption line systems seen in distant quasars; and the effect of galactic collisions.

  1. The Voyager Interstellar Mission.

    PubMed

    Rudd, R P; Hall, J C; Spradlin, G L

    1997-01-01

    The Voyager Interstellar Mission began on January 1, 1990, with the primary objective being to characterize the interplanetary medium beyond Neptune and to search for the transition region between the interplanetary medium and the interstellar medium. At the start of this mission, the two Voyager spacecraft had already been in flight for over twelve years, having successfully returned a wealth of scientific information about the planetary systems of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and the interplanetary medium between Earth and Neptune. The two spacecraft have the potential to continue returning science data until around the year 2020. With this extended operating lifetime, there is a high likelihood of one of the two spacecraft penetrating the termination shock and possibly the heliopause boundary, and entering interstellar space before that time. This paper describes the Voyager Interstellar Mission--the mission objectives, the spacecraft and science payload, the mission operations system used to support operations, and the mission operations strategy being used to maximize science data return even in the event of certain potential spacecraft subsystem failures. The implementation of automated analysis tools to offset and enable reduced flight team staffing levels is also discussed.

  2. The Voyager Interstellar Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rudd, R. P.; Hall, J. C.; Spradlin, G. L.

    1997-01-01

    The Voyager Interstellar Mission began on January 1, 1990, with the primary objective being to characterize the interplanetary medium beyond Neptune and to search for the transition region between the interplanetary medium and the interstellar medium. At the start of this mission, the two Voyager spacecraft had already been in flight for over twelve years, having successfully returned a wealth of scientific information about the planetary systems of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and the interplanetary medium between Earth and Neptune. The two spacecraft have the potential to continue returning science data until around the year 2020. With this extended operating lifetime, there is a high likelihood of one of the two spacecraft penetrating the termination shock and possibly the heliopause boundary, and entering interstellar space before that time. This paper describes the Voyager Interstellar Mission--the mission objectives, the spacecraft and science payload, the mission operations system used to support operations, and the mission operations strategy being used to maximize science data return even in the event of certain potential spacecraft subsystem failures. The implementation of automated analysis tools to offset and enable reduced flight team staffing levels is also discussed.

  3. Interstellar molecular clouds.

    PubMed

    Bally, J

    1986-04-11

    The interstellar medium in our galaxy contains matter in a variety of states ranging from hot plasma to cold and dusty molecular gas. The molecular phase consists of giant clouds, which are the largest gravitationally bound objects in the galaxy, the primary reservoir of material for the ongoing birth of new stars, and the medium regulating the evolution of galactic disks.

  4. The Voyager Interstellar Mission.

    PubMed

    Rudd, R P; Hall, J C; Spradlin, G L

    1997-01-01

    The Voyager Interstellar Mission began on January 1, 1990, with the primary objective being to characterize the interplanetary medium beyond Neptune and to search for the transition region between the interplanetary medium and the interstellar medium. At the start of this mission, the two Voyager spacecraft had already been in flight for over twelve years, having successfully returned a wealth of scientific information about the planetary systems of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and the interplanetary medium between Earth and Neptune. The two spacecraft have the potential to continue returning science data until around the year 2020. With this extended operating lifetime, there is a high likelihood of one of the two spacecraft penetrating the termination shock and possibly the heliopause boundary, and entering interstellar space before that time. This paper describes the Voyager Interstellar Mission--the mission objectives, the spacecraft and science payload, the mission operations system used to support operations, and the mission operations strategy being used to maximize science data return even in the event of certain potential spacecraft subsystem failures. The implementation of automated analysis tools to offset and enable reduced flight team staffing levels is also discussed. PMID:11540770

  5. Interstellar Matter and the Boundary Conditions of the Heliosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frisch, Priscilla C.

    1998-07-01

    The interstellar cloud surrounding the solar system regulates the galactic environment of the Sun, and determines the boundary conditions of the heliosphere. Both the Sun and interstellar clouds move through space, so these boundary conditions change with time. Data and theoretical models now support densities in the cloud surrounding the solar system of n(H0)=0.22±0.06 cm-3, and n(e-)˜0.1 cm-3, with larger values allowed for n(H0) by radiative transfer considerations. Ulysses and Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer satellite He0 data yield a cloud temperature of 6400 K. Nearby interstellar gas appears to be structured and inhomogeneous. The interstellar gas in the Local Fluff cloud complex exhibits elemental abundance patterns in which refractory elements are enhanced over the depleted abundances found in cold disk gas. Within a few parsecs of the Sun, inconclusive evidence for factors of 2-5 variation in Mg+ and Fe+ gas phase abundances is found, providing evidence for variable grain destruction. In principle, photoionization calculations for the surrounding cloud can be compared with elemental abundances found in the pickup ion and anomalous cosmic-ray populations to model cloud properties, including ionization, reference abundances, and radiation field. Observations of the hydrogen pile up at the nose of the heliosphere are consistent with a barely subsonic motion of the heliosphere with respect to the surrounding interstellar cloud. Uncertainties on the velocity vector of the cloud that surrounds the solar system indicate that it is uncertain as to whether the Sun and α Cen are or are not immersed in the same interstellar cloud.

  6. Some Open Questions in the Physics of Interstellar Dust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Draine, Bruce T.

    2014-06-01

    Our efforts to understand interstellar dust proceed by trying to develop models that are consistent with the laws of physics as well as with the many observational constraints provided by astronomical observations, the meteoritic record, and observations of interstellar dust grains entering the solar system today.I will review some open questions in physics and surface chemistry that are important for current modeling of dust.Nature has provided us with hundreds of spectroscopic clues -- the diffuse interstellar bands -- and it is an embarrasment that we haven't yet been able to decipher them.Interstellar grains contain iron, which could be in ferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic materials. If so, does magnetic dissipation contribute significantly to emission from dust at microwave and submm frequencies? This can be addressed in the laboratory.We do know that interstellar grains are not spherical, but we don't know whether they are compact, or whether they are have extended "fluffy" structures. To find out, we will have to compare observed optical properties of interstellar dust with theoretical models. How can we calculate the optical properties of fluffy grains at wavelengths ranging from X-rays to far-infrared? Theoretical methods will be described.It seems very likely that interstellar grains are often destroyed in the ISM; if so, then the observed abundance of grains requires that new grain material be formed in interstellar space. How can grain materials "grow" in the ISM? In particular, is it possible to grow amorphous silicates in cold interstellar clouds? What about carbonaceous material, in particular the nanoparticles that are thought to be responsible for the strong "PAH" emission bands? The possibilities and limitations of laboratory studies will be discussed.

  7. CO/H2, C/CO, OH/CO, and OH/O2 in dense interstellar gas: from high ionization to low metallicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bialy, Shmuel; Sternberg, Amiel

    2015-07-01

    We present numerical computations and analytic scaling relations for interstellar ion-molecule gas-phase chemistry down to very low metallicities (10-3 × solar), and/or up to high driving ionization rates. Relevant environments include the cool interstellar medium (ISM) in low-metallicity dwarf galaxies, early enriched clouds at the reionization and Pop-II star formation era, and in dense cold gas exposed to intense X-ray or cosmic ray sources. We focus on the behaviour for H2, CO, CH, OH, H2O and O2, at gas temperatures ˜100 K, characteristic of a cooled ISM at low metallicities. We consider shielded or partially shielded one-zone gas parcels, and solve the gas-phase chemical rate equations for the steady-state `metal-molecule abundances for a wide range of ionization parameters, ζ/n, and metallicties, Z '. We find that the OH abundances are always maximal near the H-to-H2 conversion points, and that large OH abundances persist at very low metallicities even when the hydrogen is predominantly atomic. We study the OH/O2, C/CO and OH/CO abundance ratios, from large to small, as functions of ζ/n and Z '. Much of the cold dense ISM for the Pop-II generation may have been OH-dominated and atomic rather than CO-dominated and molecular.

  8. Near-infrared spectroscopy of ices under conditions relevant to interstellar and planetary environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richey, Christina R.

    The abundances of ices in planetary environments are obtain ed through measurements of near-infrared absorption features (n? = 10,000-4,000 cm-1 , λ1-2.5 μm), and near-IR measurements of materials present in the interstellar medium are increasingly common. In the studies presented here, the near-IR band strengths for molecules are determined through correlations to their better-known mid-IR characteristics. These strengths are used to determine the column densities of molecules in interstellar dense clouds or other environments from observed data. The first set of experiments focused on the near-IR features of molecules relevant to the study of interstellar icy grain mantles and planetary bodies: CO, CO 2 , C3 O2 , CH4 , H2 O, CH 3 OH, and NH3 . The spectra of these species were studied in the near-IR region from 10,000-4,000 cm-1 and in the mid-IR region from 4,000-400 cm-1 after the slow growth of films at ˜5K. The results were then used the results to determine the near-IR band strengths of each molecule. Many icy satellites have surfaces that are dominated by either N2 or H2 O, and ices in the ISM are primarily composed of H2 O. The second set of experiments is focused on the near-IR absorption features of CO, CO2 , CH4 , and NH 3 diluted in H2 O and diluted in N2 . Since the compositions of icy planetary bodies and interstellar ices are affected by processing due to UV light and proton bombardment, spectra of UV photolyzed and proton irradiated ices of N2 + CO2 and H2 O + CO2 have been collected to determine the extent of energetic processing on icy bodies in the outer solar system. These studies have shown that planetary ices are best represented by laboratory analogs comprised of mixed, energetically processed ices.

  9. Photodesorption of Interstellar Ices: a Wavelength-dependent Approach to Unveil Molecular Mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fayolle, Edith; Bertin, Mathieu; Romanzin, Claire; Michaut, Xavier; Philippe, Laurent; Oberg, Karin I.; Linnartz, Harold; Fillion, Jean-Hugues

    2014-06-01

    In the cold and dense regions of the interstellar medium, non-thermal desorption of interstellar ices drives the ice-to-gas ratio of most molecules. More specifically, non-thermal desorption induced by UV photons has been proposed as the dominating mechanism responsible for the observation of cold molecular gas in various star-forming environments. In protoplanetary disks mid-planes, for example, UV photons from the pre-main sequence star can penetrate deep into the disk, reach the ice region and induce ice sublimation. In prestellar cores and in the outer parts of protostellar envelopes, it is the Lyman-alpha-dominated UV field generated locally by the interaction of cosmic rays with H2 that can potentially interact with ice mantles and result in observable cold molecular gas.To constrain the photodesorption mechanism of interstellar ices and predict its efficiency for various UV fields, we have developed a novel wavelength-dependent approach using the vacuum UV beamline DESIRS at the French synchrotron facility SOLEIL. Monochromatic tunable UV light in the 7 - 14 eV window is used to irradiate interstellar ice analogues and the rates at which molecules photodesorb are simultaneously measured using mass-spectrometry. The frequency resolved photodesorption spectra of pure CO and N2 ices show a clear UV-wavelength dependency, directly scaled to the absorption spectra of the condensed molecules, which hints for a Desorption Induced by Electronic Transition (DIET) process.The application of this technique to isotopically labeled layered ices and binary ice mixtures has further revealed that CO and N2 ice photodesorption is an indirect process where it is the electronic excitation of sub-surface species that leads to the desorption of surface molecules. The photodesorption efficiency of a species is thus linked to its molecular environment and photodesorption rates are different for pure and mixed ices. This has strong implications for astrochemical modeling and could

  10. Interstellar and Planetary Analogs in the Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, Farid

    2013-01-01

    We present and discuss the unique capabilities of the laboratory facility, COSmIC, that was developed at NASA Ames to investigate the interaction of ionizing radiation (UV, charged particles) with molecular species (neutral molecules, radicals and ions) and carbonaceous grains in the Solar System and in the Interstellar Medium (ISM). COSmIC stands for Cosmic Simulation Chamber, a laboratory chamber where interstellar and planetary analogs are generated, processed and analyzed. It is composed of a pulsed discharge nozzle (PDN) expansion that generates a free jet supersonic expansion in a plasma cavity coupled to two ultrahigh-sensitivity, complementary in situ diagnostics: a cavity ring down spectroscopy (CRDS) system for photonic detection and a Reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometer (ReTOF-MS) for mass detection. This setup allows the study of molecules, ions and solids under the low temperature and high vacuum conditions that are required to simulate some interstellar, circumstellar and planetary physical environments providing new fundamental insights on the molecular level into the processes that are critical to the chemistry in the ISM, circumstellar and planet forming regions, and on icy objects in the Solar System. Recent laboratory results that were obtained using COSmIC will be discussed, in particular the progress that have been achieved in monitoring in the laboratory the formation of solid particles from their gas-phase molecular precursors in environments as varied as circumstellar outflow and planetary atmospheres.

  11. Interstellar Silicate Dust: Modeling and Grain Alignment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Das, Indrajit

    We examine some aspects of the alignment of silicate dust grains with respect to the interstellar magnetic field. First, we consider possible observational constraints on the magnetic properties of the grains. Second, we investigate the role of collisions with gas atoms and the production of H2 molecules on the grain surface in the alignment process when the grain is drifting in the gaseous medium. Paramagnetism associated with Fe content in the dust is thought to play a critical role in alignment. Min et al (2007) claimed that the Fe content of the silicate dust can be constrained by the shape of the 10 μm extinction feature. They found low Fe abundances, potentially posing problems for grain alignment theories. We revisit this analysis modeling the grains with irregularly shaped Gaussian Random Sphere (GRS). We give a comprehensive review of all the relevant constraints researchers apply and discuss their effects on the inferred mineralogy. Also, we extend this analysis to examine whether constraints can be placed on the presence of Fe-rich inclusions which could yield "super-paramagnetism". This possibility has long been speculated, but so far observational constraints are lacking. Every time a gas atom collides with a grain, the grain's angular momentum is slightly modified. Likewise when an H2 molecule forms on the surface and is ejected. Here also we model the grain with GRS shape and considered various scenarios about how the colliding gas particles depart the grain. We develop theoretical and computational tools to estimate the torques associated with these aforementioned events for a range of grain drift speeds---from low subsonic to high supersonic speeds. Code results were verified with spherical grain for which analytical results were available. Finally, the above torque results were used to study the grain rotational dynamics. Solving dynamical equations we examine how these torques influence the grain alignment process. Our analysis suggests that

  12. The violent interstellar medium associated with the Carina Nebula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laurent, C.; Paul, J. A.; Pettini, M.

    1982-06-01

    The physical conditions and chemical composition of the interstellar medium in line to HD 93205, an O3V star in the Great Carina Nebula, were studied, using UV spectra. The two main high velocity components show different relative abundance patterns. The red shifted component shows no depletion. For the blue shifted component, the relative abundance pattern seems difficult to explain in terms of elements locked into grains. Its composition is attributed to mixing with freshly synthetized material ejected by a recent supernova explosion. One low velocity component is identified with the normal interstellar gas in the disk of the Galaxy. In this component, column densities of interstellar CIV and SiIV, free from contamination by circumstellar material, were measured. The other low velocity component is identified with the approaching part of the expanding ionized nebula around the Carina OB associations. It consists of a dense HII region in which the two conspicuous OI fine structure lines originate.

  13. The diffuse interstellar bands - a brief review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Geballe, T. R.

    2016-07-01

    The diffuse interstellar bands, or DIBs, are a large set of absorption features, mostly at optical and near infrared wavelengths, that are found in the spectra of reddened stars and other objects. They arise in interstellar gas and are observed toward numerous objects in our galaxy as well as in other galaxies. Although long thought to be associated with carbon-bearing molecules, none of them had been conclusively identified until last year, when several nearinfrared DIBs were matched to the laboratory spectrum of singly ionized buckminsterfullerene (C60 +). This development appears to have begun to solve what is perhaps the greatest unsolved mystery in astronomical spectroscopy. Also recently, new DIBs have been discovered at infrared wavelengths and are the longest wavelength DIBs ever found. I present the general characteristics of the DIBs and their history, emphasizing recent developments.

  14. About the detectability of glycine in the interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lattelais, M.; Pauzat, F.; Pilmé, J.; Ellinger, Y.; Ceccarelli, C.

    2011-08-01

    Context. Glycine, the simplest of aminoacids, has been found in several carbonaceous meteorites. It remains unclear, however, wether glycine is formed in the interstellar medium (ISM) and therefore available everywhere in the Universe. For this reason, radioastronomers have searched for many years unsuccessfully to detect glycine in the ISM. Aims: We provide possible guidelines to optimize the return of these searches. Since, for most of the species observed so far in the ISM, the most abundant isomer of a given generic chemical formula is the most stable one (minimum energy principle (MEP)), we assess whether neutral glycine is the best molecule to search for or whether one of its isomers/conformers or ionic, protonated, or zwitterionic derivatives would have a higher probability of being detected. Methods: The question of the relative stability of these different species is addressed by means of quantum density functional theory (DFT) simulations within the hybrid B3LYP formalism. Each fully optimized structure is verified as a stationary point by means of a vibrational analysis. A comprehensive screening of 32 isomers/conformers of the C2H5O2N chemical formula (neutral, negative, and positive ions together with the corresponding protonated species and the possible zwitterionic structures) is carried out. In the sensitive case of the neutral compounds, more accurate relative energies were obtained by means of high level post Hartree-Fock coupled cluster calculations with large basis sets (CCSD(T)/cc-pVQZ). Results: We find that neutral glycine is not the most stable isomer and, therefore, probably not the most abundant one, which might explain why it has escaped detection so far. We find instead that N-methyl carbamic acid and methyl carbamate are the two most stable isomers and, therefore, probably the two most abundant ones. Among the non-neutral forms, we found that glycine is the most stable isomer only if protonated or zwitterionic if present in interstellar

  15. Contemporary Interstellar Dust Measured by Cassini: A Chemically Homogenised Population, not Circumstellar Dust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trieloff, M.; Altobelli, N.; Postberg, F.; Fiege, K.; Srama, R.

    2016-08-01

    36 grains of contemporary interstellar dust analysed by Cassini contain the major rock forming elements (Mg, Si, Fe, Ca) in roughly cosmic abundances. This population likely derives from destruction and recondensation processes in the ISM.

  16. Flux and composition of interstellar dust at Saturn from Cassini's Cosmic Dust Analyzer.

    PubMed

    Altobelli, N; Postberg, F; Fiege, K; Trieloff, M; Kimura, H; Sterken, V J; Hsu, H-W; Hillier, J; Khawaja, N; Moragas-Klostermeyer, G; Blum, J; Burton, M; Srama, R; Kempf, S; Gruen, E

    2016-04-15

    Interstellar dust (ISD) is the condensed phase of the interstellar medium. In situ data from the Cosmic Dust Analyzer on board the Cassini spacecraft reveal that the Saturnian system is passed by ISD grains from our immediate interstellar neighborhood, the local interstellar cloud. We determine the mass distribution of 36 interstellar grains, their elemental composition, and a lower limit for the ISD flux at Saturn. Mass spectra and grain dynamics suggest the presence of magnesium-rich grains of silicate and oxide composition, partly with iron inclusions. Major rock-forming elements (magnesium, silicon, iron, and calcium) are present in cosmic abundances, with only small grain-to-grain variations, but sulfur and carbon are depleted. The ISD grains in the solar neighborhood appear to be homogenized, likely by repeated processing in the interstellar medium.

  17. Flux and composition of interstellar dust at Saturn from Cassini's Cosmic Dust Analyzer.

    PubMed

    Altobelli, N; Postberg, F; Fiege, K; Trieloff, M; Kimura, H; Sterken, V J; Hsu, H-W; Hillier, J; Khawaja, N; Moragas-Klostermeyer, G; Blum, J; Burton, M; Srama, R; Kempf, S; Gruen, E

    2016-04-15

    Interstellar dust (ISD) is the condensed phase of the interstellar medium. In situ data from the Cosmic Dust Analyzer on board the Cassini spacecraft reveal that the Saturnian system is passed by ISD grains from our immediate interstellar neighborhood, the local interstellar cloud. We determine the mass distribution of 36 interstellar grains, their elemental composition, and a lower limit for the ISD flux at Saturn. Mass spectra and grain dynamics suggest the presence of magnesium-rich grains of silicate and oxide composition, partly with iron inclusions. Major rock-forming elements (magnesium, silicon, iron, and calcium) are present in cosmic abundances, with only small grain-to-grain variations, but sulfur and carbon are depleted. The ISD grains in the solar neighborhood appear to be homogenized, likely by repeated processing in the interstellar medium. PMID:27081064

  18. Copernicus observations of interstellar matter in the direction of HR 1099

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, R. C.; Weiler, E. J.

    1978-01-01

    Results are reported for high-resolution Copernicus U1 and V2 scans of the bright RS CVn spectroscopic binary HR 1099. The observations reveal strong UV emission lines at L-alpha and Mg II h and k from the stars as well as interstellar H I and D I L-alpha absorption lines and interstellar Mg II h and k absorption in the direction of the binary system. Column densities, bulk velocities, and temperatures are derived for the interstellar features. A comparison of the derived number density of interstellar H I with data for the nearby star Epsilon Eri indicates an inhomogeneous distribution of interstellar hydrogen along the line of sight. The range of values obtained for the D/H ratio is shown to be consistent with results of other studies. A depletion factor of at least 5 with respect to the solar abundance is estimated for the interstellar magnesium.

  19. Formation of benzene in the interstellar medium.

    PubMed

    Jones, Brant M; Zhang, Fangtong; Kaiser, Ralf I; Jamal, Adeel; Mebel, Alexander M; Cordiner, Martin A; Charnley, Steven B

    2011-01-11

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and related species have been suggested to play a key role in the astrochemical evolution of the interstellar medium, but the formation mechanism of even their simplest building block--the aromatic benzene molecule--has remained elusive for decades. Here we demonstrate in crossed molecular beam experiments combined with electronic structure and statistical calculations that benzene (C(6)H(6)) can be synthesized via the barrierless, exoergic reaction of the ethynyl radical and 1,3-butadiene, C(2)H + H(2)CCHCHCH(2) → C(6)H(6) + H, under single collision conditions. This reaction portrays the simplest representative of a reaction class in which aromatic molecules with a benzene core can be formed from acyclic precursors via barrierless reactions of ethynyl radicals with substituted 1,3-butadiene molecules. Unique gas-grain astrochemical models imply that this low-temperature route controls the synthesis of the very first aromatic ring from acyclic precursors in cold molecular clouds, such as in the Taurus Molecular Cloud. Rapid, subsequent barrierless reactions of benzene with ethynyl radicals can lead to naphthalene-like structures thus effectively propagating the ethynyl-radical mediated formation of aromatic molecules in the interstellar medium.

  20. Formation of Benzene in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, Brant M.; Zhang, Fangtong; Kaiser, Ralf I.; Jamal, Adeel; Mebel, Alexander M.; Cordiner, Martin A.; Charnley, Steven B.; Crim, F. Fleming (Editor)

    2010-01-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and related species have been suggested to play a key role in the astrochemical evolution of the interstellar medium, but the formation mechanism of even their simplest building block-the aromatic benzene molecule-has remained elusive for decades. Here we demonstrate in crossed molecular beam experiments combined with electronic structure and statistical calculations that benzene (C6H6) can be synthesized via the barrierless, exoergic reaction of the ethynyl radical and 1,3- butadiene, C2H + H2CCHCHCH2 --> C6H6, + H, under single collision conditions. This reaction portrays the simplest representative of a reaction class in which aromatic molecules with a benzene core can be formed from acyclic precursors via barrierless reactions of ethynyl radicals with substituted 1,3-butadlene molecules. Unique gas-grain astrochemical models imply that this low-temperature route controls the synthesis of the very first aromatic ring from acyclic precursors in cold molecular clouds, such as in the Taurus Molecular Cloud. Rapid, subsequent barrierless reactions of benzene with ethynyl radicals can lead to naphthalene-like structures thus effectively propagating the ethynyl-radical mediated formation of aromatic molecules in the interstellar medium.

  1. Innovative interstellar explorer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNutt, R.; Innovative Interstellar Explorer Team

    Fundamental scientific questions about the interaction of the Sun with the interstellar medium can only be answered with in situ measurements. The problem is the development of a probe that can provide the required measurements and can reach a heliocentric distance of at least 200 astronomical units (AU) in 15 years or less, an average speed almost four times the 3.6 AU/yr speed of Voyager 1. The Innovative Interstellar Explorer (IIE) and its use of Radioisotope Electric Propulsion (REP) is now being studied under a NASA Vision Mission grant to enable such a mission. Speed is provided by a high-energy launch using current launch vehicle technology followed by long-term, low-thrust, continuous acceleration. The latter is provided by a kilowatt-class ion thruster running off of electricity provided by advanced Stirling radioisotope generators (SRGs) powered by Pu-238. While subject to mass and power limitations for the instruments on board, such an approach relies on known General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) Pu-238 technology and current launch vehicles for speed, both of which require little new development and have well-known regulatory requirements for launch. In addition, this approach avoids the intrinsically large masses associated with nuclear fission reactors and incorporates launch of all nuclear material directly into an Earth-escape trajectory. We discuss the ongoing trade studies and development of this approach to an Interstellar Probe

  2. Study the Formation of H2, HD and D2 under Various Interstellar Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sahu, Dipen; Chakrabarti, Sandip Kumar; Das, Ankan

    2016-07-01

    Hydrogen is the most abundant molecule in the Interstellar medium (ISM). Formation of gas phase hydrogen molecule is inefficient; perhaps grain surface acts as a necessary ingredients for the formation of H_2 molecule. H atoms accrete on the grain surface, recombine there and desorb in the gas phase. Similarly, deuterium accretion on grain surfaces can produce simple dueterated molecules (HD and D_2) on the ISM. Unlike gas phase reactions, rate equations can not yield accurate result for grain surface reactions due to inherent randomness of surface species. We use Monte-Carlo method to follow this surface chemistry which effectively take care of this randomness. We use square grids and impose periodic boundary condition on them to mimic the spherical nature of grains. Various types of rough surfaces are considered to study the impact on effective production rates. We found that these simple but most important molecules are produced in low temperature (physisorption sites) as well as in high temperature (chemisorption sites) regions.

  3. The CH+ abundance in turbulent, diffuse molecular clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Myers, Andrew T.; McKee, Christopher F.; Li, Pak Shing

    2015-11-01

    The intermittent dissipation of interstellar turbulence is an important energy source in the diffuse interstellar medium. Though on average smaller than the heating rates due to cosmic rays and the photoelectric effect on dust grains, the turbulent cascade can channel large amounts of energy into a relatively small fraction of the gas that consequently undergoes significant heating and chemical enrichment. In particular, this mechanism has been proposed as a solution to the long-standing problem of the high abundance of CH+ along diffuse molecular sight lines, which steady-state, low-temperature models underproduce by over an order of magnitude. While much work has been done on the structure and chemistry of these small-scale dissipation zones, comparatively little attention has been paid to relating these zones to the properties of the large-scale turbulence. In this paper, we attempt to bridge this gap by estimating the temperature and CH+ column density along diffuse molecular sight lines by post-processing three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic(s) turbulence simulations. Assuming reasonable values for the cloud density (bar{n}H = 30 cm-3), size (L = 20 pc), and velocity dispersion (σv = 2.3 km s-1), we find that our computed abundances compare well with CH+ column density observations, as well as with observations of emission lines from rotationally excited H2 molecules.

  4. The interstellar chemistry of H2C3O isomers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loison, Jean-Christophe; Agúndez, Marcelino; Marcelino, Núria; Wakelam, Valentine; Hickson, Kevin M.; Cernicharo, José; Gerin, Maryvonne; Roueff, Evelyne; Guélin, Michel

    2016-03-01

    We present the detection of two H2C3O isomers, propynal and cyclopropenone, toward various starless cores and molecular clouds, together with upper limits for the third isomer propadienone. We review the processes controlling the abundances of H2C3O isomers in interstellar media showing that the reactions involved are gas-phase ones. We show that the abundances of these species are controlled by kinetic rather than thermodynamic effects.

  5. The interstellar chemistry of H2C3O isomers

    PubMed Central

    Loison, Jean-Christophe; Agúndez, Marcelino; Marcelino, Núria; Wakelam, Valentine; Hickson, Kevin M.; Cernicharo, José; Gerin, Maryvonne; Roueff, Evelyne; Guélin, Michel

    2016-01-01

    We present the detection of two H2C3O isomers, propynal and cyclopropenone, toward various starless cores and molecular clouds, together with upper limits for the third isomer propadienone. We review the processes controlling the abundances of H2C3O isomers in interstellar media showing that the reactions involved are gas-phase ones. We show that the abundances of these species are controlled by kinetic rather than thermodynamic effects. PMID:27013768

  6. The Nature of Interstellar Dust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huss, G. R.

    2003-01-01

    The STARDUST mission is designed to collect dust the coma of comet Wild 2 and to collect interstellar dust on a second set of collectors. We have a reasonable idea of what to expect from the comet dust collection because the research community has been studying interplanetary dust particles for many years. It is less clear what we should expect from the interstellar dust. This presentation discusses what we might expect to find on the STARDUST interstellar dust collector.

  7. The chemical composition of interstellar molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, W. M.; Hjalmarson, A.

    1984-01-01

    Quantitative molecular abundances are becoming available for dense interstellar clouds and circumstellar envelopes, revealing both similarities across a wide range of source conditions and significant differences in the chemistries involved. As understanding concerning the processes that lead to particular compositions increases, it may become possible to relate these findings to the evolution of molecular clouds and hence to the chemistry of regions in which stellar and planetary formation is in progress. Attention is given to the results of a recently completed spectral scan of the Orion molecular cloud, as well as the envelope around the evolved star IRC + 10216, published by Johansson et al. (1983).

  8. Diffuse cloud chemistry. [in interstellar matter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Van Dishoeck, Ewine F.; Black, John H.

    1988-01-01

    The current status of models of diffuse interstellar clouds is reviewed. A detailed comparison of recent gas-phase steady-state models shows that both the physical conditions and the molecular abundances in diffuse clouds are still not fully understood. Alternative mechanisms are discussed and observational tests which may discriminate between the various models are suggested. Recent developments regarding the velocity structure of diffuse clouds are mentioned. Similarities and differences between the chemistries in diffuse clouds and those in translucent and high latitude clouds are pointed out.

  9. Interstellar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: the infrared emission bands, the excitation/emission mechanism, and the astrophysical implications.

    PubMed

    Allamandola, L J; Tielens, A G; Barker, J R

    1989-12-01

    -frequency modes (for example, the 3040 cm-1, 3.3 micrometers band), the thermal approach overestimates the emission intensities. For calculations of molecular reactions (such as H-loss, deuterium enrichment, and carbon skeleton rearrangement) a thermal approximation is invalid. The relationship between PAH molecules and amorphous carbon particles is presented and their production in circumstellar shells is described. The most likely interstellar PAH molecular structures are discussed and the possibility of destructive reactions with interstellar oxygen and hydrogen atoms is considered in detailed and found to be unimportant. Interstellar PAH size and abundance estimates are made. On the order of a few percent of the available interstellar carbon is tied up in the small (20-40 carbon atom) PAHs which are responsible for the sharp features, and a similar amount is tied up in the larger (200-500 carbon atom) PAHs or PAH clusters and amorphous carbon particles which are responsible for the broad components underlying the 1600-1100 and 900-770 cm-1 (6-9 and 11-13 micrometers) regions. It is shown that the spectroscopic structure these PAHs and PAH-related materials produce in the UV portion of the interstellar extinction curve lie just below current detection limits but fall in the range detectable by the Hubble Space Telescope. Finally, the influence of PAH charge on the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared regions is described.

  10. Pathway to the identification of C60+ in diffuse interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Maier, John P; Campbell, Ewen K

    2016-09-13

    The origin of the attenuation of starlight in diffuse clouds in interstellar space at specific wavelengths ranging from the visible to the near-infrared has been unknown since the first astronomical observations around a century ago. The absorption features, termed the diffuse interstellar bands, have subsequently been the subject of much research. Earlier this year four of these interstellar bands were shown to be due to the absorption by cold, gas phase [Formula: see text] molecules. This discovery provides the first answer to the problem of the diffuse interstellar bands and leads naturally to fascinating questions regarding the role of fullerenes and derivatives in interstellar chemistry. Here, we review the identification process placing special emphasis on the laboratory studies which have enabled spectroscopic measurement of large cations cooled to temperatures prevailing in the interstellar medium.This article is part of the themed issue 'Fullerenes: past, present and future, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Buckminster Fullerene'.

  11. Pathway to the identification of C60+ in diffuse interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Maier, John P; Campbell, Ewen K

    2016-09-13

    The origin of the attenuation of starlight in diffuse clouds in interstellar space at specific wavelengths ranging from the visible to the near-infrared has been unknown since the first astronomical observations around a century ago. The absorption features, termed the diffuse interstellar bands, have subsequently been the subject of much research. Earlier this year four of these interstellar bands were shown to be due to the absorption by cold, gas phase [Formula: see text] molecules. This discovery provides the first answer to the problem of the diffuse interstellar bands and leads naturally to fascinating questions regarding the role of fullerenes and derivatives in interstellar chemistry. Here, we review the identification process placing special emphasis on the laboratory studies which have enabled spectroscopic measurement of large cations cooled to temperatures prevailing in the interstellar medium.This article is part of the themed issue 'Fullerenes: past, present and future, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Buckminster Fullerene'. PMID:27501976

  12. CO2 formation on interstellar dust grains: a detailed study of the barrier of the CO + O channel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Minissale, M.; Congiu, E.; Manicò, G.; Pirronello, V.; Dulieu, F.

    2013-11-01

    Context. The formation of carbon dioxide in quiescent regions of molecular clouds has not yet been fully understood, even though CO2 is one of the most abundant species in interstellar ices. Aims: CO2 formation is studied via oxidation of CO molecules on cold surfaces under conditions close to those encountered in quiescent molecular clouds. Methods: Carbon monoxide and oxygen atoms are codeposited using two differentially pumped beam lines on two different surfaces (amorphous water ice or oxydized graphite) held at given temperatures between 10 and 60 K. The products are probed via mass spectroscopy by using the temperature-programmed desorption technique. Results: We show that the reaction CO + O can form carbon dioxide in solid phase with an efficiency that depends on the temperature of the surface. The activation barrier for the reaction, based on modelling results, is estimated to be in the range of 780-475 K/kb. Our model also allows us to distinguish the mechanisms (Eley Rideal or Langmuir-Hinshelwood) at play in different temperature regimes. Our results suggest that competition between CO2 formation via CO + O and other surface reactions of O is a key factor in the yields of CO2 obtained experimentally. Conclusions: CO2 can be formed by the CO + O reaction on cold surfaces via processes that mimic carbon dioxide formation in the interstellar medium. Astrophysically, the presence of CO2 in quiescent molecular clouds could be explained by the reaction CO + O occurring on interstellar dust grains.

  13. Ubiquitous argonium (ArH+) in the diffuse interstellar medium: A molecular tracer of almost purely atomic gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schilke, P.; Neufeld, D. A.; Müller, H. S. P.; Comito, C.; Bergin, E. A.; Lis, D. C.; Gerin, M.; Black, J. H.; Wolfire, M.; Indriolo, N.; Pearson, J. C.; Menten, K. M.; Winkel, B.; Sánchez-Monge, Á.; Möller, T.; Godard, B.; Falgarone, E.

    2014-06-01

    Aims: We describe the assignment of a previously unidentified interstellar absorption line to ArH+ and discuss its relevance in the context of hydride absorption in diffuse gas with a low H2 fraction. The confidence of the assignment to ArH+ is discussed, and the column densities are determined toward several lines of sight. The results are then discussed in the framework of chemical models, with the aim of explaining the observed column densities. Methods: We fitted the spectral lines with multiple velocity components, and determined column densities from the line-to-continuum ratio. The column densities of ArH+ were compared to those of other species, tracing interstellar medium (ISM) components with different H2 abundances. We constructed chemical models that take UV radiation and cosmic ray ionization into account. Results: Thanks to the detection of two isotopologues, 36ArH+ and 38ArH+, we are confident about the carrier assignment to ArH+. NeH+ is not detected with a limit of [NeH+]/[ArH+] ≤ 0.1. The derived column densities agree well with the predictions of chemical models. ArH+ is a unique tracer of gas with a fractional H2 abundance of 10-4 - 10-3 and shows little correlation to H2O+, which traces gas with a fractional H2 abundance of ≈0.1. Conclusions: A careful analysis of variations in the ArH+, OH+, H2O+, and HF column densities promises to be a faithful tracer of the distribution of the H2 fractional abundance by providing unique information on a poorly known phase in the cycle of interstellar matter and on its transition from atomic diffuse gas to dense molecular gas traced by CO emission. Abundances of these species put strong observational constraints upon magnetohydrodynamical (MHD)simulations of the interstellar medium, and potentially could evolve into a tool characterizing the ISM. Paradoxically, the ArH+ molecule is a better tracer of almost purely atomic hydrogen gas than Hi itself, since Hi can also be present in gas with a significant

  14. Near Infrared Emission of Highly Electronically Excited CO: A Sensitive Probe to Study the Interstellar Medium??

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gudipati, Murthy S.

    2002-01-01

    Among the various spectroscopic features of the second most abundant molecule in the space, CO, "the triplet - triplet transitions involving the lowest triplet state a(sup 3)II and the higher-lying a(sup 1)3 SIGMA (sup +), d(sup 3) (DELTA), e (sup 3) SIGMA (sup -) states spanning near-UV to mid-IR spectral range" have so far not been explored in astrophysical observations. The energies of these transitions are highly sensitive to the surroundings in which CO exists, i.e. gas-phase, polar or non-polar condensed phase. It is proposed here that these triplet-triplet emission/absorption bands can be used as a sensitive probe to investigate the local environments of CO, whether in the planetary atmosphere, stellar atmosphere or interstellar medium.

  15. Lower mass limit of an evolving interstellar cloud and chemistry in an evolving oscillatory cloud

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tarafdar, S. P.

    1986-01-01

    Simultaneous solution of the equation of motion, equation of state and energy equation including heating and cooling processes for interstellar medium gives for a collapsing cloud a lower mass limit which is significantly smaller than the Jeans mass for the same initial density. The clouds with higher mass than this limiting mass collapse whereas clouds with smaller than critical mass pass through a maximum central density giving apparently similar clouds (i.e., same Av, size and central density) at two different phases of its evolution (i.e., with different life time). Preliminary results of chemistry in such an evolving oscillatory cloud show significant difference in abundances of some of the molecules in two physically similar clouds with different life times. The problems of depletion and short life time of evolving clouds appear to be less severe in such an oscillatory cloud.

  16. A search with Copernicus for interstellar N2 in diffuse clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lutz, B. L.; Snow, T. P., Jr.; Owen, T.

    1979-01-01

    Multiple Copernicus scans of two N2 band regions (near 958.5 and 960.2A) of Delta Sco and Epsilon Per are reported. The observations indicate upper limits for the number of N2 molecules equal to 1.0-3.8 times 10 to the -12th/sq cm and 1.2-4.4 times 10 to the -12th/sq cm, respectively; the limits depend on the cloud temperature. It is suggested that the limits are consistent with the column densities predicted by chemical models for diffuse interstellar clouds, and the predicted relative abundances are presented in terms of the ratio of N(N2)/(2N(H2) + N(Hl)).

  17. Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Westphal, A.; Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examation Team: http://www. ssl. berkeley. edu/~westphal/ISPE/

    2011-12-01

    A. J. Westphal, C. Allen, A. Ansari, S. Bajt, R. S. Bastien, H. A. Bechtel, J. Borg, F. E. Brenker, J. Bridges, D. E. Brownlee, M. Burchell, M. Burghammer, A. L. Butterworth, A. M. Davis, P. Cloetens, C. Floss, G. Flynn, D. Frank, Z. Gainsforth, E. Grün, P. R. Heck, J. K. Hillier, P. Hoppe, G. Huss, J. Huth, B. Hvide, A. Kearsley, A. J. King, B. Lai, J. Leitner, L. Lemelle, H. Leroux, R. Lettieri, W. Marchant, L. R. Nittler, R. Ogliore, F. Postberg, M. C. Price, S. A. Sandford, J.-A. Sans Tresseras, T. Schoonjans, S. Schmitz, G. Silversmit, A. Simionovici, V. A. Solé, R. Srama, T. Stephan, V. Sterken, J. Stodolna, R. M. Stroud, S. Sutton, M. Trieloff, P. Tsou, A. Tsuchiyama, T. Tyliszczak, B. Vekemans, L. Vincze, D. Zevin, M. E. Zolensky, >29,000 Stardust@home dusters ISPE author affiliations are at http://www.ssl.berkeley.edu/~westphal/ISPE/. In 2000 and 2002, a ~0.1m2 array of aerogel tiles and alumi-num foils onboard the Stardust spacecraft was exposed to the interstellar dust (ISD) stream for an integrated time of 200 days. The exposure took place in interplanetary space, beyond the orbit of Mars, and thus was free of the ubiquitous orbital debris in low-earth orbit that precludes effective searches for interstellar dust there. Despite the long exposure of the Stardust collector, <<100 ISD particles are expected to have been captured. The particles are thought to be ~1μm or less in size, and the total ISD collection is probably <10-6 by mass of the collection of cometary dust parti-cles captured in the Stardust cometary dust collector from the coma of the Jupiter-family comet Wild 2. Thus, although the first solid sample from the local interstellar medium is clearly of high interest, the diminutive size of the particles and the low numbers of particles present daunting challenges. Nevertheless, six recent developments have made a Preliminary Examination (PE) of this sample practical: (1) rapid automated digital optical scanning microscopy for three

  18. Innovative interstellar explorer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNutt, Ralph L.; Gold, Robert E.; Krimigis, Tom; Roelof, Edmond C.; Gruntman, Mike; Gloeckler, George; Koehn, Patrick L.; Kurth, William S.; Oleson, Steven R.; Fiehler, Douglas I.; Horanyi, Mihaly; Mewaldt, Richard A.; Leary, James C.; Anderson, Brian J.

    2006-09-01

    An interstellar ``precursor'' mission has been under discussion in the scientific community for at least 30 years. Fundamental scientific questions about the interaction of the Sun with the interstellar medium can only be answered with in situ measurements that such a mission can provide. The Innovative Interstellar Explorer (IIE) and its use of Radioisotope Electric Propulsion (REP) is being studied under a NASA ``Vision Mission'' grant. Speed is provided by a combination of a high-energy launch, using current launch vehicle technology, a Jupiter gravity assist, and long-term, low-thrust, continuous acceleration provided by an ion thruster running off electricity provided by advanced radioisotope electric generators. A payload of ten instruments with an aggregate mass of ~35 kg and requiring ~30 W has been carefully chosen to address the compelling science questions. The nominal 20-day launch window opens on 22 October 2014 followed by a Jupiter gravity assist on 5 February 2016. The REP system accelerates the spacecraft to a ``burnout'' speed of 7.8 AU per year at 104 AU on 13 October 2032 (Voyager 1's current speed is ~3.6 AU/yr). The spacecraft will return at least 500 bits per second from at least 200 AU ~30 years after launch. Additional (backup) launch opportunities occur every 13 months to early 2018. In addition to addressing basic heliospheric science, the mission will ensure continued information on the far-heliospheric galactic cosmic ray population after the Voyagers have fallen silent and as the era of human Mars exploration begins.

  19. Interstellar medium simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Breitschwerdt, D.; de Avillez, M. A.; Feige, J.; Dettbarn, C.

    2012-06-01

    In this review we critically assess numerical simulations of the interstellar medium (ISM), and argue that 3D high resolution calculations are the most promising method to determine the structure of the interstellar gas and follow its evolution well into the nonlinear regime. Based on a Riemann solver adaptive mesh refinement code, we present a model, which fulfills the basic requirements of running it sufficiently long in order to erase memory effects of the initial conditions, set up a disk-halo fountain flow cycle, for converging solutions with increasing mesh refinement. We obtain the following results: (i) in a supernova driven ISM, high Reynolds number turbulence generates structures on all scales, (ii) the volume filling factor of the hot gas is substantially reduced due to the fountain flow, (iii) gas clouds are transient shock compressed layers, (iv) more than half of the gas mass resides in thermally unstable regimes, (v) O VI is distributed in patchy mixing layers, with the derived column densities being in agreement with FUSE and Copernicus observations, (vi) the electron density distribution up to distances of 8 kpc in the disk is consistent with pulsar dispersion measure observations, provided that the electron and ionization structure are not in equilibrium, (vii) the interstellar cooling function depends both on space and time (and not only on temperature and metallicity), (viii) the Local Bubble has been produced by 14-20 supernovae about 14 Myr ago, exploding in a moving group on its path through the local ISM, (ix) the nearest supernova explosion to Earth occurred 2.2 {×} 106 yr ago at a distance of {˜} 85 pc, in agreement with measurements of the radionuclide 60Fe found in the ferromanganese crust on the ocean floor.

  20. Formation of benzene in the interstellar medium

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Brant M.; Zhang, Fangtong; Kaiser, Ralf I.; Jamal, Adeel; Mebel, Alexander M.; Cordiner, Martin A.; Charnley, Steven B.

    2011-01-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and related species have been suggested to play a key role in the astrochemical evolution of the interstellar medium, but the formation mechanism of even their simplest building block—the aromatic benzene molecule—has remained elusive for decades. Here we demonstrate in crossed molecular beam experiments combined with electronic structure and statistical calculations that benzene (C6H6) can be synthesized via the barrierless, exoergic reaction of the ethynyl radical and 1,3-butadiene, C2H + H2CCHCHCH2 → C6H6 + H, under single collision conditions. This reaction portrays the simplest representative of a reaction class in which aromatic molecules with a benzene core can be formed from acyclic precursors via barrierless reactions of ethynyl radicals with substituted 1,3-butadiene molecules. Unique gas-grain astrochemical models imply that this low-temperature route controls the synthesis of the very first aromatic ring from acyclic precursors in cold molecular clouds, such as in the Taurus Molecular Cloud. Rapid, subsequent barrierless reactions of benzene with ethynyl radicals can lead to naphthalene-like structures thus effectively propagating the ethynyl-radical mediated formation of aromatic molecules in the interstellar medium. PMID:21187430

  1. Carbon Chains in the Diffuse Interstellar Gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thaddeus, P.

    1999-05-01

    Linear carbon chain molecules are the dominant fraction of the 125 molecules which have now been identified in interstellar clouds or circumstellar shells, and the only molecules which have been conclusively identified as carriers of optical diffuse interstellar bands are carbon chains (as discussed by Maier at this meeting). In our laboratory over the past two years we have succeeded in detecting 46 carbon chains by applying Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy to supersonic molecular beams of reactive species produced in a gas discharge. The radio spectrum of all - including hyperfine structure when present - has been measured to the point that the laboratory astrophysics is complete: very precise rest frequencies are in hand for astronomical searches, and six of the chains have in fact already been detected with large radio telescopes. Because the longer chains tend to have their strongest lines at low frequencies, the resurfaced Arecibo telescope and the Green Bank Telescope under construction promise to be especially effective search instruments. Carbon chains are by far the best candidates for the several hundred diffuse bands which have been identified since 1922, and since the chain densities achieved in the laboratory are fairly high by the standards of laser spectroscopy, the classical problem of the diffuse bands may be on the point of general solution.

  2. Efficient surface formation route of interstellar hydroxylamine through NO hydrogenation. I. The submonolayer regime on interstellar relevant substrates.

    PubMed

    Congiu, E; Chaabouni, H; Laffon, C; Parent, P; Baouche, S; Dulieu, F

    2012-08-01

    Dust grains in the interstellar medium are known to serve as the first chemical laboratory where the rich inventory of interstellar molecules are synthesized. Here we present a study of the formation of hydroxylamine--NH(2)OH--via the non-energetic route NO + H (D) on crystalline H(2)O and amorphous silicate under conditions relevant to interstellar dense clouds. Formation of nitrous oxide (N(2)O) and water (H(2)O, D(2)O) is also observed and the reaction network is discussed. Hydroxylamine and water results are detected in temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) experiments, while N(2)O is detected by both reflection-absorption IR spectroscopy and TPD techniques. The solid state NO + H reaction channel proves to be a very efficient pathway to NH(2)OH formation in space and may be a potential starting point for prebiotic species in dark interstellar clouds. The present findings are an important step forward in understanding the inclusion of interstellar nitrogen into a non-volatile aminated species since NH(2)OH provides a solid state nitrogen reservoir along the whole evolutionary process of interstellar ices from dark clouds to planetary systems.

  3. The diffuse interstellar bands and the Galactic latitude

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McIntosh, Alan; Webster, Adrian

    1993-04-01

    Existing measurements of three of the diffuse interstellar bands are presented in a new way, in order to investigate how the relative strengths of different bands depend on the Galactic latitude of the stars in whose light they are seen. It is found that none of the three ratios of bandstrength amongst 4430, 5780, and 5797 A is constant, but all three are correlated with the modulus of the latitude. The abundance of the carrier of 4430 A relative to the others is found to be greatest at low latitude, while that of the carrier of 5797 A is greatest at high latitude. It is supposed that this dependence reflects a more basic dependence on height above and below the Galactic plane, the carrier of 4430 A evidently preferring conditions near the plane where the gas density is high and the carrier of 5797 A preferring the more tenuous gas further out. In terms of a recent theory in which the carriers are different hydrocarbon molecules and ions of the fullerane family, these results imply that, of the bands studied here, the carrier of 4430 A bears the most hydrogen atoms and that of 5797 A bears the fewest.

  4. The Local Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferlet, Roger

    Substantial progress in the field of the Local Interstellar Medium has been largely due to recent launches of space missions, mostly in the UV and X-ray domains, but also to ground-based observations, mainly in high resolution spectroscopy. However, a clear gap seems to remain between the wealth of new data and the theoretical understanding. This paper gives an overview of some observational aspects, with no attempt of completeness or doing justice to all the people involved in the field. As progress rarely evolves in straight paths, we can expect that our present picture of the solar system surroundings is not definitive.

  5. Modeling the production of highly-complex molecules in star-forming regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garrod, R. T.

    2016-05-01

    Molecules of increasing complexity are being observed toward star-forming regions, including the recently detected iso-propyl cyanide, the first interstellar branched carbon-chain molecule. Modeling the formation of new complex organics requires new grain-surface production mechanisms, as well as gas-phase and grain-surface destruction processes. The method for constructing networks for new molecules is discussed, as well as the results of recent models of branched carbon-chain molecule chemistry. The formation of both simple and complex organics in cold regions is also discussed. New, exact kinetics models indicate that complex molecules may be formed efficiently at very low temperatures, if CO is abundant on the grain surfaces.

  6. Differences in leukocyte differentiation molecule abundances on domestic sheep (Ovis aries) and bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) neutrophils identified by flow cytometry

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Abundance was assessed by utilizing a panel of cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) tested in this study. Characterization of multichannel autofluorescence of eosinophils permitted cell-type specific gating of granulocytes for quantification of LDMs on neutrophils and eosinophils by indirect,...

  7. Herschel/HIFI line surveys: Discovery of interstellar chloronium (H{sub 2}Cl{sup +})

    SciTech Connect

    Lis, Dariusz C.

    2015-01-22

    Prior to the launch of Herschel, HCl was the only chlorine-containing molecule detected in the interstellar medium (ISM). However, chemical models have identified chloronium, H{sub 2}Cl{sup +}, as a relatively abundant species that is potentially detectable. H{sub 2}Cl{sup +} was predicted to be most abundant in the environments where the ultraviolet radiation is strong: in diffuse clouds, or near the surfaces of dense clouds illuminated by nearby O and B stars. The HIFI instrument on Herschel provided the first detection of H{sub 2}Cl{sup +} in the ISM. The 2{sub 12}-1{sub 01} lines of ortho-H{sub 2}{sup 35}Cl{sup +} and ortho-H{sub 2}{sup 37}Cl{sup +} were detected in absorption toward NGC 6334I, and the 1{sub 11}-0{sub 00} transition of para-H{sub 2}{sup 35}Cl{sup +} was detected in absorption toward NGC 6334I and Sgr B2(S). The derived HCl/H{sub 2}Cl{sup +} column density ratios, ∼1-10, are within the range predicted by models of diffuse and dense Photon Dominated Regions (PDRs). However, the observed H{sub 2}Cl{sup +} column densities, in excess of 10{sup 13} cm{sup −2}, are significantly higher than the model predictions. These observations demonstrate the outstanding spectroscopic capabilities of HIFI for detecting new interstellar molecules and providing key constraints for astrochemical models.

  8. Interstellar oxygen, nitrogen and neon in the heliosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Geiss, J.; Gloeckler, G.; Mall, U.; Von Steiger, R.; Galvin, A. B.; Ogilvie, K. W.

    1994-01-01

    Oxygen, nitrogen and neon pick-up ions of interstellar origin were detected for the first time with the Solar Wind Ion Spectrometer (SWICS) on board Ulysses. The interstellar origin of these ions is established by the following criteria: (a) they are singly charged, (b) they have the broad velocity distributions characteristic of pick-up ions, with an upper limit of twice the solar wind speed, (c) their relative abundance as a function of distance from the sun corresponds to the theoretical expectation, and (d) there is no relation to a planetary or cometary source. The interstellar abundance ratios He(+)/O(+), N(+)/O(+), Ne(+)/O(+) were investigated. At approximately 5.25 AU in the outermost part of Ulysses' trajectory He(+)/O(+) = 175(sup +70 sub -50) N(+)/O(+) = 0.13(sup +0.05 sub -0.05) and Ne(+)/O(+) = 0.18(sup +0.10 sub -0.07) were determined. For the interstellar gas passing through the termination region and entering the heliosphere (He/O)(sub 0) = 290(sup +190 sub -100), (N/O)(sub 0) = 0.13(sup +0.06 sub -0.06) and (Ne/O)(sub 0) = 0.20(sup +0.12 sub -0.09) were obtained from the pick-up ion measurements. Upper limits for the relative abundances of C(+) and C were also determined.

  9. A Comparison of Oxidized Carbon Abundances among Comets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DiSanti, M. A.; Mumma, M. J.; Bonev, B. P.; Villanueva, G. L.; Radeva, Y. L.; Magee-Sauer, K.; Gibb, E. L.

    2010-01-01

    Comets contain relatively well preserved icy material remaining from the epoch of Solar System formation, however the extent to which these ices are modified from their initial state remains a fundamental question in cometary science. As a comet approaches the Sun, sublimation of the ices contained in its nucleus (termed " native ices") releases parent volatiles into the coma, where they can be measured spectroscopically. One means of assessing the degree to which interstellar ices were processed prior to their incorporation into cometary nuclei is to measure the relative abundances of chemically-related parent volatiles. For example, formation of C2H6 by hydrogen atom addition (e.g., to C2H2) on surfaces of ice-mantled grains was proposed to explain the high C2H6 to CH4 abundance observed in C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake) [1]. The large C2H6/CH4 abundance ratios measured universally in comets, compared with those predicted by gas phase production of C2H6, establishes H-atom addition as an important and likely ubiquitous process. CO should also be hydrogenated on grain surfaces. Laboratory irradiation experiments on interstellar ice analogs indicate this to require very low temperatures (T approx. 10-25 K), the resulting yields of H2CO and CH3OH being highly dependent both on hydrogen density (i.e., fluence) and on temperature ([2],[3]). This relatively narrow range in temperature reflects a lack of mobility below 8-10 K on the one hand, and reduced sticking times for H-atoms as grain surfaces are warmed above 20 K on the other. The relative abundances of these three chemically-related molecules in comets provides one measure of the efficiency of H-atom addition to CO on pre-cometary grains (Fig. 1).

  10. The Formation of Racemic Amino Acids by UV Photolysis of Interstellar Ice Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bernstein, Max P.; Dworkin, Jason P.; Sandford, Scott A.; Cooper, George; Allamandola, Louis J.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Small biologically relevant organic molecules including the amino acids glycine, alanine, and marine were formed in the laboratory by the UV (Ultraviolet) photolysis of realistic interstellar ice analogs, composed primarily of H2O, and including CH3OH, NH3, and HCN, under interstellar conditions. N-formyl glycine, cycloserine (4-amino-3-isoxazolidinone), and glycerol were detected before hydrolysis, and glycine, racemic alanine, racemic marine, glycerol, ethanolamine, and glyceric acid were found after hydrolysis. This suggests that some meteoritic amino acids (and other molecules) may be the direct result of interstellar ice photochemistry, expanding the current paradigm that they formed by reactions in liquid water on meteorite parent bodies.

  11. Deuterium hyperfine structure in interstellar C3HD.

    PubMed

    Bell, M B; Watson, J K; Feldman, P A; Matthews, H E; Madden, S C; Irvine, W M

    1987-05-22

    The deuterium nuclear quadrupole hyperfine structure of the transition 1(10)-1(01) of the ring molecule cyclopropenylidene-d1 (C3HD) has been observed in emission from interstellar molecular clouds. The narrowest linewidths (approximately 7 kHz) so far observed are in the cloud L1498. The derived D coupling constants Xzz = 186.9(1.4) kHz, eta=0.063(18) agree well with correlations based on other molecules.

  12. Visualizing Interstellar's Wormhole

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    James, Oliver; von Tunzelmann, Eugénie; Franklin, Paul; Thorne, Kip S.

    2015-06-01

    Christopher Nolan's science fiction movie Interstellar offers a variety of opportunities for students in elementary courses on general relativity theory. This paper describes such opportunities, including: (i) At the motivational level, the manner in which elementary relativity concepts underlie the wormhole visualizations seen in the movie; (ii) At the briefest computational level, instructive calculations with simple but intriguing wormhole metrics, including, e.g., constructing embedding diagrams for the three-parameter wormhole that was used by our visual effects team and Christopher Nolan in scoping out possible wormhole geometries for the movie; (iii) Combining the proper reference frame of a camera with solutions of the geodesic equation, to construct a light-ray-tracing map backward in time from a camera's local sky to a wormhole's two celestial spheres; (iv) Implementing this map, for example, in Mathematica, Maple or Matlab, and using that implementation to construct images of what a camera sees when near or inside a wormhole; (v) With the student's implementation, exploring how the wormhole's three parameters influence what the camera sees—which is precisely how Christopher Nolan, using our implementation, chose the parameters for Interstellar's wormhole; (vi) Using the student's implementation, exploring the wormhole's Einstein ring and particularly the peculiar motions of star images near the ring, and exploring what it looks like to travel through a wormhole.

  13. An interstellar precursor mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jaffe, L. D.; Ivie, C.; Lewis, J. C.; Lipes, R.; Norton, H. N.; Stearns, J. W.; Stimpson, L. D.; Weissman, P.

    1980-01-01

    A mission out of the planetary system, launched about the year 2000, could provide valuable scientific data as well as test some of the technology for a later mission to another star. Primary scientific objectives for the precursor mission concern characteristics of the heliopause, the interstellar medium, stellar distances (by parallax measurements), low-energy cosmic rays, interplanetary gas distribution, and the mass of the solar system. Secondary objectives include investigation of Pluto. The mission should extend to 400-1000 AU from the sun. A heliocentric hyperbolic escape velocity of 50-100 km/sec or more is needed to attain this distance within a reasonable mission duration (20-50 years). The trajectory should be toward the incoming interstellar gas. For a year 2000 launch, a Pluto encounter and orbiter can be included. A second mission targeted parallel to the solar axis would also be worthwhile. The mission duration is 20 years, with an extended mission to a total of 50 years. A system using one or two stages of nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) was selected as a possible baseline. The most promising alternatives are ultralight solar sails or laser sailing, with the lasers in earth orbit, for example. The NEP baseline design allows the option of carrying a Pluto orbiter as a daughter spacecraft.

  14. THE EFFECTS OF INITIAL ABUNDANCES ON NITROGEN IN PROTOPLANETARY DISKS

    SciTech Connect

    Schwarz, Kamber R.; Bergin, Edwin A.

    2014-12-20

    The dominant form of nitrogen provided to most solar system bodies is currently unknown, though available measurements show that the detected nitrogen in solar system rocks and ices is depleted with respect to solar abundances and the interstellar medium. We use a detailed chemical/physical model of the chemical evolution of a protoplanetary disk to explore the evolution and abundance of nitrogen-bearing molecules. Based on this model, we analyze how initial chemical abundances provided as either gas or ice during the early stages of disk formation influence which species become the dominant nitrogen bearers at later stages. We find that a disk with the majority of its initial nitrogen in either atomic or molecular nitrogen is later dominated by atomic and molecular nitrogen as well as NH{sub 3} and HCN ices, where the dominant species varies with disk radius. When nitrogen is initially in gaseous ammonia, it later becomes trapped in ammonia ice except in the outer disk where atomic nitrogen dominates. For a disk with the initial nitrogen in the form of ammonia ice, the nitrogen remains trapped in the ice as NH{sub 3} at later stages. The model in which most of the initial nitrogen is placed in atomic N best matches the ammonia abundances observed in comets. Furthermore, the initial state of nitrogen influences the abundance of N{sub 2}H{sup +}, which has been detected in protoplanetary disks. Strong N{sub 2}H{sup +} emission is found to be indicative of an N{sub 2} abundance greater than n{sub N{sub 2}}/n{sub H{sub 2}}>10{sup −6} in addition to tracing the CO snow line. Our models also indicate that NO is potentially detectable, with lower N gas abundances leading to higher NO abundances.

  15. A model for gas phase chemistry in interstellar clouds. II - Nonequilibrium effects and effects of temperature and activation energies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prasad, S. S.; Huntress, W. T., Jr.

    1980-01-01

    The chemical evolution of diffuse and dense interstellar clouds is examined via the time-dependent model outlined by Prasad and Huntress (1980). This paper presents specific results for CH, CO, CH4, O2, CH2O, CN, C2, C2H, HC3N, and NH3. Comparison with observations and predictions of other contemporary models show that cloud temperature plays a very important role through the inverse temperature dependence of radiative association reactions and through activation energies in neutral reactions and selected ion-molecule reactions. The observed fractional abundance of CN with respect to H2 and more accurate recent laboratory data on CN + O and CN + O2 reactions suggest that there is an unidentified, yet efficient, mechanism for conversion of O and O2 into polyatomic species. C2H and HC3N are synthesized early in the history of dense clouds. The value of the fractional abundance of C2H remains high, because as the cloud cools down the activation energy in the C2H + O reaction closes down this most important loss channel. A rapidly decreasing fractional abundance of O with time can also accomplish the same result. The value of the fractional abundance of HC3N remains high because it is an unreactive molecule and probably does not condense readily onto grains.

  16. Density wave theory. [interstellar gas dynamics and galactic shock waves

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roberts, W. W., Jr.

    1977-01-01

    The prospect that density waves and galactic shock waves are present on the large scale in disk shaped galaxies has received support in recent years from both theoretical and observational studies. Large-scale galactic shock waves in the interstellar gas are suggested to play an important governing role in star formation, molecule formation, and the degree of development of spiral structure. Through the dynamics of the interstellar gas and the galactic shock-wave phenomenon, a new insight into the physical basis underlying the morphological classification system of galaxies is suggested.

  17. Efficient simulations of gas-grain chemistry in interstellar clouds.

    PubMed

    Lipshtat, Azi; Biham, Ofer

    2004-10-22

    Chemical reactions on dust grains are of crucial importance in interstellar chemistry because they produce molecular hydrogen and various organic molecules. Because of the submicron size of the grains and the low flux, the surface populations of reactive species are small and strongly fluctuate. Under these conditions rate equations fail and the master equation is needed for modeling these reactions. However, the number of equations grows exponentially with the number of reactive species, severely limiting its feasibility. Here we present a method which dramatically reduces the number of equations, thus enabling the incorporation of the master equation in models of interstellar chemistry.

  18. Enhanced effects of starlight on the interstellar medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerola, H.; Schwartz, R. A.

    1975-01-01

    The photodesorption of molecules and atoms from the surfaces of interstellar grains can be an important source of heating for the interstellar medium and the origin of instabilities which may separate grains and gas. For low densities, the force exerted on the grains is proportional to the gas density and independent of the radiation intensity; for high densities, it is proportional to the radiative flux and independent of the gas density. This force may act differently on grains of different sizes. The photoelectric effect may also be an efficient mechanism for the separation of gas and dust in diffuse clouds.

  19. Enhanced effects of starlight on the interstellar medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerola, H.; Schwartz, R. A.

    1976-01-01

    The photodesorption of molecules and atoms from the surfaces of interstellar grains can be an important source of heating for the interstellar medium and the origin of instabilities which may separate grains and gas. For low densities, the force exerted on the grains is proportional to the gas density and independent of the radiation intensity; for high densities, it is proportional to the radiative flux and independent of the gas density. This force may act differently on grains of different sizes. The photoelectric effect may also be an efficient mechanism for the separation of gas and dust in diffuse clouds.

  20. The Search for Interstellar Sulfide Grains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keller, Lindsay P.; Messenger, Scott

    2010-01-01

    The lifecycle of sulfur in the galaxy is poorly understood. Fe-sulfide grains are abundant in early solar system materials (e.g. meteorites and comets) and S is highly depleted from the gas phase in cold, dense molecular cloud environments. In stark contrast, sulfur is essentially undepleted from the gas phase in the diffuse interstellar medium, indicating that little sulfur is incorporated into solid grains in this environment. It is widely believed that sulfur is not a component of interstellar dust grains. This is a rather puzzling observation unless Fe-sulfides are not produced in significant quantities in stellar outflows, or their lifetime in the ISM is very short due to rapid destruction. Fe sulfide grains are ubiquitous in cometary samples where they are the dominant host of sulfur. The Fe-sulfides (primarily pyrrhotite; Fe(1-x)S) are common, both as discrete 0.5-10 micron-sized grains and as fine (5-10 nm) nanophase inclusions within amorphous silicate grains. Cometary dust particles contain high abundances of well-preserved presolar silicates and organic matter and we have suggested that they should contain presolar sulfides as well. This hypothesis is supported by the observation of abundant Fe-sulfides grains in dust around pre- and post-main sequence stars inferred from astronomical spectra showing a broad 23 micron IR feature due to FeS. Fe-sulfide grains also occur as inclusions in bona fide circumstellar amorphous silicate grains and as inclusions within deuterium-rich organic matter in cometary dust samples. Our irradiation experiments show that FeS is far more resistant to radiation damage than silicates. Consequently, we expect that Fe sulfide stardust should be as abundant as silicate stardust in solar system materials.

  1. A search for interstellar anthracene towards the Perseus anomalous microwave emission region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iglesias-Groth, S.; Manchado, A.; Rebolo, R.; González Hernández, J. I.; García-Hernández, D. A.; Lambert, D. L.

    2010-10-01

    We report the discovery of a new broad interstellar (or circumstellar) band at 7088.8 +/- 2.0 Å coincident to within the measurement uncertainties with the strongest band of the anthracene cation (C14H10+) as measured in gas-phase laboratory spectroscopy at low temperatures. The band is detected in the line of sight of star Cernis 52, a likely member of the very young star cluster IC 348, and is probably associated with cold absorbing material in an intervening molecular cloud of the Perseus star-forming region where various experiments have recently detected anomalous microwave emission. From the measured intensity and available oscillator strength we find a column density of implying that ~0.008 per cent of the carbon in the cloud could be in the form of C14H10+. A similar abundance has been recently claimed for the naphthalene cation in this cloud. This is the first location outside the Solar system where specific polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are identified. We report observations of interstellar lines of CH and CH+ that support a rather high column density for these species and for molecular hydrogen. The strength ratio of the two prominent diffuse interstellar bands at 5780 and 5797 Å suggests the presence of a `zeta'-type cloud in the line of sight (consistent with steep far-ultraviolet extinction and high molecular content). The presence of PAH cations and other related hydrogenated carbon molecules which are likely to occur in this type of clouds reinforces the suggestion that electric dipole radiation from fast-spinning PAHs is responsible of the anomalous microwave emission detected towards Perseus.

  2. NEUTRAL INTERSTELLAR HELIUM PARAMETERS BASED ON IBEX-Lo OBSERVATIONS AND TEST PARTICLE CALCULATIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Bzowski, M.; Kubiak, M. A.; Sokol, J. M.; Hlond, M.; Moebius, E.; Bochsler, P.; Leonard, T.; Heirtzler, D.; Kucharek, H.; Schwadron, N. A.; Crew, G. B.; Fuselier, S. A.; McComas, D. J.

    2012-02-01

    Because of its high ionization potential and weak interaction with hydrogen, neutral interstellar helium (NISHe) is almost unaffected at the heliospheric interface with the interstellar medium and freely enters the solar system. This second most abundant species provides some of the best information on the characteristics of the interstellar gas in the local interstellar cloud. The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) is the second mission to directly detect NISHe. We present a comparison between recent IBEX NISHe observations and simulations carried out using a well-tested quantitative simulation code. Simulation and observation results compare well for times when measured fluxes are dominated by NISHe (and contributions from other species are small). Differences between simulations and observations indicate a previously undetected secondary population of neutral helium, likely produced by interaction of interstellar helium with plasma in the outer heliosheath. Interstellar neutral parameters are statistically different from previous in situ results obtained mostly from the GAS/Ulysses experiment, but they do agree with the local interstellar flow vector obtained from studies of interstellar absorption: the newly established flow direction is ecliptic longitude 79.{sup 0}2, latitude -5.{sup 0}1, the velocity is {approx}22.8 km s{sup -1}, and the temperature is 6200 K. These new results imply a markedly lower absolute velocity of the gas and thus significantly lower dynamic pressure on the boundaries of the heliosphere and different orientation of the Hydrogen Deflection Plane compared to prior results from Ulysses. A different orientation of this plane also suggests a new geometry of the interstellar magnetic field, and the lower dynamic pressure calls for a compensation by other components of the pressure balance, most likely a higher density of interstellar plasma and strength of interstellar magnetic field.

  3. Diffuse Interstellar Band Emission in the Galaxy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burton Williams, Theodore; Sarre, Peter; Marshall, Charlotte; Spekkens, Kristine; Kuzio de Naray, Rachel

    2015-08-01

    The longest-standing problem in astronomical spectroscopy is the identification of the carriers of the diffuse interstellar absorption bands (DIBs), the first examples of which were discovered on photographic plates almost 100 years ago. Most researchers consider a population of large carbon-based molecules to be responsible for the DIBs. Identification of the carriers would open a new probe of interstellar conditions and processes in interstellar clouds and could have implications far beyond - including the role of such molecules in star and planet formation and even for the origins of life. Only one clear-cut example exists where complementary emission (from a subset) of DIBs is seen - in the Red Rectangle nebula - where the emission is excited by radiation from the central star HD 44179.Recent Fabry-Perot observations towards galaxy NGC 1325 with the Southern African Large Telescope led to the serendipitous discovery of an emission feature centered at 6613 Å arising from material in the ISM of our Galaxy; this emission feature lies at the wavelength of one of the sharper and stronger diffuse bands normally seen in absorption, and it is one of the most prominent of the Red Rectangle emission bands. The flux of the feature is 4.2 ± 0.5 x 10-18 e/s/cm2 /arc-sec2. It appears that this is the first observation of emission from a diffuse band carrier in the ISM, excited in this case by the interstellar radiation field. Unlike the Red Rectangle, the emission from the ISM is expected to have a very low molecular rotational temperature, potentially as low as 3 K. Spectra of this nature will assist greatly in spectroscopic analysis and in refining the nature of the molecules responsible for the DIB spectrum.We present the discovery spectra and follow-up measurements for the expected strong DIB features at 6613, 5797, 5850 and 5418 Å, in fields near NGC 1325, near the Red Rectangle, and near Rho Ophiuchi.

  4. Interstellar and Cometary Dust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mathis, John S.

    1997-01-01

    'Interstellar dust' forms a continuum of materials with differing properties which I divide into three classes on the basis of observations: (a) diffuse dust, in the low-density interstellar medium; (b) outer-cloud dust, observed in stars close enough to the outer edges of molecular clouds to be observed in the optical and ultraviolet regions of the spectrum, and (c) inner-cloud dust, deep within the cores of molecular clouds, and observed only in the infrared by means of absorption bands of C-H, C=O, 0-H, C(triple bond)N, etc. There is a surprising regularity of the extinction laws between diffuse- and outer-cloud dust. The entire mean extinction law from infrared through the observable ultraviolet spectrum can be characterized by a single parameter. There are real deviations from this mean law, larger than observational uncertainties, but they are much smaller than differences of the mean laws in diffuse- and outer-cloud dust. This fact shows that there are processes which operate over the entire distribution of grain sizes, and which change size distributions extremely efficiently. There is no evidence for mantles on grains in local diffuse and outer-cloud dust. The only published spectra of the star VI Cyg 12, the best candidate for showing mantles, does not show the 3.4 micro-m band which appreciable mantles would produce. Grains are larger in outer-cloud dust than diffuse dust because of coagulation, not accretion of extensive mantles. Core-mantle grains favored by J. M. Greenberg and collaborators, and composite grains of Mathis and Whiffen (1989), are discussed more extensively (naturally, I prefer the latter). The composite grains are fluffy and consist of silicates, amorphous carbon, and some graphite in the same grain. Grains deep within molecular clouds but before any processing within the solar system are presumably formed from the accretion of icy mantles on and within the coagulated outer-cloud grains. They should contain a mineral

  5. Interstellar and Cometary Dust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mathis, John S.

    1997-12-01

    'Interstellar dust' forms a continuum of materials with differing properties which I divide into three classes on the basis of observations: (a) diffuse dust, in the low-density interstellar medium; (b) outer-cloud dust, observed in stars close enough to the outer edges of molecular clouds to be observed in the optical and ultraviolet regions of the spectrum, and (c) inner-cloud dust, deep within the cores of molecular clouds, and observed only in the infrared by means of absorption bands of C-H, C=O, 0-H, C(triple bond)N, etc. There is a surprising regularity of the extinction laws between diffuse- and outer-cloud dust. The entire mean extinction law from infrared through the observable ultraviolet spectrum can be characterized by a single parameter. There are real deviations from this mean law, larger than observational uncertainties, but they are much smaller than differences of the mean laws in diffuse- and outer-cloud dust. This fact shows that there are processes which operate over the entire distribution of grain sizes, and which change size distributions extremely efficiently. There is no evidence for mantles on grains in local diffuse and outer-cloud dust. The only published spectra of the star VI Cyg 12, the best candidate for showing mantles, does not show the 3.4 micro-m band which appreciable mantles would produce. Grains are larger in outer-cloud dust than diffuse dust because of coagulation, not accretion of extensive mantles. Core-mantle grains favored by J. M. Greenberg and collaborators, and composite grains of Mathis and Whiffen (1989), are discussed more extensively (naturally, I prefer the latter). The composite grains are fluffy and consist of silicates, amorphous carbon, and some graphite in the same grain. Grains deep within molecular clouds but before any processing within the solar system are presumably formed from the accretion of icy mantles on and within the coagulated outer-cloud grains. They should contain a mineral

  6. The interstellar medium in galaxies; Proceedings of the 2nd Teton Conference, Grand Teton National Park, WY, July 3-7, 1989

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thronson, Harley A., Jr.; Shull, J. M.

    The present conference on the interstellar medium in galaxies discusses the cool phase of the interstellar medium, molecular clouds in spiral galaxies, interstellar dust in galaxies, and the diffuse interstellar medium. Attention is given to cooling flows and X-ray emission in early-type galaxies, the interstellar medium in active galaxies, abundances in extragalactic H II regions, and thermal phases of the interstellar medium in galaxies. Topics considered include large-scale interstellar gasdynamics in disk galaxies, gas during mergers, magnetic fields in galaxies, and large-scale star formation in the interstellar medium. Also discussed are gaseous halos and disks of galaxies at large redshift, the star-gas cycle in galaxies, measuring atomic hydrogen masses using the 21-cm line, and mass determinations from far-infrared and from CO observations.

  7. The interstellar medium in galaxies; Proceedings of the 2nd Teton Conference, Grand Teton National Park, WY, July 3-7, 1989

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thronson, Harley A., Jr. (Editor); Shull, J. M. (Editor)

    1990-01-01

    The present conference on the interstellar medium in galaxies discusses the cool phase of the interstellar medium, molecular clouds in spiral galaxies, interstellar dust in galaxies, and the diffuse interstellar medium. Attention is given to cooling flows and X-ray emission in early-type galaxies, the interstellar medium in active galaxies, abundances in extragalactic H II regions, and thermal phases of the interstellar medium in galaxies. Topics considered include large-scale interstellar gasdynamics in disk galaxies, gas during mergers, magnetic fields in galaxies, and large-scale star formation in the interstellar medium. Also discussed are gaseous halos and disks of galaxies at large redshift, the star-gas cycle in galaxies, measuring atomic hydrogen masses using the 21-cm line, and mass determinations from far-infrared and from CO observations.

  8. Interstellar dust in the Local Cloud surrounding the Sun

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimura, Hiroshi

    2015-05-01

    On the basis of the most recent view on the local interstellar medium consisting of a single continuous cloud, termed the Local Cloud, we study the destruction of interstellar dust by the propagation of a shock wave in the Local Cloud. We survey gas-phase column densities of dust-forming elements in the literature to determine how the dust destruction fraction varies with the angle from the minor axis of the cloud. Our results indicate that the propagation of a shock wave destroyed approximately 20 per cent of interstellar dust towards the minor axis of the cloud pointing near the anti-apex of motion with a shock of <100 km s-1, weaker than previously expected. The gas-to-dust ratio of the Local Cloud is approximately 120 towards the apex of cloud motion and organic-forming elements occupy 40 per cent of the mass in the dust phase. We find that a correlation in the gas-phase abundances between silicon and magnesium is consistent with the destruction of silicate grains with enstatite stoichiometry. We also derive the most plausible composition of interstellar dust from the dust-phase elemental abundances and the correlations between the dust-forming elements. We suggest that the major constituents of interstellar dust are organic materials, magnesium silicates and iron alloys, while the minor ones are spinels and iron sulphides. Since no organic materials have been detected in the grains that penetrate into the Solar system, we claim that the composition of interstellar dust may not remain intact en route to the inner Solar system.

  9. Radio Observations of Interstellar Hydroxyl Radicals: Have we discovered a gigantic maser, or could we be detecting interstellar communications?

    PubMed

    Barrett, A H

    1967-08-25

    The discovery of the radio frequency lines of OH gave the first positive evidence of the existence of OH in the interstellar medium. In the 3(1/2) years that have intervened, many observations have revealed totally unexpected anomalies in the radio-spectral properties of interstellar OH. As a result, no reliable astrophysical information has been derived from the OH observations, but a large body of information is waiting to be unraveled. The interpretations of the data which have been made, such as the values derived for OH/H abundance ratios or for the kinetic temperatures of interstellar gas clouds, must be viewed with caution. They may turn out to be drastically in error, once the origin of the OH emission and absorption is fully understood.

  10. The C-12/C-13 abundance ratio in Comet Halley

    SciTech Connect

    Wyckoff, S.; Lindholm, E.; Wehinger, P.A.; Peterson, B.A.; Zucconi, J.M.

    1989-04-01

    The individual (C-13)N rotational lines in Comet Halley are resolved using high-resolution spectra of the CN B2Sigma(+)-X2Sigma(+) (0,0) band. The observe C-12/C-13 abundance ratio excludes a site of origin for the comet near Uranus and Neptune and suggests a condensation environment quite distinct from other solar system bodies. Two theories are presented for the origin of Comet Halley. One theory suggest that the comet originated 4.5 Gyr ago in an inner Oort cloud at a heliocentric distance greater than 100 AU where chemical fractionation led to the C-13 enrichment in the CN parent molecule prior to condensation of the comet nucleus. According to the other, more plausible theory, the comet nucleus condensed relatively recently from the interstellar medium which has become enriches in C-13 and was subsequently gravitationally captured by the solar system. 107 refs.

  11. The C-12/C-13 abundance ratio in Comet Halley

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wyckoff, Susan; Lindholm, Eric; Wehinger, Peter A.; Peterson, Bruce A.; Zucconi, Jean-Marc

    1989-01-01

    The individual (C-13)N rotational lines in Comet Halley are resolved using high-resolution spectra of the CN B2Sigma(+)-X2Sigma(+) (0,0) band. The observe C-12/C-13 abundance ratio excludes a site of origin for the comet near Uranus and Neptune and suggests a condensation environment quite distinct from other solar system bodies. Two theories are presented for the origin of Comet Halley. One theory suggest that the comet originated 4.5 Gyr ago in an inner Oort cloud at a heliocentric distance greater than 100 AU where chemical fractionation led to the C-13 enrichment in the CN parent molecule prior to condensation of the comet nucleus. According to the other, more plausible theory, the comet nucleus condensed relatively recently from the interstellar medium which has become enriches in C-13 and was subsequently gravitationally captured by the solar system.

  12. High-Resolution Imaging in 3-mm and 0.8-mm Bands and Abundances of Shock/Dust Related Molecules Toward the Seyfert Galaxy NGC 1068 Observed with ALMA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakajima, T.; Takano, S.; Kohno, K.; Harada, N.; Herbst, E.; Tamura, Y.; Izumi, T.; Taniguchi, A.; Tosaki, T.

    2015-12-01

    We present the results of high-angular-resolution in 3-mm and 0.8-mm band observations with ALMA in cycle-0 toward one of the nearest galaxies with an active galactic nucleus (AGN), NGC 1068. The physical properties of CO isotopic species, CS, CN, and shock and dust related molecules such as HNCO, CH3CN, SO, and CH3OH were estimated using rotation diagrams. We discuss the chemistry of each species, and compare the fractional abundances in the circumnuclear disk (CND) and starburst ring with those of Galactic sources in order to study the overall characteristics.

  13. Interstellar carbon in meteorites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Swart, P. K.; Grady, M. M.; Pillinger, C. T.; Lewis, R. S.; Anders, E.

    1983-01-01

    The Murchison and Allende chondrites contain up to 5 parts per million carbon that is enriched in carbon-13 by up to +1100 per mil (the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 is approximately 42, compared to 88 to 93 for terrestrial carbon). This 'heavy' carbon is associated with neon-22 and with anomalous krypton and xenon showing the signature of the s-process (neutron capture on a slow time scale). It apparently represents interstellar grains ejected from late-type stars. A second anomalous xenon component ('CCFXe') is associated with a distinctive, light carbon (depleted in carbon-13 by 38 per mil), which, however, falls within the terrestrial range and hence may be of either local or exotic origin.

  14. An interstellar precursor mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jaffe, L. D.; Ivie, C.; Lewis, J. C.; Lipes, R. G.; Norton, H. N.; Stearns, J. W.; Stimpson, L.; Weissman, P.

    1977-01-01

    A mission out of the planetary system, with launch about the year 2000, could provide valuable scientific data as well as test some of the technology for a later mission to another star. Primary scientific objectives for the precursor mission concern characteristics of the heliopause, the interstellar medium, stellar distances (by parallax measurements), low energy cosmic rays, interplanetary gas distribution, and mass of the solar system. Secondary objectives include investigation of Pluto. Candidate science instruments are suggested. Individual spacecraft systems for the mission were considered, technology requirements and problem areas noted, and a number of recommendations made for technology study and advanced development. The most critical technology needs include attainment of 50-yr spacecraft lifetime and development of a long-life NEP system.

  15. Interstellar Dust Scattering Properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gordon, K. D.

    2004-05-01

    Studies of dust scattering properties in astrophysical objects with Milky Way interstellar dust are reviewed. Such objects are reflection nebulae, dark clouds, and the Diffuse Galactic Light (DGL). To ensure their basic quality, studies had to satisfy four basic criteria to be included in this review. These four criteria significantly reduced the scatter in dust properties measurements, especially in the case of the DGL. Determinations of dust scattering properties were found to be internally consistent for each object type as well as consistent between object types. The 2175 Å bump is seen as an absorption feature. Comparisons with dust grain models find general agreement with significant disagreements at particular wavelengths (especially in the far-ultraviolet). Finally, unanswered questions and future directions are enumerated.

  16. Chemistry and Evolution of Interstellar Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wooden, D. H.; Charnley, S. B.; Ehrenfreund, P.

    2003-01-01

    In this chapter we describe how elements have been and are still being formed in the galaxy and how they are transformed into the reservoir of materials present at the time of formation of our protosolar nebula. We discuss the global cycle of matter, beginning at its formation site in stars, where it is ejected through winds and explosions into the diffuse interstellar medium. In the next stage of the global cycle occurs in cold, dense molecular clouds, where the complexity of molecules and ices increases relative to the diffuse ISM.. When a protostar forms in a dense core within a molecular cloud, it heats the surrounding infalling matter warms and releases molecules from the solid phase into the gas phase in a warm, dense core, sponsoring a rich gas-phase chemistry. Some material from the cold and warm regions within molecular clouds probably survives as interstellar matter in the protostellar disk. For the diffuse ISM, for cold, dense clouds, and for dense-warm cores, the physio-chemical processes that occur within the gas and solid phases are discussed in detail.

  17. The Interstellar Production of Biologically Important Organics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandford, Scott A.; Bernstein, Max P.; Dworkin, Jason; Allamandola, Louis J.

    2000-01-01

    One of the primary tasks of the Astrochemistry Laboratory at Ames Research Center is to use laboratory simulations to study the chemical processes that occur in dense interstellar clouds. Since new stars are formed in these clouds, their materials may be responsible for the delivery of organics to new habitable planets and may play important roles in the origin of life. These clouds are extremely cold (less than 50 kelvin), and most of the volatiles in these clouds are condensed onto dust grains as thin ice mantles. These ices are exposed to cosmic rays and ultraviolet (UV) photons that break chemical bonds and result in the production of complex molecules when the ices are warmed (as they would be when incorporated into a star-forming region). Using cryovacuum systems and UV lamps, this study simulates the conditions of these clouds and studies the resulting chemistry. Some of the areas of progress made in 1999 are described below. It shows some of the types of molecules that may be formed in the interstellar medium. Laboratory simulations have already confirmed that many of these compounds are made under these conditions.

  18. On Ion Clusters in the Interstellar Gas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donn, Bertram

    1960-01-01

    In a recent paper V.I. Krassovsky (1958) predicts the occurrence of clusters of large numbers of atoms and molecules around ions in the interstellar gas. He then proposes a number of physicochemical processes that would be considerably enhanced by the high particle density in such clusters. In particular, he suggests that absorption by negative ions formed in the clusters would account for the interstellar extinction without any necessity for the presence of grains. Because of the important consequences that ion clusters could have, it is necessary to examine their occurrence more fully. This note re-examines the formation of ion clusters in space and shows that even ion-molecule pairs are essentially non-existent. Ion clusters have been considered by Bloom and Margenau (1952) from the same point of view as that used by Krassovsky, whose basic reference (Joffe and Semenov 1933) unfortunately is not available. A different approach has been used by Eyring, Hirschfelder, and Taylor (1936) following the methods of chemical equilibrium. Both the references cited here enable one to conclude that clustering is negligible. Therefore, the treatment of Eyring et al. is more appropriate than the method of Bloom and Margenau, which depends on the statistical equilibrium of an atmosphere in a force field.

  19. Detection of interstellar PN - The first phosphorus-bearing species observed in molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ziurys, L. M.

    1987-01-01

    Phosphorus nitride (PN) has been detected in the interstellar medium. The J = 2-1, 3-2, 5-4, and 6-5 rotational lines of this species have been observed toward Orion-KL, and the J = 2-1 transition in Sgr B2 and W51. The PN line profiles in Orion indicate that the molecule's emission arises from the 'plateau' or 'doughnut' region associated with the outflow from IRc2. The species is thus primarily present in hot, dense gas. Column densities derived for PN toward Orion-KL are (3-4) x 10 to the 13th/sq cm, but may be as high as 10 to the 14th/sq cm, if the species is located in a 10-arcsec region. These column densities imply a fractional abundance for PN in the Orion 'plateau' of (1-4) x 10 to the -10th. Such a large abundance for PN is not predicted by quiescent cloud ion-molecule chemistry and suggests that high-temperature processes are responsible for the synthesis of PN in the KL outflow.

  20. Detection of interstellar PN: the first phosphorus-bearing species observed in molecular clouds.

    PubMed

    Ziurys, L M

    1987-10-01

    Phosphorus nitride (PN) has been detected in the interstellar medium. The J = 2-1, 3-2, 5-4, and 6-5 rotational lines of this species have been observed toward Orion-KL, and the J = 2-1 transition in Sgr B2 and W51. The PN line profiles in Orion indicate that the molecule's emission arises from the "plateau" or "doughnut" region associated with the outflow from IRc2. The species is thus primarily present in hot, dense gas. Column densities derived for PN toward Orion-KL are 3-4 X 10(13) cm-2, but may be as high as 10(14) cm-2, if the species is located in a 10" region. These column densities imply a fractional abundance for PN in the Orion "plateau" of approximately 1-4 X 10(-10). Such a large abundance for phosphorus nitride is not predicted by quiescent cloud ion-molecule chemistry and suggests that high-temperature processes are responsible for the synthesis of PN in the KL outflow.

  1. Hydrothermal alteration experiments: tracking the path from interstellar to chondrites organics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vinogradoff, V.; Bernard, S.; Le Guillou, C.; Jaber, M.; Remusat, L.

    2015-10-01

    Organic molecules are detected in primitive carbonaceous chondrites. The origin of these organics, whether formed prior the accretion phase, or in-situ on the parent body, is still a matter of debate. We have investigated experimentally the chemical evolution of interstellar organic molecules submitted to hydrothermal conditions, mimicking asteroidal alteration (T<200°C). In particular, we want to assess the potential catalytic role of clays minerals in the polymerization/degradation of organics. Hexamethylenetetramine (HMT, compound of C-N bonds) is used as a plausible interstellar precursors from icy grains. Experimental products reveal a large diversity of molecules, including nitrogen organic molecules similar to those found in chondrites.

  2. Millimeter and Submillimeter Studies of Interstellar Ice Analogues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mesko, AJ; Wagner, Ian C.; Smith, Houston Hartwell; Milam, Stefanie N.; Widicus Weaver, Susanna L.

    2015-06-01

    The chemistry of interstellar ice analogues has been a topic of great interest to astrochemists over the last 20 years. Currently, the models of interstellar chemistry feature icy-grain reactions as a primary mechanism for the formation of many astrochemical species as well as potentially astrobiologically-relevant complex organic molecules. This talk presents new spectral results collected by a millimeter and submillimeter spectrometer coupled to a vacuum chamber designed to study the sublimation or sputtered products of icy-grain reactions initiated by thermal-processing or photo-processing of interstellar ice analogues. Initial results from thermal desorption and UV photoprocessing experiments of pure water ice and water + methanol ice mixtures will be presented.

  3. Observations of the interstellar gas with the Copernicus satellite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morton, D. C.

    1975-01-01

    Results are reviewed for Copernicus far-UV measurements of the absorption lines of H I, D I, H2, and heavier elements in the interstellar gas. Column densities along several lines of sight, as estimated from Ly-alpha absorption-line profiles, confirm that wide differences in the gas density are present in various directions. The measurement of interstellar D I implies an open universe unless alternate sources for this nuclide are found. Analysis of reddened stars for which the line of sight passes through one or more interstellar clouds indicates a depletion of several heavy elements in the gas. It is suggested that the depleted elements may be present in grains rather than molecules and that the intercloud medium may consist primarily of H II with a few small H I clouds.

  4. Diffuse interstellar bands: a comprehensive laboratory study.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Fred M

    2006-12-01

    As a result of the search for the identity of the chromophores responsible for producing the diffuse interstellar bands, a comprehensive exposition of experimental data is presented, which implicates the following molecules: (1) The extremely stable organic molecules, magnesium tetrabenzoporphyrin (MgTBP) and H(2)TBP. (2) A paraffin matrix (referred to as "grains") containing TBPs. (3) A low concentration of pyridine (also within the grains), whose transmission window at 2175 A, accounts for the ubiquitous UV bump. The blue emission spectra associated with the central star, HD44179, of the Red Rectangle displays the fluorescence excitation spectra of bare MgTBP. This unique spectrum matches the low temperature lab data of MgTBP in the vapor phase. An effective grain temperature of 2.728 K (+/-0.008) was deduced, based on MgTBP's lowest measured vibrational state of 341 GHz.

  5. Four Interstellar Dust Candidates from the Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Westphal, A. J.; Allen, C.; Bajt, S.; Bechtel, H. A.; Borg, J.; Brenker, F.; Bridges, J.; Brownlee, D. E.; Burchell, M.; Burghammer, M.; Butterworth, A. L.; Cloetens, P.; Davis, A. M.; Floss, C.; Flynn, G. J.; Fougeray, P.; Frank, D.; Gainsforth, Z.; Grun, E.; Heck, P. R.; Jillier, J. K.; Hoppe, P.; Howard, L.; Hudson, B.; Huss, G. R.

    2011-01-01

    In January 2006, the Stardust sample return capsule returned to Earth bearing the first solid samples from a primitive solar system body, Comet 81P/Wild2, and a collector dedicated to the capture and return of contemporary interstellar dust. Both collectors were approx. 0.1 sq m in area and were composed of aerogel tiles (85% of the collecting area) and aluminum foils. The Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector (SIDC) was exposed to the interstellar dust stream for a total exposure factor of 20 sq m/day. The Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination (ISPE) is a consortium-based project to characterize the collection using nondestructive techniques. The goals and restrictions of the ISPE are described . A summary of analytical techniques is described.

  6. Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination VII: Synchrotron X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of Six Stardust Interstellar Candidates Measured with the Advanced Photon Source 2-ID-D Microprobe

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, Carlton C.; Anderson, David; Bastien, Ron K.; Brenker, Frank E.; Flynn, George J.; Frank, David; Gainsforth, Zack; Sandford, Scott A.; Simionovici, Alexandre S.; Zolensky, Michael E.

    2014-01-01

    The NASA Stardust spacecraft exposed an aerogel collector to the interstellar dust passing through the solar system. We performed X-ray fluorescence element mapping and abundance measurements, for elements 19 < or = Z < or = 30, on six "interstellar candidates," potential interstellar impacts identified by Stardust@Home and extracted for analyses in picokeystones. One, I1044,3,33, showed no element hot-spots within the designated search area. However, we identified a nearby surface feature, consistent with the impact of a weak, high-speed particle having an approximately chondritic (CI) element abundance pattern, except for factor-of-ten enrichments in K and Zn and an S depletion. This hot-spot, containing approximately 10 fg of Fe, corresponds to an approximately 350 nm chondritic particle, small enough to be missed by Stardust@Home, indicating that other techniques may be necessary to identify all interstellar candidates. Only one interstellar candidate, I1004,1,2, showed a track. The terminal particle has large enrichments in S, Ti, Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, and Zn relative to Fe-normalized CI values. It has high Al/Fe, but does not match the Ni/Fe range measured for samples of Al-deck material from the Stardust sample return capsule, which was within the field-of-view of the interstellar collector. A third interstellar candidate, I1075,1,25, showed an Al-rich surface feature that has a composition generally consistent with the Al-deck material, suggesting that it is a secondary particle. The other three interstellar candidates, I1001,1,16, I1001,2,17, and I1044,2,32, showed no impact features or tracks, but allowed assessment of submicron contamination in this aerogel, including Fe hot-spots having CI-like Ni/Fe ratios, complicating the search for CI-like interstellar/interplanetary dust.

  7. PAH Clusters as Sources of Interstellar Infrared Emission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roser, J. E.; Ricca, A.

    2015-03-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (or PAHs) have been the subject of astrochemical research for several decades as principal sources of the interstellar aromatic infrared emission bands. PAH clusters could possibly contribute to these emission bands, but a lack of data on their infrared properties has made this hypothesis difficult to evaluate. Here we investigate homogeneous neutral PAH clusters by measuring the mid-infrared absorption spectra of the five nonlinear PAH molecules phenanthrene, chrysene, pyrene, perylene, and benzo[ghi]perylene within solid argon ice at a fixed temperature of 5 K. We attribute observed spectral shifts in their principal absorption bands as a function of argon/PAH ratio to clustering of the PAH molecules within the argon matrix. These shifts are related to the cluster structures forming in the matrix and the topology of the monomer PAH molecule. We predict that interstellar PAH molecules that are relatively large (no fewer than 50 carbon atoms per molecule) and compact will have clusters that contribute to the asymmetrically red-shaded profile of the interstellar 11.2 μm emission band.

  8. POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBON CLUSTERS AS SOURCES OF INTERSTELLAR INFRARED EMISSION

    SciTech Connect

    Roser, J. E.; Ricca, A.

    2015-03-10

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (or PAHs) have been the subject of astrochemical research for several decades as principal sources of the interstellar aromatic infrared emission bands. PAH clusters could possibly contribute to these emission bands, but a lack of data on their infrared properties has made this hypothesis difficult to evaluate. Here we investigate homogeneous neutral PAH clusters by measuring the mid-infrared absorption spectra of the five nonlinear PAH molecules phenanthrene, chrysene, pyrene, perylene, and benzo[ghi]perylene within solid argon ice at a fixed temperature of 5 K. We attribute observed spectral shifts in their principal absorption bands as a function of argon/PAH ratio to clustering of the PAH molecules within the argon matrix. These shifts are related to the cluster structures forming in the matrix and the topology of the monomer PAH molecule. We predict that interstellar PAH molecules that are relatively large (no fewer than 50 carbon atoms per molecule) and compact will have clusters that contribute to the asymmetrically red-shaded profile of the interstellar 11.2 μm emission band.

  9. Organic molecules in ices and their release into the gas phase

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fayolle, Edith; Oberg, Karin I.; Garrod, Robin; van Dishoeck, Ewine; Rajappan, Mahesh; Bertin, Mathieu; Romanzin, Claire; Michaut, Xavier; Fillion, Jean-Hugues

    2015-08-01

    Organic molecules in the early stages of star formation are mainly produced in icy mantles surrounding interstellar dust grains. Identifying these complex organics and quantifying their abundance during the evolution of young stellar objects is of importance to understand the emergence of life. Simple molecules in ices, up to methanol in size, have been identified in the interstellar medium through their mid-IR vibrations, but band confusion prevents detections of more complex and less abundant organic molecules in interstellar ices. The presence of complex organics on grains can instead be indirectly inferred from observations of their rotational lines in the gas phase following ice sublimation.Thermal sublimation of protostellar ices occurs when icy grains flow toward a central protostar, resulting in the formation of a hot-core or a hot-corinos. The high degree of chemical complexity observed in these dense and warm regions can be the results of i) direct synthesis on the grains followed by desorption, but also to ii) the desorption of precursors from the ice followed by gas-phase chemistry. I will show how spatially resolved millimetric observations of hot cores and cooler protostellar environments, coupled to ice observations can help us pinpoint the ice or gas-phase origin of these organic species.Organic molecules have also recently been observed in cold environments where thermal desorption can be neglected. The presence of these cold molecules in the gas phase is most likely due to non-thermal desorption processes induced by, for e.g., photon-, electron-, cosmic-ray-irradiation, shock, exothermic reactions... I will present laboratory and observational efforts that push our current understanding of these non-thermal desorption processes and how they could be use to quantify the amount of organics in ices.

  10. Nitric oxide in star-forming regions: further evidence for interstellar N-O bonds.

    PubMed

    Ziurys, L M; McGonagle, D; Minh, Y; Irvine, W M

    1991-06-01

    Nitric oxide has been newly detected towards several star-forming clouds, including Orion-KL, Sgr B2(N), W33A, W51M, and DR21(OH) via its J = 3/2 --> 1/2 transitions near 150 GHz, using the FCRAO 14 m telescope. Both lambda-doubling components of NO were observed towards all sources. Column densities derived for nitric oxide in these clouds are N approximately 10(15)-10(16) cm-2, corresponding to fractional abundances of f approximately 0.5-1.0 x 10(-8), relative to H2. Towards Orion-KL, the NO line profile suggests that the species arises primarily from hot, dense gas. Nitric oxide may arise from warm material toward the other clouds as well. Nitric oxide in star-forming regions could be synthesized by high-temperature reactions, although the observed abundances do not disagree with values predicted from low-temperature, ion-molecule chemistry by more than one order of magnitude. The abundance of NO, unlike other simple interstellar nitrogen compounds, does appear to be reproduced by chemical models, at least to a good approximation. Regardless of the nature of formation of NO, it appears to be a common constituent of warm, dense molecular clouds. N-O bonds may therefore be more prevalent than previously thought.

  11. A GAS-PHASE FORMATION ROUTE TO INTERSTELLAR TRANS-METHYL FORMATE

    SciTech Connect

    Cole, Callie A.; Wehres, Nadine; Yang Zhibo; Thomsen, Ditte L.; Bierbaum, Veronica M.; Snow, Theodore P. E-mail: Nadine.Wehres@colorado.edu E-mail: Veronica.Bierbaum@colorado.edu E-mail: dlt@chem.ku.dk

    2012-07-20

    The abundance of methyl formate in the interstellar medium has previously been underpredicted by chemical models. Additionally, grain surface chemistry cannot account for the relative abundance of the cis- and trans-conformers of methyl formate, and the trans-conformer is not even formed at detectable abundance on these surfaces. This highlights the importance of studying formation pathways to methyl formate in the gas phase. The rate constant and branching fractions are reported for the gas-phase reaction between protonated methanol and formic acid to form protonated trans-methyl formate and water as well as adduct ion: Rate constants were experimentally determined using a flowing afterglow-selected ion flow tube apparatus at 300 K and a pressure of 530 mTorr helium. The results indicate a moderate overall rate constant of (3.19 {+-} 0.39) Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -10} cm{sup 3} s{sup -1} ({+-} 1{sigma}) and an average branching fraction of 0.05 {+-} 0.04 for protonated trans-methyl formate and 0.95 {+-} 0.04 for the adduct ion. These experimental results are reinforced by ab initio calculations at the MP2(full)/aug-cc-pVTZ level of theory to examine the reaction coordinate and complement previous density functional theory calculations. This study underscores the need for continued observational studies of trans-methyl formate and for the exploration of other gas-phase formation routes to complex organic molecules.

  12. A Gas-phase Formation Route to Interstellar Trans-methyl Formate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cole, Callie A.; Wehres, Nadine; Yang, Zhibo; Thomsen, Ditte L.; Snow, Theodore P.; Bierbaum, Veronica M.

    2012-07-01

    The abundance of methyl formate in the interstellar medium has previously been underpredicted by chemical models. Additionally, grain surface chemistry cannot account for the relative abundance of the cis- and trans-conformers of methyl formate, and the trans-conformer is not even formed at detectable abundance on these surfaces. This highlights the importance of studying formation pathways to methyl formate in the gas phase. The rate constant and branching fractions are reported for the gas-phase reaction between protonated methanol and formic acid to form protonated trans-methyl formate and water as well as adduct ion: Rate constants were experimentally determined using a flowing afterglow-selected ion flow tube apparatus at 300 K and a pressure of 530 mTorr helium. The results indicate a moderate overall rate constant of (3.19 ± 0.39) × 10-10 cm3 s-1 (± 1σ) and an average branching fraction of 0.05 ± 0.04 for protonated trans-methyl formate and 0.95 ± 0.04 for the adduct ion. These experimental results are reinforced by ab initio calculations at the MP2(full)/aug-cc-pVTZ level of theory to examine the reaction coordinate and complement previous density functional theory calculations. This study underscores the need for continued observational studies of trans-methyl formate and for the exploration of other gas-phase formation routes to complex organic molecules.

  13. Time evolution of simple molecules during proto-star collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Das, Ankan; Chakrabarti, Sandip K.; Acharyya, Kinsuk; Chakrabarti, Sonali

    2008-10-01

    We study the formation and evolution of several molecules in a collapsing interstellar cloud using a reasonably large reaction network containing more than four hundred atomic and molecular species. We employ a time dependent, spherically symmetric, hydrodynamics code to follow the hydrodynamic and chemical evolution of the collapsing cloud. The flow is assumed to be self-gravitating. We use two models to study the hydrodynamic evolution: in the first model, we inject matter into an initially low density region and in the second model, we start with a constant density cloud and let it collapse due to self-gravity. We study the evolution of the central core for both the cases. We include the grain chemistry to compute the formation of molecular hydrogen and carried out the effect of gas and grain chemistry at each time step. We follow the collapse for more than 10 14 s (about 3 million years) and present the time evolution of the globally averaged abundances of various simple but biologically important molecules, such as glycine, alanine etc. We compare our results with those obtained from observations and found that for lighter molecules the agreement is generally very good. For complex molecules we tend to under predict the abundances. This indicates that other pathways could be present to form these molecules or more accurate reaction rates were needed.

  14. Visualization of enantiomers using natural abundant (13)C-filtered single and double quantum selective refocusing experiments: Application to small chiral molecules.

    PubMed

    Nath, Nilamoni; Baishya, Bikash; Suryaprakash, N

    2009-09-01

    The routine use of proton NMR for the visualization of enantiomers, aligned in the chiral liquid crystal solvent poly-gamma-benzyl-l-glutamate (PBLG), is restricted due to severe loss of resolution arising from large number of pair wise interaction of nuclear spins. In the present study, we have designed two experimental techniques for their visualization utilizing the natural abundance (13)C edited selective refocusing of single quantum (CH-SERF) and double quantum (CH-DQSERF) coherences. The methods achieve chiral discrimination and aid in the simultaneous determination of homonuclear couplings between active and passive spins and heteronuclear couplings between the excited protons and the participating (13)C spin. The CH-SERF also overcomes the problem of overlap of central transitions of the methyl selective refocusing (SERF) experiment resulting in better chiral discrimination. Theoretical description of the evolution of magnetization in both the sequences has been discussed using polarization operator formalism.

  15. A Search for the 110 larr 111 Transition of Interstellar Thioformaldehyde.

    PubMed

    Evans, N J; Townes, C H; Weaver, H F; Williams, D R

    1970-08-14

    A search has been made for the 1(10) <-- 1(11) transition of thioformaldehyde in interstellar clouds where formaldehyde is known to exist. Failure to detect this transition indicates that the ratio of thioformaldehyde abundance to that of formaldehyde is probably less than the abundance ratio of sulfur to oxygen.

  16. Odin observations of H2O and O2 in comets and interstellar clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hjalmarson, Åke; Odin Team

    2002-11-01

    We here report on results from single-position observations, and in some cases also mapping, of the 557 GHz ortho-H2O line in several comets and in many interstellar molecular clouds by the Odin sub-millimetre wave spectroscopy satellite. The H2O production rates have been accurately determined in four comets, C/2001 A2 (LINEAR), 19P/Borrelly, C/2000 WM1 (LINEAR), and 153P/2002 C1 (Ikeya-Zhang). In comet Ikeya-Zhang our detection at a low level of the corresponding H218O emission line verifies the H2O production rate (which depends upon the assumed radiative and collisional excitation and also upon radiative transfer modelling) and is consistent with a nearly terrestrial 16O/18O-isotope ratio. In an astrobiological context, the cometary H2O production rates are especially important as reference levels for comparison with abundances of other molecules simultaneously observed with ground-based telescopes. In interstellar clouds the observed gas-phase H2O abundances (vs H2) range from 5×10-4 in the Orion KL outflow/shock region (where essentially all oxygen is locked up in H2O) to circa 10-8 in quiescent cloud regions (where H2O) is just one of many trace molecules). From an astrobiological point of view, the molecular abundances in star forming clouds are important in terms of initial conditions for the chemistry in proto-planetary disks ("proto-solar nebulae"), the formation sites of new planetary systems. In simultaneous observations, Odin has also detected the 572 GHz ortho-NH3 line in cold and warm clouds as well as in the Orion outflow and Bar/PDR regions (an area of increased ionisation caused by the intense UV flux from newly born massive stars). In other simultaneous observations, we have performed sensitive searches for O2 at 119 GHz. Although no detection can be reported as yet, the resulting very low abundance limits (<10-7) are very intriguing when they are compared with current "standard" model expectations, which fall in the range 10-5-10-4.

  17. Insight into the molecular composition of laboratory organic residues produced from interstellar/pre-cometary ice analogues using very high resolution mass spectrometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Danger, G.; Fresneau, A.; Abou Mrad, N.; de Marcellus, P.; Orthous-Daunay, F.-R.; Duvernay, F.; Vuitton, V.; Le Sergeant d'Hendecourt, L.; Thissen, R.; Chiavassa, T.

    2016-09-01

    Experimental simulations in the laboratory may provide important information about the chemical evolution occurring in various astrophysical objects such as extraterrestrial ices. Interstellar or (pre)cometary ice analogues made of H2O, CH3OH, and NH3 at 77 K, when subjected to an energetic process (VUV photons, electrons or ions) and then warmed-up to room temperature, lead, in the laboratory, to the formation of an organic residue. In this paper we expand our previous analysis of the residues in order to obtain a better insight into their molecular content. Data analyses show that three different chemical groups are present in the residue in the negative electrospray ionization (ESI) mode: CHN, CHO and CHNOsbnd whereas only two groups are detected in the positive ESI mode: CHN and CHNO. In both cases, the CHNO group is the most abundant. The application of specific data treatment shows that residue mainly contains aliphatic linear molecules or cyclic structures connected to unsaturated chemical functions such as esters, carboxylic acids, amides or aldehydes. In lower abundances, some molecules do present aromatic structures. The comparison of our residue with organic compounds detected in the Murchison meteorite gives an interesting match, which suggests that laboratory simulation of interstellar ice chemistry is relevant to understand astrophysical organic matter evolution.

  18. Editorial: Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX): Direct Sampling of the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McComas, D. J.

    2012-02-01

    absorption (Redfield & Linsky 2008). Bzowski et al. also show evidence for a previously unknown and unanticipated secondary population of helium. Together, the Möbius et al. (2012) and Bzowski et al. (2012) results provide a new interstellar flow direction and a significantly lower velocity of the incoming gas and therefore significantly lower dynamic pressure on the heliosphere, which translates into a heliospheric interaction that is even less dominated by the external dynamic pressure and clearly lies squarely in the middle ground of astrospheres dominated by the external magnetic and dynamic pressures (McComas et al. 2009b). On another topic, Bochsler et al. (2012) report the first direct measurements of interstellar Ne and estimate the interstellar Ne/O abundance ratio, showing a gas-phase Ne/O ratio for the LISM of 0.27 ± 0.10. This value agrees with results obtained from pickup ion observations (Gloeckler & Geiss 2004; Gloeckler & Fisk 2007) and is significantly larger than the solar abundance ratio, indicating that the LISM is different than the Sun's formation region and/or that a substantial portion of the O in the LISM is tied up (and thus "hidden") in grains and/or ices. Finally, Saul et al. (2012) provide the first detailed analysis of the new interstellar H measurements from IBEX. These authors confirm that the arrival direction of interstellar H is offset from that of He. They further show a variation in the strength of the radiation pressure and thus a change in the apparent arrival direction of H penetrating to 1 AU between the first two years of IBEX observations; these results are consistent with solar cycle variations in the radiation pressure, which works opposite to the Sun's gravitational force to effect the penetration of H into the inner heliosphere. Together, these six studies provide the first detailed analyses of the multi-component local interstellar medium—a medium that both effects us by bounding and interacting with our heliosphere, and a

  19. The Interstellar Conspiracy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Les; Matloff, Gregory L.

    2005-01-01

    If we were designing a human-carrying starship that could be launched in the not-too-distant future, it would almost certainly not use a warp drive to instantaneously bounce around the universe, as is done in Isaac Asimov's classic Foundation series or in episodes of Star Trek or Star Wars. Sadly, those starships that seem to be within technological reach could not even travel at high relativistic speeds, as does the interstellar ramjet in Poul Anderson's Tau Zero. Warp-speeds seem to be well outside the realm of currently understood physical law; proton-fusing ramjets may never be technologically feasible. Perhaps fortunately in our terrorist-plagued world, the economics of antimatter may never be attractive for large-scale starship propulsion. But interstellar travel will be possible within a few centuries, although it will certainly not be as fast as we might prefer. If humans learn how to hibernate, perhaps we will sleep our way to the stars, as do the crew in A. E. van Vogt's Far Centaurus. However, as discussed in a landmark paper in The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, the most feasible approach to transporting a small human population to the planets (if any) of Alpha Centauri is the worldship. Such craft have often been featured in science fiction. See for example Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, and Robert A. Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky. Worldships are essentially mobile versions of the O Neill free-space habitats. Constructed mostly from lunar and/or asteroidal materials, these solar-powered, multi-kilometer-dimension structures could house 10,000 to 100,000 humans in Earth-approximating environments. Artificial gravity would be provided by habitat rotation, and cosmic ray shielding would be provided by passive methods, such as habitat atmosphere and mass shielding, or magnetic fields. A late 21st century space-habitat venture might support itself economically by constructing large solar-powered satellites to beam energy back to

  20. Actinides in the Source of Cosmic Rays and the Present Interstellar Medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lingenfelter, R. E.; Higdon, J. C.; Kratz, K. -L.

    2003-01-01

    The abundances of the actinide elements in the cosmic rays can provide critical constraints on the major sites of their acceleration. Using recent calculations of the r-process yields in core collapse supernovae, we have determined the actinide abundances averaged over various assumed time intervals for their supernova generation and their cosmic-ray acceleration. Using standard Galactic chemical evolution models, we have also determined the expected actinide abundances in the present interstellar medium. From these two components, we have calculated the U/Th and other actinide abundances expected in the supernova-active cores of superbubbles, as a function of their ages and mean metallicity resulting from dilution with interstellar cloud debris. Then, using observations of the fractions of Galactic supernovae that occur in superbubbles and in the rest of the interstellar medium, we calculate the expected actinide abundances in cosmic rays accelerated by Galactic supernovae. We find that the current measurements of actinide/Pt-group and preliminary estimates of the UPuCm/Th ratio in cosmic rays are all consistent with the expected values if superbubble cores have mean metallicities of around 3 times solar. Such metallicities are quite comparable to the superbubble core metallicities inferred from other cosmic-ray observations. Future, more precise measurements of these ratios with experiments such as ECCO are needed to provide a better measure of the mean source metallicity sampled by the local Galactic cosmic rays. Measurements of the cosmic- ray actinide abundances have been favorably compared with the protosolar ratio, inferred from present solar system abundances, to infer that the cosmic rays are accelerated from the general interstellar medium. We suggest, however, that such an inference is not valid because the expected actinide abundances in the present interstellar medium are very different from the protosolar values, which sampled the interstellar medium

  1. The interstellar medium on the Gamma Cassiopeiae line of sight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ferlet, R.; York, D. G.; Vidal-Madjar, A.; Laurent, C.

    1980-01-01

    The interstellar medium on the Gamma Cas line of sight is studied through the observations of O I, H2, H I, D I, and Ar I absorption features with the Copernicus satellite. By using the velocity structure of the line of sight previously determined through atomic nitrogen, it is demonstrated that these neutrals are located in the same physical regions and that the O I and Ar I abundances could be solar, on the average, relative to N I in all components. The 1066.660 A Ar I line profile is contaminated by an unidentified line, already detected in the spectrum of Zeta Pup. Furthermore, a peculiar behavior of the Ar I abundance in the different components is reported, possibly associated with high-velocity interstellar gas present on the line of sight. It is concluded that the Gamma Cas line of sight could intercept a dense cloud which has been engulfed and disrupted by a shock.

  2. Use of Laboratory Data to Model Interstellar Chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vidali, Gianfranco; Roser, J. E.; Manico, G.; Pirronello, V.

    2006-01-01

    Our laboratory research program is about the formation of molecules on dust grains analogues in conditions mimicking interstellar medium environments. Using surface science techniques, in the last ten years we have investigated the formation of molecular hydrogen and other molecules on different types of dust grain analogues. We analyzed the results to extract quantitative information on the processes of molecule formation on and ejection from dust grain analogues. The usefulness of these data lies in the fact that these results have been employed by theoreticians in models of the chemical evolution of ISM environments.

  3. Detection of Interstellar Urea with Carma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuo, H.-L.; Snyder, L. E.; Friedel, D. N.; Looney, L. W.; McCall, B. J.; Remijan, A. J.; Lovas, F. J.; Hollis, J. M.

    2010-06-01

    Urea, a molecule discovered in human urine by H. M. Rouelle in 1773, has a significant role in prebiotic chemistry. Previous BIMA observations have suggested that interstellar urea [(NH_2)_2CO] is a compact hot core molecule such as other large molecules, e.g. methyl formate and acetic acid (2009, 64th OSU Symposium On Molecular Spectroscopy, WI05). We have conducted an extensive search for urea toward the high mass hot molecular core Sgr B2(N-LMH) using CARMA and the IRAM 30 m. Because the spectral lines of heavy molecules like urea tend to be weak and hot cores display lines from a wide range of molecules, a major problem in identifying urea lines is confusion with lines of other molecules. Therefore, it is necessary to detect a number of urea lines and apply sophisticated statistical tests before having confidence in an identification. The 1 mm resolution of CARMA enables favorable coupling of the source size and synthesized beam size, which was found to be essential for the detection of weak signals. The 2.5^"×2^" synthesized beam of CARMA significantly resolves out the contamination by extended emission and reveals the eight weak urea lines that were previously blended with nearby transitions. Our analysis indicates that these lines are likely to be urea since the resulting observed line frequencies are coincident with a set of overlapping connecting urea lines, and the observed line intensities are consistent with the expected line strengths of urea. In addition, we have developed a new statistical approach to examine the spatial correlation between the observed lines by applying the Student T-test to the high resolution channel maps obtained from CARMA. The T-test shows similar spatial distributions from all eight candidate lines, suggesting a common molecular origin, urea. Our T-test method could have a broad impact on the next generation of arrays, such as ALMA, because the new arrays will require a method to systematically determine the credibility of

  4. Detection of interstellar ethyl cyanide

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, D. R.; Lovas, F. J.; Gottlieb, C. A.; Gottlieb, E. W.; Litvak, M. M.; Thaddeus, P.; Guelin, M.

    1977-01-01

    Twenty-four millimeter-wave emission lines of ethyl cyanide (CH3CH2CN) have been detected in the Orion Nebula (OMC-1) and seven in Sgr B2. To derive precise radial velocities from the astronomical data, a laboratory measurement of the rotational spectrum of ethyl cyanide has been made at frequencies above 41 GHz. In OMC-1, the rotational temperature of ethyl cyanide is 90 K (in good agreement with other molecules), the local-standard-of-rest radial velocity is 4.5 + or - 1.0 km/s (versus 8.5 km/s for most molecules), and the column density is 1.8 by 10 to the 14th power per sq cm (a surprisingly high figure for a complicated molecule). The high abundance of ethyl cyanide in the Orion Nebula suggests that ethane and perhaps larger saturated hydrocarbons may be common constituents of molecular clouds and have escaped detection only because they are nonpolar or only weakly polar.

  5. Interstellar molecular clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bally, J.

    1986-04-01

    The physical properties of the molecular phase of the interstellar medium are studied with regard to star formation and the structure of the Galaxy. Most observations of molecular clouds are made with single-dish, high-surface precision radio telescopes, with the best resolution attainable at 0.2 to 1 arcmin; the smallest structures that can be resolved are of order 10 to the 17th cm in diameter. It is now believed that: (1) most of the mass of the Galaxy is in the form of giant molecular clouds; (2) the largest clouds and those responsible for most massive star formation are concentrated in spiral arms; (3) the molecular clouds are the sites of perpetual star formation, and are significant in the chemical evolution of the Galaxy; (4) giant molecular clouds determine the evolution of the kinematic properties of galactic disk stars; (5) the total gas content is diminishing with time; and (6) most clouds have supersonic internal motions and do not form stars on a free-fall time scale. It is concluded that though progress has been made, more advanced instruments are needed to inspect the processes operating within stellar nurseries and to study the distribution of the molecular clouds in more distant galaxies. Instruments presently under construction which are designed to meet these ends are presented.

  6. Stardust interstellar preliminary examination (ISPE).

    SciTech Connect

    Westphal, A.J.; Allen, C.; Bajt, S.; Basset, R.; Flynn, G.L.; Sutton, S.

    2009-03-23

    The Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination (ISPE) is a three-year effort to characterize the Stardust interstellar dust collection and collector using non-destructive techniques. We summarize the status of the ISPE. In January 2006 the Stardust sample return capsule returned to Earth bearing the first solid samples from a primitive solar system body, Comet 81P/Wild2, and a collector dedicated to the capture and return of contemporary interstellar dust. Both collectors were {approx}0.1 m{sup 2} in area and were composed of aerogel tiles (85% of the collecting area) and aluminum foils. The Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector (SIDC) was exposed to the interstellar dust stream for a total exposure factor of 20 m{sup 2}-day during two periods before the cometary encounter. The Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination (ISPE) is a three-year effort to characterize the collection using nondestructive techniques. The goals and restrictions of the ISPE are described in Westphal et al. The ISPE consists of six interdependent projects: (1) Candidate identification through automated digital microscopy and a massively distributed, calibrated search; (2) Candidate extraction and photodocumentation; (3) Characterization of candidates through synchrotron-based Fourier-Tranform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Scanning X-Ray Fluoresence Microscopy (SXRF), and Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy (STXM); (4) Search for and analysis of craters in foils through FESEM scanning, Auger Spectroscopy and synchrotron-based Photoemission Electron Microscopy (PEEM); (5) Modeling of interstellar dust transport in the solar system; and (6) Laboratory simulations of hypervelocity dust impacts into the collecting media.

  7. Detection of H3+ in the diffuse interstellar medium toward Cygnus OB2 No. 12.

    PubMed

    McCall, B J; Geballe, T R; Hinkle, K H; Oka, T

    1998-03-20

    The molecular ion H3+ is considered the cornerstone of interstellar chemistry because it initiates the reactions responsible for the production of many larger molecules. Recently discovered in dense molecular clouds, H3+ has now been observed in the diffuse interstellar medium toward Cygnus OB2 No. 12. Analysis of H3+ chemistry suggests that the high H3+ column density (3.8 x 10(14) per square centimeter) is due not to a high H3+ concentration but to a long absorption path. This and other work demonstrate the ubiquity of H3+ and its potential as a probe of the physical and chemical conditions in the interstellar medium.

  8. Time Dependent Chemical Study of Contracting Interstellar Clouds. III. The Charge Distribution in Interstellar Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amin, M. Y.; El Nawawy, M. S.; Ateya, B. G.; Aiad, A.

    1995-01-01

    We have constructed a chemical reaction model in a contracting interstellar cloud including 104 species which are involved in a network of 557 reactions. The chemical kinetic equations were integrated as a function of time by using gear package. The evolution of the system was followed in the density range 10 107 particles cm-3. The calculated fractional abundances of the charged species are in good agreement with those given by other investigators. The charge density has been followed in diffuse, intermediate and dense regions. The most dominant ionic species are metallic ions, HCO+ and H{3/+} in the shielded regions and atomic ions H+, C+, Si+, He+, S+ and metal ions in the diffuse and intermediate regions. The abundances of negatively charged ions were found to be negligible. The results of the calculations on the different metallic ions are interpreted.

  9. Evidence Suggesting That Francisella tularensis O-Antigen Capsule Contains a Lipid A-Like Molecule That Is Structurally Distinct from the More Abundant Free Lipid A

    PubMed Central

    Barker, Jason H.; Kaufman, Justin W.; Apicella, Michael A.; Weiss, Jerrold P.

    2016-01-01

    Francisella tularensis, the Gram-negative bacterium that causes tularemia, produces a high molecular weight capsule that is immunologically distinct from Francisella lipopolysaccharide but contains the same O-antigen tetrasaccharide. To pursue the possibility that the capsule of Francisella live vaccine strain (LVS) has a structurally unique lipid anchor, we have metabolically labeled Francisella with [14C]acetate to facilitate highly sensitive compositional analysis of capsule-associated lipids. Capsule was purified by two independent methods and yielded similar results. Autoradiographic and immunologic analysis confirmed that this purified material was largely devoid of low molecular weight LPS and of the copious amounts of free lipid A that the Francisellae accumulate. Chemical hydrolysis yielded [14C]-labeled free fatty acids characteristic of Francisella lipid A but with a different molar ratio of 3-OH C18:0 to 3-OH C16:0 and different composition of non-hydroxylated fatty acids (mainly C14:0 rather than C16:0) than that of free Francisella lipid A. Mild acid hydrolysis to induce selective cleavage of KDO-lipid A linkage yielded a [14C]-labeled product that partitioned during Bligh/Dyer extraction and migrated during thin-layer chromatography like lipid A. These findings suggest that the O-antigen capsule of Francisella contains a covalently linked and structurally distinct lipid A species. The presence of a discrete lipid A-like molecule associated with capsule raises the possibility that Francisella selectively exploits lipid A structural heterogeneity to regulate synthesis, transport, and stable bacterial surface association of the O-antigen capsular layer. PMID:27326857

  10. The mass spectrum of interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dickey, John M.; Garwood, Robert W.

    1989-01-01

    The abundances of diffuse clouds and molecular clouds in the inner Galaxy and at the solar circle are compared. Using results of recent low-latitude 21 cm absorption studies, the number of diffuse clouds per kiloparsec along the line of sight is derived as a function of the cloud column density, under two assumptions relating cloud densities and temperatures. The density of clouds is derived as a function of cloud mass. The results are consistent with a single, continuous mass spectrum for interstellar clouds from less than 1 solar mass to 1,000,000 solar masses, with perhaps a change of slope at masses where the atomic and molecular mass fractions are roughly equal.

  11. Interstellar Electron Density Spectra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lambert, Hendrick Clark

    This study concerns the investigation of the form of the wavenumber spectrum of the Galactic electron density fluctuations through an examination of the scattering of the radio pulses emitted by pulsars as they propagate through the diffuse ionized interstellar gas. A widely used model for the electron density spectrum is based on the simple power-law: Pne(q)∝ q-β, where β = 11/3 is usually assumed, corresponding to Kolmogorov's turbulence spectrum. The simple Kolmogorov model provides satisfactory agreement for observations along many lines of sight; however, major inconsistencies remain. The inconsistencies suggest that an increase in the ratio of the power between the high (10-8[ m]-1≤ q<=10-7[ m]-1) and low (10-13[ m]-1≤ q<=10-12[ m]-1) wavenumbers is needed. This enhancement in the ratio can in turn be achieved by either including an inner scale, corresponding to a dissipation scale for the turbulent cascade, in the Kolmogorov spectrum or by considering steeper spectra. Spectra with spectral exponents β > 4 have been in general rejected based on observations of pulsar refractive scintillations. The special case of β = 4 has been given little attention and is analyzed in detail. Physically, this 'β = 4' model corresponds to the random distribution, both in location and orientation, of discrete objects with relatively sharp boundaries across the line of sight. An outer scale is included in the model to account for the average size of such objects. We compare the predictions of the inner-scale and β = 4 models both with published observations and observations we made as part of this investigation. We conclude that the form of the wavenumber spectrum is dependent on the line of sight. We propose a composite spectrum featuring a uniform background turbulence in presence of randomly distributed discrete objects, as modeled by the β = model.

  12. Interstellar Sweat Equity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, M. H.; Becker, R. E.; O'Donnell, D. J.; Brody, A. R.

    So, you have just launched aboard the Starship, headed to an exoplanet light years from Earth. You will spend the rest of your natural life on this journey in the expectation and hope that your grandchildren will arrive safely, land, and build a new settlement. You will need to govern the community onboard the Starship. This system of governance must meet unique requirements for participation, representation, and decision-making. On a spaceship that can fly and operate by itself, what will the crewmembers do for their generations in transit? Certainly, they will train and train again to practice the skills they will need upon arrival at a new world. However, this vicarious practice neither suffices to prepare the future pioneers for their destiny at a new star nor will it provide them with the satisfaction in their own work. To hone the crewmembers' inventive and technical skills, to challenge and prepare them for pioneering, the crew would build and expand the interstellar ship in transit. This transstellar ``sweat equity'' gives a stake in the enterprise to all the people, providing meaningful and useful activity to the new generations of crewmembers. They build all the new segments of the vessel from raw materials - including atmosphere - stored on board. Construction of new pressure shell modules would be one option, but they also reconstruct or fill-in existing pressurized volumes. The crew makes new life support system components and develops new agricultural modules in anticipation of their future needs. Upon arrival at the new star or planet, the crew shall apply these robustly developed skills and self-sufficient spirit to their new home.

  13. Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination V: XRF Analyses of Interstellar Dust Candidates at ESRF ID13

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brenker, Frank E.; Westphal, Andrew J.; Simionovici, Alexandre S.; Flynn, George J.; Gainsforth, Zack; Allen, Carlton C.; Sanford, Scott; Zolensky, Michael E.; Bastien, Ron K.; Frank, David R.

    2014-01-01

    Here, we report analyses by synchrotron X-ray fluorescence microscopy of the elemental composition of eight candidate impact features extracted from the Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector (SIDC). Six of the features were unambiguous tracks, and two were crater-like features. Five of the tracks are so-called midnight tracks that is, they had trajectories consistent with an origin either in the interstellar dust stream or as secondaries from impacts on the Sample Return Capsule (SRC). In a companion paper reporting synchrotron X-ray diffraction analyses of ISPE candidates, we show that two of these particles contain natural crystalline materials: the terminal particle of track 30contains olivine and spinel, and the terminal particle of track 34 contains olivine. Here, we show that the terminal particle of track 30, Orion, shows elemental abundances, normalized to Fe, that are close to CI values, and a complex, fine-grained structure. The terminal particle of track 34, Hylabrook, shows abundances that deviate strongly from CI, but shows little fine structure and is nearly homogenous. The terminal particles of other midnight tracks, 29 and 37, had heavy element abundances below detection threshold. A third, track28, showed a composition inconsistent with an extraterrestrial origin, but also inconsistent with known spacecraft materials. A sixth track, with a trajectory consistent with secondary ejecta from an impact on one of the spacecraft solar panels, contains abundant Ce and Zn. This is consistent with the known composition of the glass covering the solar panel. Neither crater-like feature is likely to be associated with extraterrestrial materials. We also analyzed blank aerogel samples to characterize background and variability between aerogel tiles. We found significant differences in contamination levels and compositions, emphasizing the need for local background subtraction for accurate quantification.

  14. Isotopic Fractionation in Comets: Quantifying the Contribution of Interstellar Chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Charnley, Steven

    2010-01-01

    Anomalously fractionated isotopic material is found in many primitive Solar System objects, such as meteorites and comets. It is thought, in some cases, to trace interstellar matter that was incorporated into the Solar Nebula without undergoing significant processing. We will present the results of models of the nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon fractionation chemistry in dense molecular clouds, particularly in cares where substantial freeze-taut of molecules on to dust has occurred. The range of fractionation ratios expected in different interstellar molecules will be discussed and compared to the ratios measured in molecular clouds, comets and meteoritic material. These models make several predictions that can be tested in the near future by molecular line observations, particularly with the GBT.

  15. Interstellar Matters. Essays on Curiosity and Astronomical Discovery.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Verschuur, Gerrit L.

    In this provocative new book, radio astronomer and author Gerrit L. Verschuur describes the phenomena of scientific curiosity and discovery by following the exciting story of interstellar matter. The discovery of "stuff between the stars" was the result of decades of work by hundreds of astronomers, and the evolving recognition of its existence has profoundly changed the way we view the Universe. Verschuur begins with E.E. Barnard, who puzzled for a quarter century over the interpretation of photographs of dark patches between the stars. Verschuur then traces the tortuous path to acceptance of the existence of interstellar matter. He shares with us the thrill of discovery that motivates astronomers, the use of metaphors and modeling by scientist, and other tricks of the astronomical trade. Finally, we learn about the modern study of interstellar matter: the discovery of complex organic molecules between the stars and how they may have seeded the early earth with the precursors for life, new insights into star formation, the structure of the Milky Way and the elusive interstellar magnetic field. More than a history, Interstellar Matters is a detective story that evokes the excitement and serendipity of science against the background of a century of shared effort by the world community of astronomers. From the reviews: "I can't imagine anyone interested in astronomy who won't enjoy this book - it's chocked full of science, personalities and insights. We are products of the stuff between the stars - Verschuur tells the fascinating story of how its existence was discovered. Interstellar Matters is his best book, I think. It's certainly one of the best astronomy popularizations I've read." Leif J. Robinson, Sky and Teleskope#1

  16. Interstellar chemical differentiation across grain sizes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ge, J. X.; He, J. H.; Li, Aigen

    2016-07-01

    In this work, we investigate the effects of ion accretion and size-dependent dust temperatures on the abundances of both gas-phase and grain-surface species. While past work has assumed a constant areal density for icy species, we show that this assumption is invalid and the chemical differentiation over grain sizes is significant. We use a gas-grain chemical code to demonstrate this numerically for two typical interstellar conditions: a dark cloud (DC) and a cold neutral medium (CNM). It is shown that, although the grain-size distribution variation (but with the total grain surface area unchanged) has little effect on the gas-phase abundances, it can alter the abundances of some surface species by up to ∼2-4 orders of magnitude. The areal densities of ice species are larger on smaller grains in the DC model as a consequence of ion accretion. However, the surface areal density evolution tracks are more complex in the CNM model due to the combined effects of ion accretion and dust temperature variation. The surface areal density differences between the smallest ( ∼ 0.01 μm) and the biggest ( ∼ 0.2 μm) grains can reach ∼1 and ∼5 orders of magnitude in the DC and CNM models, respectively.

  17. Complex molecule formation around massive young stellar objects.

    PubMed

    Oberg, Karin I; Fayolle, Edith C; Reiter, John B; Cyganowski, Claudia

    2014-01-01

    Interstellar complex organic molecules were first identified in the hot inner regions of massive young stellar objects (MYSOs), but have more recently been found in many colder sources, indicating that complex molecules can form at a range of temperatures. However, individually these observations provide limited constraints on how complex molecules form, and whether the same formation pathways dominate in cold, warm and hot environments. To address these questions, we use spatially resolved observations from the Submillimeter Array of three MYSOs together with mostly unresolved literature data to explore how molecular ratios depend on environmental parameters, especially temperature. Towards the three MYSOs, we find multiple complex organic emission peaks characterized by different molecular compositions and temperatures. In particular, CH3CCH and CH3CN seem to always trace a lukewarm (T = 60 K) and a hot (T > 100 K) complex chemistry, respectively. These spatial trends are consistent with abundance-temperature correlations of four representative complex organics--CH3CCH, CH3CN, CH3OCH3 and CH3CHO--in a large sample of complex molecule hosts mined from the literature. Together, these results indicate a general chemical evolution with temperature, i.e. that new complex molecule formation pathways are activated as a MYSO heats up. This is qualitatively consistent with model predictions. Furthermore, these results suggest that ratios of complex molecules may be developed into a powerful probe of the evolutionary stage of a MYSO, and may provide information about its formation history. PMID:25302375

  18. Complex molecule formation around massive young stellar objects.

    PubMed

    Oberg, Karin I; Fayolle, Edith C; Reiter, John B; Cyganowski, Claudia

    2014-01-01

    Interstellar complex organic molecules were first identified in the hot inner regions of massive young stellar objects (MYSOs), but have more recently been found in many colder sources, indicating that complex molecules can form at a range of temperatures. However, individually these observations provide limited constraints on how complex molecules form, and whether the same formation pathways dominate in cold, warm and hot environments. To address these questions, we use spatially resolved observations from the Submillimeter Array of three MYSOs together with mostly unresolved literature data to explore how molecular ratios depend on environmental parameters, especially temperature. Towards the three MYSOs, we find multiple complex organic emission peaks characterized by different molecular compositions and temperatures. In particular, CH3CCH and CH3CN seem to always trace a lukewarm (T = 60 K) and a hot (T > 100 K) complex chemistry, respectively. These spatial trends are consistent with abundance-temperature correlations of four representative complex organics--CH3CCH, CH3CN, CH3OCH3 and CH3CHO--in a large sample of complex molecule hosts mined from the literature. Together, these results indicate a general chemical evolution with temperature, i.e. that new complex molecule formation pathways are activated as a MYSO heats up. This is qualitatively consistent with model predictions. Furthermore, these results suggest that ratios of complex molecules may be developed into a powerful probe of the evolutionary stage of a MYSO, and may provide information about its formation history.

  19. Absorption Reveals and Hydrogen Addition Explains New Interstellar Aldehydes: Propenal and Propanal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollis, J. M.; Jewell, P. R.; Lovas, F. J.; Remijan, A.; Mollendal, H.

    2004-01-01

    New interstellar molecules propenal (CH2CHCHO) and propanal (CH3CH2CHO) have been detected largely in absorption toward the star-forming region Sagittarius B2(N) by means of rotational transitions observed with the 100-m Green Bank Telescope (GBT) operating in the range of 18 GHz (lambda approximately 1.7 cm) to 26 GHz (lambda approximately 1.2 cm). The GBT was also used to observe the previously reported interstellar aldehyde propynal (HC2CHO) in Sagittarius B2(N) which is known for large molecules believed to form on interstellar grains. The presence of these three interstellar aldehydes toward Sagittarius B2(N) strongly suggests that simple hydrogen addition on interstellar grains accounts for successively larger molecular species: from propynal to propenal and from propenal to propanal. Energy sources within Sagittarius B2(N) likely permit the hydrogen addition reactions on grain surfaces to proceed. This work demonstrates that successive hydrogen addition is probably an important chemistry route in the formation of a number of complex interstellar molecules. We also searched for but did not detect the three-carbon sugar glyceraldehyde (CH2OHCHOHCHO).

  20. Millimeter-wave Absorption Studies of Molecules in Diffuse Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lucas, Robert; Liszt, Harvey S.

    1999-10-01

    With IRAM instruments in the last few years, we have been using compact extragalactic millimeter wave radio sources as background objects to study the absorption spectrum of diffuse interstellar gas at millimeter wavelengths. The molecular content of interstellar gas has turned out to be unexpectedly rich. Simple polyatomic molecules such as HCO+, C2H are quite ubiquitous near the Galactic plane (beta < 15o), and many species are detected in some directions (CO, HCO+, H2CO, HCN, HNC, CN, C2H, C3H2, H2S, CS, HCS+, SO, SiO). Remarkable proportionality relations are found between related species such as HCO+ and OH, or CN, HCN and HNC. The high abundance of some species is still a challenge for current models of diffuse cloud chemistry. A factor of 10 increase in the sensitivity will make such studies achievable in denser clouds, where the chemistry is still more active and where abundances are nowadays only available by emission measurements, and thus subject to uncertainties due to sometimes poorly understood line formation and excitation conditions.