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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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Prebiologically Important Interstellar Molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuan, Y.-J.; Huang, H.-C.; Charnley, S. B.; Tseng, W.-L.; Snyder, L. E.; Ehrenfreund, P.; Kisiel, Z.; Thorwirth, S.; Bohn, R. K.; Wilson, T. L.

    2004-06-01

    Understanding the organic chemistry of molecular clouds, particularly the formation of biologically important molecules, is fundamental to the study of the processes which lead to the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Galaxy. Determining the level of molecular complexity attainable in the clouds, and the nature of the complex organic material available to protostellar disks and the planetary systems that form from them, requires an understanding of the possible chemical pathways and is therefore a central question in astrochemistry. We have thus searched for prebiologically important molecules in the hot molecular cloud cores: Sgr B2(N-LMH), W51 e1/e2 and Orion-KL. Among the molecules searched: Pyrimidine is the unsubstituted ring analogue for three of the DNA and RNA bases. 2H-Azirine and Aziridine are azaheterocyclic compounds. And Glycine is the simplest amino acid. Detections of these interstellar organic molecular species will thus have important implications for Astrobiology. Our preliminary results indicate a tentative detection of interstellar glycine. If confirmed, this will be the first detection of an amino acid in interstellar space and will greatly strengthen the thesis that interstellar organic molecules could have played a pivotal role in the prebiotic chemistry of the early Earth.

  6. Molecules in interstellar clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. PMID:11542208

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Interstellar grain chemistry and organic molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1990-04-01

    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.

  16. The interstellar C3 chain molecule in different interstellar environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2002-12-01

    We present an analysis of spectra of six stars taken with high resolution (R=220 000). The stars are reddened by molecular clouds that differ by the relative strength of the 5797 and 5780 diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). The high signal-to-noise ratio of the spectra (S/N ~ 700-1000) shows that the abundance of the linear molecule C3 with respect to EB-V varies considerably from one star to an other. There is no correlation with EB-V. The strong variations in the abundance of C3 must therefore be caused by another circumstance. We point out that this may be the case: from an analysis of the interstellar potassium lines in the same spectra we conclude large differences in the state of ionization produced by interstellar photons with energies below the ionization potential of hydrogen. The ratio of the abundances of C3 and C2 varies considerably in different directions, even when the ratio between the strengths of various DIBs remains approximately constant. Based on data collected at the ESO 3.6 m telescope operated on La Silla Observatory, Chile.

  17. 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.

  18. Heating of interstellar gas by large molecules or small grains

    SciTech Connect

    Lepp, S.; Dalgarno, A.

    1988-12-01

    The heating of the interstellar medium by photoelectric emission from large molecules or small grains is explored. Photodetachment of large negative ions may be a significant heat source in diffuse clouds. For an abundance of large molecules relative to hydrogen greater than 2 x 10 to the -7th, the heating rate from the photoelectrons produced in the photoionization of large molecules and the photodetachment of large molecular negative ions exceeds the standard grain-heating rate. Theoretical models have been used to infer the abundances of large molecules from the C(+)/C abundance ratios in the interstellar clouds toward Zeta Oph and Zeta Per. 33 references.

  19. The carbon monoxide abundance in interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, W.

    1976-01-01

    The steady-state abundance of carbon monoxide in interstellar clouds is calculated as a function of optical depth, density, and temperature. The molecular reactions which lead to CO can be initiated by the following ion-molecule reactions: H(+) + O yields O(+) + H, C(+) + H2 yields CH2(+) + a photon, and H3(+) + C and O. As the ultraviolet radiation field is attenuated, C(+) is transformed primarily into CO and C I. There are characteristic column densities for the transition to CO corresponding to the optical depths for attenuating this field at different wavelengths. For thick, low-temperature clouds the attenuation of the fields which ionize carbon, sulfur, and heavy metals is important for CO production initiated by H3(+). Complete conversion to CO does not necessarily occur, and considerable neutral carbon may be expected even in optically thick clouds. Comparison of integrated column densities of CO with extinction are in reasonable agreement with observations.

  20. 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.

  1. Abundances and rotational temperatures of the C2 interstellar molecule towards six reddened early-type stars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaźmierczak, M.; Schmidt, M. R.; Bondar, A.; Krełowski, J.

    2010-03-01

    Using high-resolution (~85000) and high signal-to-noise ratio (~200) optical spectra acquired with the European Southern Observatory Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph, we have determined the interstellar column densities of C2 for six Galactic lines of sight with E(B- V) ranging from 0.33 to 1.03. For our purposes, we identified and measured absorption lines belonging to the (1, 0), (2, 0) and (3, 0) Phillips bands A1Πu-X1Σ+g. We report on the identification of a few lines of the C2 (4, 0) Phillips system towards HD 147889. The curve-of-growth method is applied to the equivalent widths to determine the column densities of the individual rotational levels of C2. The excitation temperature is extracted from the rotational diagrams. The physical parameters of the intervening molecular clouds (e.g. gas kinetic temperatures and densities of collision partners) were estimated by comparison with the theoretical model of excitation of C2. E-mail: kazmierczak@astri.uni.torun.pl (MK); schmidt@ncac.torun.pl (MRS); arctur@inet.ua (AB); jacek@astri.uni.torun.pl (JK) Based on observations made with the European Southern Observatory telescope at the Paranal Observatory under programme IDs 266.D-5655(A), 67.C-0281(A), 71.C-0513(C) and 67.D-0439(A).

  2. New observations of interstellar organic molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, W. M.; Friberg, P.; Matthews, H. E.; Minh, Y. C.; Ziurys, L. M.

    1990-01-01

    Discussed here are new observations of 3-carbon-containing interstellar molecules which play an important role in the chemistry of dense molecular clouds: protonated carbon dioxide, formic acid, and propynal. In 1984 a new oxide of carbon, C3O, was discovered in the interstellar medium (Matthews et al. 1984; Brown et al. 1985). Theoretical models suggest that C3O is produced by dissociative electron recombination with the ion H3C3O+. Although no laboratory data for the branching ratios of such a recombination exist, it seemed to us likely that additional products would include H2C3O. This molecule has more than one isomeric form, but one stable species is propynal (HC2CHO), which had been suggested as a possible interstellar molecule by Winnewisser (1973). In observations at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory 43 m telescope in Green Bank earlier this year, researchers detected a line in the cold cloud TMC-1 which they assign to the 2(0,2)-1(0,1) transition of propynal. The observed line agrees with the laboratory frequency to well within the experimental uncertainty a few parts in 10 to the 7th power. Researchers sought and failed to detect the corresponding 2(1,1)-1(1,0) line, which is understandable given the presence of both a and b components of the electric dipole moment in propynal. The b type transitions will drain population from energy levels with K(sub p) does not equal 0 into the K(sub p) equal 0 stack. If the researchers' assignment is correct, this is the first interstellar detection of propynal. Assuming typical rotational temperatures for TMC-1 and that the line is optically thin, the column density determined is about 5 times 10 to the 12th power cm to the -2nd power, or about three times that for C3O. Formic acid (HCOOH) was the first organic acid to be observed in the interstellar medium, in the Galactic center source Sgr B2. The only other interstellar detection has been recently made in the giant molecular cloud in Orion. As part of the

  3. The determination of electron abundances in interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wootten, A.; Snell, R.; Glassgold, A. E.

    1979-01-01

    An independent method is proposed for the determination of electron abundances in dense clouds based upon the abundance ratio of HCO(+) and CO. The method is derived from a simple application of gas phase ion molecule interstellar chemistry. It is noted that unlike the fractionation of deuterated molecules, it applies to warm as well as to cool clouds. The method is illustrated with the results of the recent abundance survey of Wooten et al. (1978). Finally, it is shown that in cases where deuterium enhancement is measured, an upper limit can be obtained for the cosmic ray ionization rate.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Interstellar cloud evolution and the abundance of formaldehyde

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, W. D.

    1976-01-01

    The time scale for essentially complete conversion of C(+) to CO in interstellar clouds can be comparable to, or greater than, dynamical time scales for evolution, therefore suggesting steady state time independent abundances to be inappropriate. The solutions for the time-dependent carbon chemistry in dense clouds, with density not less than 500/cu cm, indicate that significant amounts of neutral carbon will be present throughout a cloud's lifetime. These nonequilibrium values of C I can explain the relatively large abundances observed for formaldehyde, isotopes of carbon monoxide, and other trace molecules

  7. 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.

  8. Comets, interstellar molecules and the origin of life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Irvine, W. M.; Hjalmarson, A.

    1981-05-01

    Comets and the relative abundance of molecules in the gas phase in interstellar clouds are investigated. The justification for a joint treatment lies in the possibility that comets may consist of a frozen matrix of interstellar volatiles and grains formed during the early stages of the collapse of the molecular cloud which ultimately produced the Sun and planets. These topics may in turn be related to the origin of life. The observed properties of comets and current models of their nature and composition are reviewed. The determination of relative molecular abundance in interstellar clouds and the evidence favoring a primarily gas phase chemistry in such regions, concluding with a tabulation of molecular abundances in the cold cloud known as TMC-1 which has been called a protosolar nebula is discussed.

  9. Carbon chain abundance in the diffuse interstellar medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1999-01-01

    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).

  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. 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.

  12. Newly detected molecules in dense interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    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 phosphorus-containing molecule, PN, in the Orion 'plateau' source. Further interesting results include the observations of (C-13))3H2 and C3HD, and the first detection of HCOOH (formic acid) in a (C-13)3H2 cold cloud.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  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.

    PubMed

    Ohishi, M; McGonagle, D; Irvine, W M; Yamamoto, S; Saito, S

    1994-05-20

    We have detected a new interstellar molecule, H2CN (methylene amidogen), in the cold, dark molecular cloud TMC-l. The column density of H2CN is estimated to be approximately 1.5 x 10(11) cm-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(-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 H2CN molecule may suggest the existence of a new series of carbon-chain molecules, CH2CnN (n = 0, 1, 2,...). PMID:11539493

  18. 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, ...).

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. PMID:11539249

  4. Large molecules in diffuse interstellar clouds

    SciTech Connect

    Lepp, S.; Dalgarno, A.; Van Dishoeck, E.F.; Black, J.H.

    1988-06-01

    The effects of the presence of a substantial component of large molecules on the chemistry of diffuse molecular clouds are explored, and detailed models of the zeta Persei and zeta Ophiuchi clouds are constructed. The major consequence is a reduction in the abundances of singly charged atomic species. The long-standing discrepancy between cloud densities inferred from rotational and fine-structure level populations and from the ionization balance can be resolved by postulating a fractional abundance of large molecules of 1 x 10 to the -7th for zeta Persei and 6 x 10 to the -7th for zeta Ophiuchi. If the large molecules are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) containing about 50 carbon atoms, they contain 1 percent of the carbon in zeta Persei and 7 percent in zeta Ophiuchi. Other consequences of the possible presence of PAH molecules are discussed. 23 references.

  5. Photoabsorption and phototdissociation of molecules important in the interstellar medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Long C.; Sutom, Masako

    1988-01-01

    The photoabsorption and photodissociation cross sections of interstellar molecules and radicals were measured in the 90 to 200 nm region using synchrotron radiation, F sub 2 laser, excimer lasers, and discharge lamps as light sources. These data are currently needed for determining the formation and destruction rates of molecules and radicals by the interstellar radiation field.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Abundance of atomic carbon /C I/ in dense interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Phillips, T. G.; Huggins, P. J.

    1981-01-01

    The abundance of interstellar neutral atomic carbon is investigated by means of its ground state fine-structure line emission at 492 GHz using the 91.5 cm telescope of NASAs Kuiper Airborne Observatory. Atomic carbon is found to be very abundant in dense interstellar molecular clouds with column densities of about 10 to the 19th per sq cm. Because the observations have considerably greater column densities than current theories of carbon chemistry, it is suggested that the physical conditions of these clouds are not as simple as assumed in the models. Various situations are discussed which would lead to large C I abundances, including the possibility that the chemical lifetimes of the clouds are relatively short.

  12. 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.

  13. Abundances and excitation of interstellar methyl formate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Churchwell, E.; Nash, A.; Rahe, J.; Walmsley, C. M.; Lochner, O.; Winnewisser, G.

    1980-01-01

    The detection of methyl formate (HCOOCH3) in four transitions toward Orion KL, in two transitions toward Sagitarrius B2, and in one transition toward W51 is reported. The column densities of HCOOCH3 are found to be surprisingly large (2-5 x 10 to the 14th per sq cm) in all three clouds. Stimulated emission in the 18 cm K doublet of HCOOCH3 toward Sagittarius B2 is clearly demonstrated. The relatively large column densities of HCOOCH3 in clouds outside the galactic-center region probably imply that this molecule is widely distributed in the galaxy, but the negative results in other clouds require lower column densities than in Orion by a factor of 0.5 or less. Two unidentified lines were detected in Orion, at approx. 91 and 99 GHz.

  14. 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.

  15. The doublet-ratio method and interstellar abundances.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nachman, P.; Hobbs, L. M.

    1973-01-01

    The method of doublet ratios, used in obtaining interstellar Na I and Ca II abundances, is generalized to include realistic multiple-cloud cases. Entirely apart from any errors of observation, the simplified velocity distribution used in the method leads to errors in the inferred column densities which are systematic and which can be as large as a factor of ten or more in some practical cases. The D lines of Na I toward zeta Oph illustrate such order-of-magnitude underestimates.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, L. C.

    1986-01-01

    In the period from May 15, 1985 to May 14, 1986, the photoabsorption and photodissociation cross sections of the interstellar radical of SO and the interstellar molecules of HCl, H2CO, and CH3CN were measured and the results were reported in scientific papers. In the meantime, a windowless apparatus is used to measure the photoabsorption and photodissociation cross sections of CO in the 90-105 nm region. The optical data obtained in this research program are needed for the determination of the formation and destruction rates of molecules and radicals in the interstellar medium. Accomplishments in this research period are summarized below.

  17. 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.

  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. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Radio searches for additional interstellar molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollis, J. M.; Suenram, R. D.; Lovas, F. J.; Snyder, L. E.

    1983-01-01

    Observations in the 2-mm wavelength range are reported which yield new interstellar molecular transitions of NH2CHO, SO2, H2CCO, U150820.5, and U150850.0 toward Sgr B2, and SO2, CH2CHCN, HCOOCH3, and U153513.0 toward Orion A. The first interstellar searches for HOCl, CH3CH2CCH, and CH3SiH3 were conducted, but these species were not detected. During these observations limits were also obtained on 2-mm wave transitions of N2O and NaOH toward several galactic sources of molecular emission.

  2. Collisional excitation of molecules in dense interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Green, S.

    1985-01-01

    State transitions which permit the identification of the molecular species in dense interstellar clouds are reviewed, along with the techniques used to calculate the transition energies, the database on known molecular transitions and the accuracy of the values. The transition energies cannot be measured directly and therefore must be modeled analytically. Scattering theory is used to determine the intermolecular forces on the basis of quantum mechanics. The nuclear motions can also be modeled with classical mechanics. Sample rate constants are provided for molecular systems known to inhabit dense interstellar clouds. The values serve as a database for interpreting microwave and RF astrophysical data on the transitions undergone by interstellar molecules.

  3. The solar system/interstellar medium connection - Gas phase abundances

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lutz, Barry L.

    1987-01-01

    Gas-phase abundances in the outer solar system are presented as diagnostics of the interstellar medium at the time of the solar system formation, some 4.55 billion years ago. Possible influences of the thermal and chemical histories of the primitive solar nebula and of the processes which led to the formation and evolution of the outer planets and comets on the elemental and molecular composition of the primordial matter are outlined. The major components of the atmospheres of the outer planets and of the comae of comets are identified, and the cosmogonical and cosmological implications are discussed.

  4. Carbon Dioxide Influence on the Thermal Formation of Complex Organic Molecules in Interstellar Ice Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-08-01

    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 (H2O, NH3, CO2, H2CO). 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Interstellar Organic Molecules: from Clouds to Solar Nebula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuan, Yi-Jehng; Huang, Hui-Chun; Charnley, Steven B.; Markwick, Andrew; Botta, Oliver; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Kisiel, Zbigniew; Butner, Harold M.

    Although laboratory experiments involving energetic processing of simple molecules were able to reproduce many of the biomolecules that are the building blocks of living organisms impacts of comets and asteroids could have delivered large amounts of organic matter to the early Earth. Volatile cometary matter appears to retain a significant interstellar signature; observations of recent bright comets indicate that they have a molecular inventory consistent with their ices being largely unmodified interstellar material. Many simple organic molecules with biochemical significance observed in circumstellar envelopes and in molecular clouds similar to that from which the Solar System formed may have acted as the precursors of the more complex organics found in meteorites. Therefore there is potentially a strong link between interstellar organics and prebiotic chemical evolution. Radioastronomical observations particularly at millimeter wavelengths allow us to determine the chemical composition and characteristics of the molecular inventory in interstellar space. We have thus conducted an extensive astronomical search for complex organic molecules Quinoline Isoquinoline Pyridine and Pyrimidine. Some of our recent results for interstellar organics will be presented.

  10. An ICR study of ion-molecule reactions of PH(n)+ ions. [of importance to interstellar chemistry, using ion cyclotron resonance techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1983-01-01

    The reactions of PH(n)+ ions (n = 0-3) were examined with a number of neutrals using ion-cyclotron-resonance techniques. The reactions examined have significance for the distribution of phosphorus in interstellar molecules. The results indicate that interstellar molecules containing the P-O bond are likely to be more abundant than those containing the P-H bond.

  11. 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)

  12. 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.

  13. Molecular spectral line surveys and the organic molecules in the interstellar molecular clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohishi, Masatoshi

    2008-10-01

    It is known that more than 140 interstellar and circumstellar molecules have so far been detected, mainly by means of the radio astronomy observations. Many organic molecules are also detected, including alcohols, ketons, ethers, aldehydes, and others, that are distributed from dark clouds and hot cores in the giant molecular clouds. It is believed that most of the organic molecules in space are synthesized through the grain surface reactions, and are evaporated from the grain surface when they are heated up by the UV radiation from adjacent stars. On the other hand the recent claim on the detection of glycine have raised an important issue how difficult it is to confirm secure detection of weak spectra from less abundant organic molecules in the interstellar molecular cloud. I will review recent survey observations of organic molecules in the interstellar molecular clouds, including independent observations of glycine by the 45 m radio telescope in Japan, and will discuss the procedure to securely identify weak spectral lines from organic molecules and the importance of laboratory measurement of organic species.

  14. 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).

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. The formation of molecules in interstellar clouds from singly and multiply ionized atoms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, W. D.

    1978-01-01

    The suggestion is considered that multiply ionized atoms produced by K- and L-shell X-ray ionization and cosmic-ray ionization can undergo ion-molecule reactions and also initiate molecule production. The role of X-rays in molecule production in general is discussed, and the contribution to molecule production of the C(+) radiative association with hydrogen is examined. Such gas-phase reactions of singly and multiply ionized atoms are used to calculate molecular abundances of carbon-, nitrogen-, and oxygen-bearing species. The column densities of the molecules are evaluated on the basis of a modified version of previously developed isobaric cloud models. It is found that reactions of multiply ionized carbon with H2 can contribute a significant fraction of the observed CH in diffuse interstellar clouds in the presence of diffuse X-ray structures or discrete X-ray sources and that substantial amounts of CH(+) can be produced under certain conditions.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Angular motion of a PAH molecule in interstellar environment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rouan, D.; Leger, Alain; Omont, A.; Giard, Martin

    1989-01-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules have recently been proposed as an important and hitherto undetected component of the Interstellar Medium (ISM). The theory was based on an explanation of the Unidentified IR Emission Bands by Leger et al. It has already led to a verified prediction on extended galactic and extragalactic emissions measured by IRAS, or by a recent balloon borne experiment. The physics that rules the motion of such molecules in the ISM was studied, taking into account their coupling with the ambient gas, the radiation field (absorption and emission) and the static magnetic field. This is important for many implications of the PAH theory such as the radio emission by these molecules or the expected polarization of their IR emission. A reflection nebulae is considered where the situation is rather well known. Every day life of a mean PAH molecule in such a region is as follows: every 3 hrs a UV photon is absorbed heating the molecule to a thousand degs; the temperature decay due to cooling by IR emission follows then within a few seconds. A collision with a molecule of gas occurs typically once a week, while an H atom is ejected or captured at the same rate. A typical cooling cycle after a heat impulse is given. The PAH molecules studied as representative of the family has typically 50 atoms, a radius of 4.5 A, is circular and has a molecular mass of M = 300; its permanent dipole moment is 3 Debye.

  6. 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. PMID:11541227

  7. 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. PMID:11538465

  8. 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.

  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. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Detection, Identification and Correlation of Complex Organic Molecules in 32 Interstellar Clouds Using Submm Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wehres, Nadine; Wang, Shiya; Rad, Mary Lynn; Sanders, James; Kroll, Jay A.; Laas, Jacob; Hays, Brian; Cross, Trevor; Lis, D. C.; Herbst, Eric; Widicus Weaver, Susanna L.

    2014-06-01

    We present spectral line surveys of 32 galactic sources using the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) and the HIFI instrument on the Herschel Space Observatory. This study covers the 220 -- 265 GHz frequency range using the CSO, as well as higher frequencies, 645 -- 676 GHz and 1.14 THz -- 1.19 THz using the HIFI instrument. Deconvolution of the double sideband spectra was performed using the CLASS program and the Herschel/HIFI pipeline. Analysis of the data sets was performed using Global Optimization and Broadband Analysis Software for Interstellar Chemistry (GOBASIC), a new software program developed by our group for the evaluation and study of large astronomical spectroscopic data sets. Initial analysis has focused on 12 complex organic molecules that can be used to trace grain-surface and gas-phase chemical processing in the interstellar medium. GOBASIC was used to determine molecular column densities and rotational temperatures. This information is being used to study correlations between molecular abundances within a given source, and source-to-source correlations for a given molecule, with the ultimate goal of determining which molecules can be used as clocks of the star-formation process. The spectra and the results of this initial analysis will be presented.

  15. 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).

  16. Interstellar iron and manganese - UV oscillator strengths and abundances

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lugger, P.; Barker, E.; York, D. G.; Oegerle, W.

    1982-01-01

    Observations of 16 UV resonance lines of Fe II and six of Mn II in five stars are used to derive new f-values for the lines of these species at wavelengths lower than 1300 A. Values of forbidden lines Fe/H and Mn/H are derived. These new values are used to reassess mean depletions and range of variations in depletions for several lines of sight. On an integrated line-of-sight basis, depletions of Fe and Mn show larger variations than P, Cl, or Zn. The mean local depletion forbidden line Fe/H is 1.65, in interstellar gas. One Fe II line, 2366.864 A, has never been detected. Its f-value is shown to be much lower than previously thought. This line is therefore not useful for interstellar studies at the present time. It is suggested that the true wavelength of 1142 A of Fe II, from UV multiplet 10, is 1142.285 A.

  17. 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.

  18. Royal Society, Discussion on Molecules in Interstellar Space, London, England, May 20, 21, 1981

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1981-12-01

    Aspects of interstellar chemistry are investigated, taking into account the nature of the carrier of the diffuse interstellar bands, chemical processes in the shocked interstellar gas, interstellar deuterium chemistry, and the interstellar implications of laboratory studies of isotope exchange in ion-neutral reactions. The possible impact of cosmochemistry on terrestrial biology is investigated, giving attention to organic matter in meteorites and Precambrian rocks as clues about the origin and development of living systems, problems in the rate of evolution in biological systems, and questions of terrestrial epidemiology. Microwave and infrared observations are also discussed. Radio observations of molecules in the interstellar gas are considered along with near infrared spectroscopy of protostars, and the IRC+10216 circumstellar shell. A description of laboratory observations and interstellar processes is also provided.

  19. 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

  20. Cosmic-ray-induced photodissociation and photoionization rates of interstellar molecules

    SciTech Connect

    Gredel, R.; Lepp, S.; Dalgarno, A.; Herbst, E. Duke Univ., Durham, NC )

    1989-12-01

    In the Prasad-Tarafdar mechanism, ultraviolet photons are created in the interior of dense interstellar clouds by the impact excitation of molecular hydrogen by secondary electrons generated by cosmic-ray ionization. Detailed calculations of the emission spectrum are described, and the resulting photodissociation and photoionization rates of a wide range of interstellar molecules are calculated. 84 refs.

  1. Is interstellar acetone produced by ion-molecule chemistry?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herbst, Eric; Giles, Kevin; Smith, David

    1990-08-01

    The rate coefficient for the ion-molecule radiative association reaction CH3(+) + CH3CHO - (CH3)2CHO(+) has bee calculated in the range 10-300 K with the phase-space techique and the aid of a laboratory measurement of the analogous three-body association at room temperature. It has been suggested by Combes et al. (1987) that this reaction followed by dissociative recombination is responsible for the observed abundance of acetone (CH3COCH3) in Sgr B2. However, it is shown here that the radiative association reaction is probably too slow even at 10 K to lead to the observed abundance of acetone in this source. The question of how acetone is produced in Sgr B2 is thus still unanswered.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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 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

  6. The distribution and abundance of interstellar C2H

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huggins, P. J.; Carlson, W. J.; Kinney, A. L.

    1984-01-01

    C2H(N = 1-0) emission has been extensively observed in a variety of molecular clouds, including: 12 hot, dense, cloud cores, 3 bright-rimmed clouds (in NGC 1977, IC 1396, and IC 1848), and across the extended OMC - 1 cloud. It has also been observed in the circumstellar envelopes IRC + 10216 and AFGL 2688. Abundance analyses of the molecular clouds yield C2H/(C-13)O abundance ratios of about 0.01, with little variation (less than about a factor of 4) either between clouds or across individual clouds. In the Orion plateau source, the C2H abundance is enhanced by less than a factor of 4, relative to the extended cloud. The generally high levels of C2H found in the molecular clouds are not readily accounted for by simple, steady-state chemical models, and suggest, as do earlier observations of atomic carbon, that the carbon chemistry in dense clouds is more active than is commonly assumed.

  7. 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.

  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. 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.

  11. 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.

  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. A Method for Deriving Accurate Gas-Phase Abundances for the Multiphase Interstellar Galactic Halo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howk, J. Christopher; Sembach, Kenneth R.; Savage, Blair D.

    2006-01-01

    We describe a new method for accurately determining total gas-phase abundances for the Galactic halo interstellar medium with minimal ionization uncertainties. For sight lines toward globular clusters containing both ultraviolet-bright stars and radio pulsars, it is possible to measure column densities of H I and several ionization states of selected metals using ultraviolet absorption line measurements and of H II using radio dispersion measurements. By measuring the ionized hydrogen column, we minimize ionization uncertainties that plague abundance measurements of Galactic halo gas. We apply this method for the first time to the sight line toward the globular cluster Messier 3 [(l,b)=(42.2d,+78.7d), d=10.2 kpc, z=10.0 kpc] using Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer and Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet spectroscopy of the post-asymptotic giant branch star von Zeipel 1128 and radio observations by Ransom et al. of recently discovered millisecond pulsars. The fraction of hydrogen associated with ionized gas along this sight line is 45%+/-5%, with the warm (T~104 K) and hot (T>~105 K) ionized phases present in roughly a 5:1 ratio. This is the highest measured fraction of ionized hydrogen along a high-latitude pulsar sight line. We derive total gas-phase abundances logN(S)/N(H)=-4.87+/-0.03 and logN(Fe)/N(H)=-5.27+/-0.05. Our derived sulfur abundance is in excellent agreement with recent solar system determinations of Asplund, Grevesse, & Sauval. However, it is -0.14 dex below the solar system abundance typically adopted in studies of the interstellar medium. The iron abundance is ~-0.7 dex below the solar system abundance, consistent with the significant incorporation of iron into interstellar grains. Abundance estimates derived by simply comparing S II and Fe II to H I are +0.17 and +0.11 dex higher, respectively, than the abundance estimates derived from our refined approach. Ionization corrections to the gas-phase abundances measured in the standard way are

  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. 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.

  18. The Abundances of Solid N2 and Gaseous CO2 in Interstellar Dense Molecular Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandford, Scott A.; Bernstein, Max P.; Allamandola, Louis J.; Goorvitch, David; Teixeira, Teresa C. V. S.; DeVincenzi, D. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    We present 2338-2322 per centimeter (4.277-4.307 micrometer) infrared spectra of a number of N2-containing mixed molecular ices and demonstrate that the strength of the infrared "forbidden" band due to the N=N stretch near 2328 per centimeter (4.295 micrometer) is extremely sensitive to the composition of the ice. The strength of the 2328 per centimeter N2 fundamental is significantly enhanced relative to that of pure N2 ice when NH3, H2O, or CO2 are present, but is largely unaffected by the presence of CO, CH4 or O2. We use the laboratory data in coil junction with ISO data that probes several lines-of-sight through dense molecular clouds to place limits on the abundance of interstellar solid phase N2 and the composition of the ices. Deriving upper limits is complicated by the presence of overlapping absorptions due to CO2 gas in the clouds and, in some cases, to photospheric CO in the background star. These upper limits are just beginning to be low enough to constrain interstellar grain models and the composition of possible N2-bearing interstellar ices. We outline the search criteria that will need to be met if solid interstellar N2 is to be detected in the future. We also discuss some of the implications of the presence of warm CO2 gas along the lines-of-sight to embedded protostars and demonstrate that its presence may help resolve certain puzzles associated with the previously derived gas/solid CO2 ratios and the relative abundances of polar and nonpolar ices towards these objects. Finally, we briefly comment on the possible implications of these results for the interpretation of N2 detections on outer solar system bodies.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Interstellar chemistry - Polycyanoacetylene formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, W. D.; Schloerb, F. P.; Snell, R. L.; Young, J. S.

    1981-01-01

    It is argued that interstellar polycyanoacetylenes are formed not on dust grains by catalytic buildup or by dissociation of longer molecules, but rather by gas phase ion-molecule reactions. The primary evidence for this view is the detection of deuterated cyanoacetylene in an interstellar cloud. It is also argued that the relative abundance of successive homologs of polycyanoacetylenes rules out the grain catalysis theory.

  4. Interstellar absorption lines toward NGC 2264 and AFGL 2591 - Abundances of H2, H3(+), and CO

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Black, John H.; Van Dishoek, Ewine F.; Willner, Steven P.; Woods, R. Claude

    1990-01-01

    Interstellar absorption-line spectroscopy of NGC 2264 is reported which shows that the CO molecule has a column density of 5 x 10 to the 18th/sq cm and a rotational excitation temperature of 28 K. A direct upper limit on the H2 column density implies that at least 6 percent of a solar carbon abundance is in the form of CO. The upper limit on the H3(+) abundance implies that the cosmic-ray ionization rate is of the order of 10 to the -16th/s or less. The H3(+) upper limit, together with a previous radio detection of H2D(+) emission, implies either an enormous overabundance of the deuterated molecule or else that most of the radio emission comes from clouds not located directly between use and the infrared source. Observations of the sources AFGL 2591 and NGC 2024 IRS2 indicate that upper limits on H3(+) imply cosmic ray ionization rates of less than 3 and 60 x 10 to the -17th/s, respectively.

  5. REACTIVE DESORPTION AND RADIATIVE ASSOCIATION AS POSSIBLE DRIVERS OF COMPLEX MOLECULE FORMATION IN THE COLD INTERSTELLAR MEDIUM

    SciTech Connect

    Vasyunin, A. I.; Herbst, Eric E-mail: eh2ef@virginia.edu

    2013-05-20

    The recent discovery of terrestrial-type organic species such as methyl formate and dimethyl ether in the cold interstellar gas has proved that the formation of organic matter in the Galaxy begins at a much earlier stage of star formation than was previously thought. This discovery represents a challenge for astrochemical modelers. The abundances of these molecules cannot be explained by the previously developed ''warm-up'' scenario, in which organic molecules are formed via diffusive chemistry on surfaces of interstellar grains starting at 30 K, and then released to the gas at higher temperatures during later stages of star formation. In this article, we investigate an alternative scenario in which complex organic species are formed via a sequence of gas-phase reactions between precursor species formed on grain surfaces and then ejected into the gas via efficient reactive desorption, a process in which non-thermal desorption occurs as a result of conversion of the exothermicity of chemical reactions into the ejection of products from the surface. The proposed scenario leads to reasonable if somewhat mixed results at temperatures as low as 10 K and may be considered as a step toward the explanation of abundances of terrestrial-like organic species observed during the earliest stages of star formation.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Abundances of Linear Carbon-Chain Molecules in Supernovae

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clayton, D. D.; Deneault, E.; Meyer, B. S.; The, L.-S.

    2001-01-01

    This paper evaluates the condensation of carbon solids in a gas of pure C and O atoms when these exist within the interior of an expanding young supernova. We calculate the abundances of large carbon molecules, which serve as nucleations for condensation of graphites. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  11. 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.

  12. Revisiting the Chlorine Abundance in Diffuse Interstellar Clouds from Measurements with the Copernicus Satellite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moomey, Daniel; Federman, S. R.; Sheffer, Y.

    2012-01-01

    We reanalyzed interstellar Cl I and Cl II spectra acquired with the Copernicus satellite. The directions for this study come from those of Crenny & 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 Å from which precise column densities are derived. The improved set of results reveals clearer correspondences with H2 and total hydrogen column densities. These linear relationships arise from rapid conversion of Cl+ to Cl0 in regions where H2 is present.

  13. Cosmic-ray-induced photodestruction of interstellar molecules in dense clouds

    SciTech Connect

    Sternberg, A.; Dalgarno, A.; Lepp, S.

    1987-09-01

    The ultraviolet spectrum of radiation generated by cosmic rays inside dense molecular clouds is presented, and the resulting rates of photodissociation for a variety of interstellar molecules are estimated. The effects of this radiation on the chemistry of dense molecular clouds are discussed, and it is argued that the cosmic-ray-induced photons will significantly inhibit the production of complex molecular species. 30 references.

  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. 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.

  16. 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

    2016-04-01

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. Suggestion for search of H2CSi molecule in the interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharma, M.; Sharma, M. K.; Verma, U. P.; Chandra, S.

    2014-05-01

    For understanding silicon chemistry in the interstellar medium, identification of large number of Si-bearing molecules in the medium is required. Ten Si-bearing molecules (SiO, SiS, SiC, SiN, c-SiC2, SiCN, SiNC, c-SiC3, SiC4 and SiH4) have been identified in the interstellar medium. Izuha et al. (1996) recorded microwave spectrum of H2CSi and made an unsuccessful attempt for its identification in IRC + 10216, Ori KL, Sgr B2 through its 717-616 transition at 222.055 GHz. Using rotational and distortional constants for H2CSi (Izuha et al., 1996), we have calculated radiative transition probabilities and line strengths for transitions between rotational levels lying below 100 cm-1. We have found that 7 lines of ortho-H2CSi and 3 lines of para-H2CSi have the value of Einstein A-coefficient larger than 10-5 s-1. These lines may help in identification of H2CSi in the interstellar medium. The Einstein A-coefficient for 717-616 transition of H2CSi is 5.24 × 10-6 s-1.

  19. H{sub 2} MOLECULAR CLUSTERS WITH EMBEDDED MOLECULES AND ATOMS AS THE SOURCE OF THE DIFFUSE INTERSTELLAR BANDS

    SciTech Connect

    Bernstein, L. S.; Clark, F. O.; Lynch, D. K. E-mail: dave@thulescientific.com

    2013-05-01

    We suggest that the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) arise from absorption lines of electronic transitions in molecular clusters primarily composed of a single molecule, atom, or ion ({sup s}eed{sup )}, embedded in a single-layer shell of H{sub 2} molecules. Less abundant variants of the cluster, including two seed molecules and/or a two-layer shell of H{sub 2} molecules, may also occur. The lines are broadened, blended, and wavelength-shifted by interactions between the seed and surrounding H{sub 2} shell. We refer to these clusters as contaminated H{sub 2} clusters (CHCs). We show that CHC spectroscopy matches the diversity of observed DIB spectral profiles and provides good fits to several DIB profiles based on a rotational temperature of 10 K. CHCs arise from {approx}centimeter-sized, dirty H{sub 2} ice balls, called contaminated H{sub 2} ice macro-particles (CHIMPs), formed in cold, dense, giant molecular clouds (GMCs), and later released into the interstellar medium (ISM) upon GMC disruption. Attractive interactions, arising from Van der Waals and ion-induced dipole potentials, between the seeds and H{sub 2} molecules enable CHIMPs to attain centimeter-sized dimensions. When an ultraviolet (UV) photon is absorbed in the outer layer of a CHIMP, it heats the icy matrix and expels CHCs into the ISM. While CHCs are quickly destroyed by absorbing UV photons, they are replenished by the slowly eroding CHIMPs. Since CHCs require UV photons for their release, they are most abundant at, but not limited to, the edges of UV-opaque molecular clouds, consistent with the observed, preferred location of DIBs. An inherent property of CHCs, which can be characterized as nanometer size, spinning, dipolar dust grains, is that they emit in the radio-frequency region. We also show that the CHCs offer a natural explanation for the anomalous microwave emission feature in the {approx}10-100 GHz spectral region.

  20. 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.

  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. Cyanide/isocyanide abundances in the interstellar medium - I. Theoretical spectroscopic characterization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Senent, M. L.; Dumouchel, F.; Lique, F.

    2012-02-01

    Modelling molecular abundances in the interstellar medium requires accurate molecular data. In this work, structural and spectroscopic properties of a series of metal cyanides/isocyanide species containing Na, Mg, Al and Si are calculated and compared using highly correlated ab initio calculations. The metal substitution effect on molecular properties is discussed. Isomerization pathways and transitions states are detailed. NaCN shows three isomeric structures, one T shaped and two linear forms, whereas the remaining compounds display two linear minimum energy geometries. For the first time, NaCN secondary minima are described. Second-order perturbation theory spectroscopic parameters are determined from an anharmonic RCCSD(T)/aug-cc-pV5Z force field. Very accurate rotational constants are calculated using a complete basis set and taking into account vibrational effects and the structure variation with core electron correlation. For l-SiCN and l-SiNC, spin-orbit parameters are also provided. Present theoretical results are compared with available experimental data attaining a good agreement.

  4. 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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Dworkin, Jason P.; Deamer, David W.; Sandford, Scott A.; Allamandola, Louis J.

    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 [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. PMID:11158552

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:11158552

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. INTERPRETATION OF INFRARED VIBRATION-ROTATION SPECTRA OF INTERSTELLAR AND CIRCUMSTELLAR MOLECULES

    SciTech Connect

    Lacy, John H.

    2013-03-10

    Infrared vibration-rotation lines can be valuable probes of interstellar and circumstellar molecules, especially symmetric molecules, which have no pure rotational transitions. But most such observations have been interpreted with an isothermal absorbing slab model, which leaves out important radiative transfer and molecular excitation effects. A more realistic non-LTE and non-isothermal radiative transfer model has been constructed. The results of this model are in much better agreement with the observations, including cases where lines in one branch of a vibration-rotation band are in absorption and another in emission. In general, conclusions based on the isothermal absorbing slab model can be very misleading, but the assumption of LTE may not lead to such large errors, particularly if the radiation field temperature is close to the gas temperature.

  12. 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.

  13. A Laboratory Search for the Carrier Molecules of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands; Rare Earths and the Neutron Capture Process

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stockett, Mark H.

    The identity of the carrier molecules of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) is the most durable mystery of spectroscopic astronomy. The DIBs comprise over 400 mostly broad, weak absorption features observed along many lines of sight throughout the Milky Way. Though large Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are 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 low-temperature, gas phase PAH molecules and ions. The key elements of this experiment are the synchrotron radiation continuum from the SRC White Light beamline, a custom echelle spectrograph and the Cryogenic Circulating Advective Multi-Pass (CCAMP) absorption cell. The development and results of this experiment are described in detail. Recent abundance determinations of heavy n(eutron)-capture elements in very old, very metal-poor Galactic halostars have yielded new insights on the roles of the r(apid)- and s(low)-processes in the initial burst of Galactic nucleosynthesis. The Rare Earth (RE) elements are an important part of such efforts. The results of this ongoing work are reshaping our understanding of the chemical evolution of the Galaxy. Absolute atomic transition probabilities are necessary for quantitative spectroscopy in astronomy and applied fields such as lighting. I performed lifetime measurements, accurate to +/-5%, for 8 even parity and 72 odd parity levels of singly ionized erbium. These radiative lifetimes were used to determine absolute transition probabilities for 418 lines of Er II, enabling new Er abundance measurements for the sun and 5 r-process rich, metal poor stars. I performed absorption experiments using synchrotron radiation to assess the impact of possible unobserved infrared branches on

  14. 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.

  15. Some O I oscillator strengths and the interstellar abundance of oxygen

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zeippen, C. J.; Seaton, M. J.; Morton, D. C.

    1977-01-01

    Calculated and experimental oscillator strengths for the O I intersystem line at 1356 A and for other O I lines of interest in interstellar absorption-line studies are discussed. Attention is given to experimental f-values for the lines at 1302, 1305, and 1306 A, previous work on the f-values for the lines at 1356 and 1359 A, wave-function expansion, and calculations for permitted as well as intercombination lines. Copernicus observations of several interstellar absorption lines due to O I, C II, P II, and Ni II toward Zeta Oph are reported, equivalent widths are determined, and a curve-of-growth analysis is performed for the O I absorption lines. Oscillator strengths are recommended for the far-UV resonance lines of O I, and it is concluded that the oxygen in the interstellar H I regions toward Zeta Oph is depleted by 45% to 69%.

  16. 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.

  17. Molecule formation and infrared emission in fast interstellar shocks. I Physical processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollenbach, D.; Mckee, C. F.

    1979-01-01

    The paper analyzes the structure of fast shocks incident upon interstellar gas of ambient density from 10 to the 7th per cu cm, while focusing on the problems of formation and destruction of molecules and infrared emission in the cooling, neutral post shock gas. It is noted that such fast shocks initially dissociate almost all preexisting molecules. Discussion covers the physical processes which determine the post shock structure between 10 to the 4 and 10 to the 2 K. It is shown that the chemistry of important molecular coolants H2, CO, OH, and H2O, as well as HD and CH, is reduced to a relatively small set of gas phase and grain surface reactions. Also, the chemistry follows the slow conversion of atomic hydrogen into H2, which primarily occurs on grain surfaces. The dependence of this H2 formation rate on grain and gas temperatures is examined and the survival of grains behind fast shocks is discussed. Post shock heating and cooling rates are calculated and an appropriate, analytic, universal cooling function is developed for molecules other than hydrogen which includes opacities from both the dust and the lines.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  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. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Comprehensive models of diffuse interstellar clouds - Physical conditions and molecular abundances

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Van Dishoeck, E. F.; Black, J. H.

    1986-01-01

    The limitations of steady state models of interstellar clouds are explored by means of comparison with observational data corresponding to clouds in front of Zeta Per, Zeta Oph, Chi Oph, and Omicron Per. The improved cloud models were constructed to reproduce the observed H and H2(J) column densities for several lines of sight. The main difference from previous models is the treatment of self-shielding in the H2 lines. Other improvements over previous models are discussed as well.

  5. 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.

  6. Behavior of molecules on interstellar grains - Application of the Langevin equation and iterative extended Hueckel

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aronowitz, S.; Chang, S.

    1980-01-01

    The Langevin equation was used to explore an adsorbate desorption mechanism. Calculations were performed using iterative extended Hueckel on a silica model site with various small adsorbates, e.g., H, CH, OH, NO, CO. It was found that barriers to free traversal from one site to another are substantial (about 3-10 eV). A bootstrap desorption mechanism for some molecules in the process of forming at a site also became apparent from the calculations. The desorption mechanisms appear to be somewhat balanced by a counterforce - the attraction of sites for the newly desorbed molecule. The order of attraction to a silica grain site for the diatomic molecules considered was OH greater than CH greater than CO greater than NO, when these entities were sufficiently distant. The nature of the silica grain and that of the 'cold' desorption mechanism, when considered together, suggest that the abundance of very small grains might be less common than anticipated.

  7. Behavior of Molecules on Interstellar Grains: Application of the Langevin Equation and Iterative Extended Huckel

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aronowitz. Sheldon

    1980-01-01

    The Langevin equation was used to explore an adsorbate desorption mechanism. Calculations were performed using iterative extended Huckel on a silica model site with various small adsorbates, e.g., H, CH, OH, NO, CO. It was found that barriers to free traversal from one site to another are substantial (approximately 3 - 10 eV). A bootstrap desorption mechanism for some molecules in the process of forming at a site also became apparent from the calculations. The desorption mechanisms appear to be somewhat balanced by a counterforce--the attraction of sites for the newly desorbed molecule. The order of attraction to a silica grain site for the diatomic molecules considered was OH > CH > CO > NO, when these entities were sufficiently distant. The nature of the silica grain and that of the "cold" desorption mechanism, when considered together, suggest that the abundance of very small grains might be less common than anticipated.

  8. VLT UVES Observations of Interstellar Molecules and Diffuse Bands in the Magellanic Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Welty, D. E.; Federman, S. R.; Gredel, R.; Thorburn, J. A.; Lambert, D. L.

    2006-07-01

    We discuss the abundances of interstellar CH, CH+, and CN in the Magellanic Clouds, derived from spectra of seven SMC and 13 LMC stars obtained (mostly) with the VLT UVES. CH and/or CH+ have now been detected toward three SMC and nine LMC stars; CN is detected toward Sk 143 (SMC) and Sk -67 2 (LMC). These data represent nearly all the optical detections of these molecular species in interstellar media beyond the Milky Way. In the LMC, the CH/H2 ratio is comparable to that found for diffuse Galactic molecular clouds in four sight lines but is lower by factors of 2.5-4.0 in two others. In the SMC, the CH/H2 ratio is comparable to the local Galactic value in one sight line but is lower by factors of 10-15 in two others. The abundance of CH in the Magellanic Clouds thus appears to depend on local physical conditions and not just on metallicity. In both the SMC and the LMC, the observed relationships between the column density of CH and those of CN, CH+, Na I, and K I are generally consistent with the trends observed in our Galaxy. Using existing data for the rotational populations of H2 in these sight lines, we estimate temperatures, radiation field strengths, and local hydrogen densities for the diffuse molecular gas. The inferred temperatures range from about 45 to 90 K, the radiation fields range from about 1 to 900 times the typical local Galactic field, and the densities (in most cases) lie between 100 and 600 cm-3. Densities estimated from the observed N(CH), under the assumption that CH is produced via steady state gas-phase reactions, are considerably higher than those derived from H2. Much better agreement is found by assuming that the CH is made via the (still undetermined) process(es) responsible for the observed CH+. A significant fraction of the CH and CH+ in diffuse molecular material in the SMC and LMC may be produced in photon-dominated regions. The excitation temperature obtained from the populations of the two lowest CN rotational levels toward Sk -67

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Interstellar Neutral Helium in the Heliosphere from IBEX Observations. IV. Flow Vector, Mach Number, and Abundance of the Warm Breeze

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kubiak, Marzena A.; Swaczyna, P.; Bzowski, M.; Sokół, J. M.; Fuselier, S. A.; Galli, A.; Heirtzler, D.; Kucharek, H.; Leonard, T. W.; McComas, D. J.; Möbius, E.; Park, J.; Schwadron, N. A.; Wurz, P.

    2016-04-01

    Following the high-precision determination of the velocity vector and temperature of the pristine interstellar neutral (ISN) He via a coordinated analysis summarized by McComas et al., we analyzed the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) observations of neutral He left out from this analysis. These observations were collected during the ISN observation seasons 2010–2014 and cover the region in the Earth's orbit where the Warm Breeze (WB) persists. We used the same simulation model and a parameter fitting method very similar to that used for the analysis of ISN He. We approximated the parent population of the WB in front of the heliosphere with a homogeneous Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution function and found a temperature of ∼9500 K, an inflow speed of 11.3 km s‑1, and an inflow longitude and latitude in the J2000 ecliptic coordinates 251.°6, 12.°0. The abundance of the WB relative to ISN He is 5.7% and the Mach number is 1.97. The newly determined inflow direction of the WB, the inflow directions of ISN H and ISN He, and the direction to the center of the IBEX Ribbon are almost perfectly co-planar, and this plane coincides within relatively narrow statistical uncertainties with the plane fitted only to the inflow directions of ISN He, ISN H, and the WB. This co-planarity lends support to the hypothesis that the WB is the secondary population of ISN He and that the center of the Ribbon coincides with the direction of the local interstellar magnetic field (ISMF). The common plane for the direction of the inflow of ISN gas, ISN H, the WB, and the local ISMF is given by the normal direction: ecliptic longitude 349.°7 ± 0.°6 and latitude 35.°7 ± 0.6 in the J2000 coordinates, with a correlation coefficient of 0.85.

  12. Cyanides/isocyanides abundances in the interstellar medium - IV. Temperature dependence of SiCN/SiNC rate coefficients and astrophysical applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hernández Vera, M.; Lique, F.; Kłos, J.; Dumouchel, F.; Rubayo Soneira, J.

    2015-08-01

    Accurate determination of collisional rate coefficients is an essential step in the estimation of the SiCN and SiNC abundances in the interstellar and circumstellar media. In this paper, we carry out calculations of rate coefficients for the rotational (de-)excitation of SiCN and SiNC molecules in collision with He. The calculations are based on new two-dimensional potential energy surfaces obtained from highly correlated ab initio calculations. Coupled-States quantum approximation was used in the scattering calculations to obtain collisional (de-)excitation cross-sections of SiCN and SiNC by He. The spin-orbit coupling and Λ-doublet splitting of SiCN and SiNC levels were taken into account explicitly. Rate coefficients for transitions among the first 92 rotational levels of SiCN and SiNC were calculated for temperatures ranging from 5 to 100 K. Moderate differences exist between the rate coefficients of both isomers. Subsequently, the new collisional data are used to simulate the excitation of SiCN and SiNC in the circumstellar gas. We obtain the brightness and excitation temperatures of selected lines frequently observed towards the circumstellar envelopes and we find that local thermodynamic equilibrium conditions are not fulfilled for these species. Radiative transfer calculations are then needed in order to accurately determine their abundances. Our results also show that previous estimations of the cyanides/isocyanides abundance ratios were incorrect and the present calculations show that SiCN, the most stable isomer, is more abundant than SiNC. This shows again the evidence of selective cyanide chemistry.

  13. 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.

  14. Cyclopropenone (c-H2C3O): A New Interstellar Ring Molecule

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hollis, J. M.; Remijan, A. J.; Jewell, P. R.; Lovas, F. J.

    2005-12-01

    The 3-carbon keto-ring cyclopropenone (c-H2C3O) has been detected largely in absorption with the 100-m Green Bank Telescope (GBT) toward the star-forming region Sagittarius B2(N) by means of a number of rotational transitions between energy levels that have energies less than 10 K. Previous negative results from searches for interstellar c-H2C3O by other investigators attempting to detect rotational transitions that have energy levels ˜10 K or greater indicate no significant hot core component. Thus, we conclude that only the low energy levels of c-H2C3O are populated because the molecule state temperature is low, suggesting that c-H2C3O resides in a star-forming core halo region that has a widespread arcminute spatial scale. Toward Sagittarius B2(N), the GBT was also used to observe the previously-reported, spatially-ubiquitous, 3-carbon ring cyclopropenylidene (c-C3H2) which has a divalent carbon that makes it highly reactive in the laboratory. The presence of both c-C3H2 and c-H2C3O toward Sagittarius B2(N) suggests that gas-phase oxygen addition may account for the synthesis of c-H2C3O from c-C3H2. We also searched for but did not detect the three-carbon sugar glyceraldehyde (CH2OHCHOHCHO) .

  15. Cyclopropenone (c-H2C3O): A New Interstellar Ring Molecule

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hollis, J. M.; Remijan, Anthony J.; Jewell, P. R.; Lovas, F. J.

    2006-05-01

    The three-carbon keto ring cyclopropenone (c-H2C 3O) has been detected largely in absorption with the 100 m Green Bank Telescope (GBT) toward the star-forming region Sagittarius B2(N) by means of a number of rotational transitions between energy levels that have energies less than 10 K. Previous negative results from searches for interstellar c-H2C3O by other investigators attempting to detect rotational transitions that have energy levels ~10 K or greater indicate no significant hot core component. Thus, we conclude that only the low-energy levels of c-H2C3O are populated because the molecule state temperature is low, suggesting that c-H2C3O resides in a star-forming core halo region that has a widespread arcminute spatial scale. Toward Sagittarius B2(N), the GBT was also used to observe the previously reported, spatially ubiquitous, three-carbon ring cyclopropenylidene (c-C3H2 ), which has a divalent carbon that makes it highly reactive in the laboratory. The presence of both c-C3H2 and c-H2C3O toward Sagittarius B2(N) suggests that gas-phase oxygen addition may account for the synthesis of c-H 2C3O from c-C3H2. We also searched for but did not detect the three-carbon sugar glyceraldehyde (CH2OHCHOHCHO).

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. High-resolution X-ray spectroscopy of the Crab Nebula and the oxygen abundance of the interstellar medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schattenburg, M. L.; Canizares, C. R.

    1986-01-01

    The measurement and analysis of a high-resolution soft X-ray spectrum of the Crab Nebula obtained with the Focal Plane Crystal Spectrometer on the Einstein Observatory are reported. A hydrogen column density of 3.45 + or - 0.42 x 10 to the 21st/sq cm and an oxygen column density of 2.78 + or - 0.55 x 10 to the 18th/sq cm, corresponding to an oxygen abundance of 1.1 + or - 0.3 times solar, were obtained. The absence of any evident oxygen depletion effects suggests that most interstellar grains are reasonably transparent to soft X-rays, implying sizes of less than 0.4 micron. The detailed spectrum in the vicinity of the oxygen edge gives marginal evidence for a resonant absorption line and suggests an edge from singly ionized oxygen.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Radical-Molecule Reaction C3H + H2O on Amorphous Water Ice: A Promising Route for Interstellar Propynal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xie, Hong-bin; Shao, Chang-bin; Ding, Yi-hong

    2007-11-01

    Intriguing propynal (HCCCHO) has been attracting chemist's attention since 1955. However, to date, no satisfying conclusion concerning its formation mechanism in the interstellar medium (ISM) has been reached, although a variety of gas-reaction models, including ion-molecule, radical-molecule, and molecule-molecule, have been postulated. In this paper, we consider for the first time the gas-grain interaction model that involves heterogeneous reaction at the surface of dust grain or in the icy mantles to account for the propynal's formation. Based on the detailed density functional theory (DFT) and Gaussian-3 potential energy surface studies, we found that although the gaseous process C3H+H2O-->propynal+H must surmount a considerable entrance barrier (around 10 kcal mol-1), amorphous water ice can significantly catalyze the propynal's formation to be barrierless. So, this model should be a more reasonable one for propynal's formation in the low-temperature interstellar space. This result may also represent one rare case of the water-catalyzed reaction associated with a molecular radical in space. Future experimental studies are greatly desired to probe such interesting processes.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adams, N. G.; Fondren, L. D.; McLain, J. L.; Jackson, D. M.

    Several ring compounds have been detected in interstellar gas clouds, ISC, including the aromatic, benzene. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAH's, have been implicated as carriers of diffuse interstellar bands (DIB's) 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 (C_5H_5N, C_4H_4N_2, C_5H_{11}N and C_4H_8O_2) has been tested in the laboratory using charge transfer excitation in ion-molecule reactions. The fragmentation paths, including production of C_4H_4^+, C_3H_3N^+ and HCN, suggest reverse routes to the parent molecules, which are presently under laboratory investigation as production sources.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Theoretical studies of interstellar molecular shocks. I - General formulation and effects of the ion-molecule chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flower, D. R.; Pineau des Forets, G.; Hartquist, T. W.

    1985-10-01

    The authors present a formulation of the problem of magnetohydrodynamic shock propagation through an interstellar cloud in a form which is adapted to the inclusion of the ion-molecule chemistry. Continuous (C-type) shocks are considered and comparison is made with the earlier work of Draine (1980) and of Draine, Roberge and Dalgarno (1983), in which ion-molecule reactions were neglected. The authors find that the inclusion of endothermic ion-molecule reactions, driven by the relative streaming of the ionized and neutral fluids, has a profound effect on the shock structure. In particular, the width of the shock is greatly enhanced and the maximum temperature attained by the neutral gas is much reduced.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Formation of Nitrogen and Hydrogen-bearing Molecules in Solid Ammonia and Implications for Solar System and Interstellar Ices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Weijun; Jewitt, David; Osamura, Yoshihiro; Kaiser, Ralf I.

    2008-02-01

    We irradiated solid ammonia (NH3) in the temperature range of 10-60 K with high-energy electrons to simulate the processing of ammonia-bearing ices in the interstellar medium and in the solar system. By monitoring the newly formed molecules online and in situ, the synthesis of hydrazine (N2H4), diazene (N2H2 isomers), hydrogen azide (HN3), the amino radical (NH2), molecular hydrogen (H2), and molecular nitrogen (N2) has been confirmed. Our results show that the production rates of hydrazine, diazene, hydrogen azide, molecular hydrogen, and molecular nitrogen are higher in amorphous ammonia than those in crystalline ammonia; this behavior is similar to the production of molecular hydrogen, molecular oxygen, and hydrogen peroxide found in electron-irradiated water ices. However, the formation of hydrazine in crystalline ammonia does not show any temperature dependence. Our experimental results give hints to the origin of molecular nitrogen in the Saturnian system and possibly in the atmospheres of proto-Earth and Titan; our research may also guide the search of hitherto unobserved nitrogen-bearing molecules in the interstellar medium and in our solar system.

  20. Interstellar PAH analogs in the laboratory: A step toward the identification and the quantification of organic molecules in space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Biennier, L.; Salama, F.; Gupta, M.; O'Keefe, A.

    In spite of recent progress in our understanding of the organic component of interstellar dust, little has been revealed about the identification and the quantification of large organic molecules in space (e.g., column densities of specific molecular species, physical and chemical processes of formation and destruction, etc...). Experimental studies of "true" cosmic organic analogs are essential to address theses issues. In our laboratory, we have developed a dedicated chamber to generate species under space-like conditions (i.e., free, cold, neutral and ionized species). The chamber is combined with a powerful state-of-the-art instrument to characterize the spectral fingerprints of these molecular species. Polycylic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules are the precursors/building blocks of complex organic molecules and have been the first targets studied using this innovative approach. Our measurements provide data that can now be directly compared to astronomical spectra of the interstellar (IS) extinction curve and of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs), both tracers of cosmic organics. The harsh physical conditions of the diffuse IS medium - characterized by a low temperature, an absence of collisions and strong VUV radiation fields - are simulated in the laboratory by associating a free jet expansion with an ionizing discharge that altogether generate a cold plasma expansion in the chamber. The spectra of these organics are measured using two complementary high sensitivity techniques: Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) and Multiplex Integrated Cavity Output Spectroscopy (MICOS). These two techniques have been applied to the measurement of the electronic spectrum of a set of representative PAHs such as the cold Naphthalene (C10H_8}) cation, neutral Methylnaphthalene (C11H10}), neutral and ionized Acenaphtene (C12H10), neutral Phenanthrene (C14H10), and neutral and ionized Pyrene (C16H10). These experiments provide unique information on the spectra of free

  1. NEAR-INFRARED BAND STRENGTHS OF MOLECULES DILUTED IN N{sub 2} AND H{sub 2}O ICE MIXTURES RELEVANT TO INTERSTELLAR AND PLANETARY ICES

    SciTech Connect

    Richey, C. R.; Gerakines, P. A. E-mail: gerak@uab.edu

    2012-11-01

    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, H{sub 2}O and N{sub 2}. We present experimentally measured near-infrared spectral information (peak positions, widths, and band strengths) for both H{sub 2}O- and N{sub 2}-dominated mixtures of CO (carbon monoxide), CO{sub 2} (carbon dioxide), CH{sub 4} (methane), and NH{sub 3} (ammonia). Band strengths were determined during sample deposition by correlating the growth of near-infrared features (10,000-4000 cm{sup -1}, 1-2.5 {mu}m) with better-known mid-infrared features (4000-400 cm{sup -1}, 2.5-25 {mu}m) at longer wavelengths.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Survey of interstellar neutral potassium. I. Abundances and physical conditions in clouds toward 188 early-type stars

    SciTech Connect

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

    1982-10-01

    This paper reports observation of interstellar absorption in the resonance doublet lambdalambda7664,7698 of neutral potassium toward 188 early-type stars at a spectral resolution of 8 km s/sup -1/. The lambda7664 line is successfully separated from nearly coincident telluric O/sub 2/ absorption for all but a few of the 165 stars for which K I absorption is detected, allowing abundance analysis by the doublet ratio method. Comparisons of the K I column densities with those of Na I, total H, and H/sub 2/, respectively, for more than 20 of the brigther survey stars and with that of C I for seven stars yield the following results: logdelta/sub K//delta/sub Na/ = -0.1, logdelta/sub K/delta/sub C/r/ (L/sub pc/) = -1.0, logdelta/sub K//delta/sub C/ = -0.2, logdelta/sub K/delta/sub C/r/(R/R/sub 0/) = 0.75, where delta/sub X/ represents the depletion factor (< or =1) for element X, L is the thickness of the absorbing region, r = n/sub e//n/sub C/ is the ratio of the density of free electrons to that of carbon, and R/R/sub 0/ is the ratio of the H/sub 2/ formation rate to the usually adopted value of 3--10/sup -17/ cm/sup 3/ s/sup -1/. These results depend on the adopted single cloud theoretical model but are otherwise well determined.

  5. 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.

  6. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in interstellar chemistry

    SciTech Connect

    Lepp, S.; Dalgarno, A.

    1988-01-01

    Interstellar chemistry modifications resulting form the presence of large molecules such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are investigated. For abundances of PAH relative to hydrogen of greater than 10 to the -8th, free electrons attach to PAH molecules to yield PAH(-) ions, and qualitative interstellar chemistry changes are shown to result as atomic and molecular ions undergo nondestructive mutual neutralization reactions with these negative ions. An increase in the steady state abundances of carbon-bearing molecules is also noted. For a PAH abundance ratio relative to hydrogen of 10 to the -7th, the equilibrium densities of C3H2 and neutral atomic C are found to be enhanced by two orders of magnitude. 18 references.

  7. Formation of the Interstellar Molecules HNC3 and HC3N from a C3 Carbon Cluster and Ammonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szczepanski, Jan; Wang, Haiyan; Doughty, Benjamin; Cole, Joseph; Vala, Martin

    2005-06-01

    The reaction of the carbon cluster, C3, with ammonia (NH3) in cryogenic argon matrices (at 12 K), conditions that mimic, at least in part, interstellar ice, has been monitored by infrared spectroscopy. We present evidence that, in the first reaction step, a C3-NH3 complex is formed without an entrance barrier. The calculated [MP2/6-311++G(d,p)] zero-point-corrected binding energy of the complex is 14.39 kJ mol-1 at its equilibrium geometry. After UV-visible photolysis, the complex dissociates and forms the HNC3 molecule. Upon further photolysis, HNC3 is destroyed, and HC3N (cyanoacetylene) is generated. The calculated potential energy surface for this reaction reveals that HNC3 is produced from the C3-NH3 complex by loss of H2, while HC3N is formed from HNC3 by H migration along the NC3 backbone.

  8. Ultraviolet observations of Sirius A and Sirius B with HST-GHRS. an interstellar cloud with a possible low deuterium abundance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hébrard, G.; Mallouris, C.; Ferlet, R.; Koester, D.; Lemoine, M.; Vidal-Madjar, A.; York, D.

    1999-10-01

    We present new observations of the binary Sirius A / Sirius B performed with HST-GHRS. Two interstellar clouds are detected on this sightline, one of them being identified as the Local Interstellar Cloud (LIC), in agreement with previous HST-GHRS observations of Sirius A (Lallement et al. \\cite{lalle}). The interstellar structure of this sightline, which we assume is the same toward both stars (separated by less than 4 arcsec at the time of observation), is constrained by high spectral resolution data of the species O I, N I, Si Ii, C Ii, Fe Ii and Mg Ii. Lyman alpha interstellar lines are also observed toward the two stars. But whereas the deuterium Lyman alpha line is well detected in the LIC with an abundance in agreement with that obtained by Linsky et al. (\\cite{linsky93} & \\cite{linsky95}), no significant D I line is detected in the other cloud. However, the Lyman alpha lines toward Sirius A and Sirius B are not trivial. An excess of absorption is seen in the blue wing of the Sirius A Lyman alpha line and interpreted as the wind from Sirius A. In its white dwarf companion, an excess in absorption is seen in the red wing and interpreted as the core of the Sirius B photospheric Lyman alpha line. A composite Lyman alpha profile can nonetheless be constructed, and allows one to measure the deuterium abundance in the second cloud 0<(D/H)ISM<1.6*E(-5) , which is marginally in agreement with the Linsky et al. (\\cite{linsky93} & \\cite{linsky95}) value. This sightline appears consequently as a good candidate for a low (D/H)ISM. Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. under NASA contract No.~NAS5-26555.

  9. A new interstellar polyatomic molecule: detection of propynal in the cold cloud TMC-1.

    PubMed

    Irvine, W M; Brown, R D; Cragg, D M; Friberg, P; Godfrey, P D; Kaifu, N; Matthews, H E; Ohishi, M; Suzuki, H; Takeo, H

    1988-12-15

    We report the detection of the acetylene derivative propynal (HC triple bond CCHO) in the cold cloud TMC-1, with an abundance that is very close to that for the related species tricarbon monoxide (C3O). Propadienone, an isomer of propynal with the formula H2C=C=C=O, was not detected and is hence less abundant than either C3O or HC2CHO. PMID:11538462

  10. 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.

  11. Boundary conditions for the paleoenvironment: Chemical and Physical Processes in dense interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1986-01-01

    The present research includes searches for important new interstellar constituents; observations relevant to differentiating between different models for the chemical processes that are important in the interstellar environment; and coordinated studies of the chemistry, physics, and dynamics of molecular clouds which are the sites or possible future sites of star formation. Recent research has included the detection and study of four new interstellar molecules; searches which have placed upper limits on the abundance of several other potential constituents of interstellar clouds; quantitative studies of comparative molecular abundances in different types of interstellar clouds; investigation of reaction pathways for astrochemistry from a comparison of theory and the observed abundance of related species such as isomers and isotopic variants; studies of possible tracers of energenic events related to star formation, including silicon and sulfur containing molecules; and mapping of physical, chemical, and dynamical properties over extended regions of nearby cold molecular clouds.

  12. 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

  13. Interstellar and interplanetary solids in the laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dartois, E.; Alata, I.; Engrand, C.; Brunetto, R.; Duprat, J.; Pinot, T.; Quirico, E.; Remusat, L.; Bardin, N.; Briani, G.; Mostefaoui, S.; Morinaud, G.; Crane, B.; Szwec, N.; Delauche, L.; Jamme, F.; Sandt, C.; Dumas, P.

    2015-01-01

    The composition of the interstellar matter is driven by environmental parameters (e.g. elemental abundance, density, reactant nature, radiations, temperature, time scales) and results also from external interstellar medium physico-chemical conditions. Astrochemists must rely on remote observations to monitor and analyze the com­position of interstellar solids. These observations give essentially access to the molecular functionality of the solids, rarely elemental composition constraints and isotopic fractionation only in the gas phase. Astrochemists bring additional information from the study of analogues produced in the laboratory, placed in simulated space environments. Planetologists and cosmochemists can have access and spectroscopically examine collected extra-terrestrial material directly in the laboratory. Observations of the diffuse interstellar medium (DISM) and molecular clouds (MC) set constraints on the composition of organic solids and large molecules, that! can then be compared with collected extraterrestrial materials analyses, to shed light on their possible links.

  14. 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. PMID:26616741

  15. Computational prediction of the spectroscopic parameters of methanediol, an elusive molecule for interstellar detection

    SciTech Connect

    Barrientos, Carmen; Redondo, Pilar; Largo, Antonio; Martínez, Henar

    2014-04-01

    The molecular structure of methanediol has been investigated by means of quantum chemical calculations. Two conformers, corresponding to C{sub 2} and C {sub s} symmetries, respectively, were considered. The C{sub 2} conformer is found to lie about 1.7 (at 298 K) or 2.3 (at 0 K) kcal mol{sup –1} below the C {sub s} conformer. Predictions for their rotational constants, vibrational frequencies, IR intensities, and dipole moments have been provided. The lowest-lying isomer has a very low dipole moment, around 0.03 D, whereas the C {sub s} conformer has a relatively high dipole moment, namely, 2.7 D. The barrier for the C {sub s} →C{sub 2} process is predicted to be around 0.7-1 kcal mol{sup –1}. Based on the energetic results the proportion of the C{sub s} conformer is likely to be negligible under low temperature conditions, such as in the interstellar medium. Therefore, it is predicted that detection by radioastronomy of methanediol would be rather unlikely.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Rotational excitation of hydrogen molecules by collisions with hydrogen atoms. [interstellar gas energetics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Green, S.; Truhlar, D. G.

    1979-01-01

    Rate constants for rotational excitation of hydrogen molecules by collisions with hydrogen atoms have been obtained from quantum-mechanical calculations for kinetic temperatures between 100 and 5000 K. These calculations involve the rigid-rotator approximation, but other possible sources of error should be small. The calculations indicate that the early values of Nishimura are larger than accurate rigid-rotator values by about a factor of 20 or more.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Topics in the physics of interstellar clouds

    SciTech Connect

    Roberge, W.G.

    1981-01-01

    Physical and chemical processes in interstellar clouds are discussed in six papers. In Collision-Induced Dissociation of H/sub 2/ and CO Molecules, the destruction of molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide in shock-heated clouds is examined. Below a certain density n., radiative stabilization greatly reduces the dissociation rates with substantial consequences for the thermal and chemical evolution of the shocked gas. In The Penetration of Diffuse Ultraviolet Radiation into Interstellar Clouds, it is shown that the solution of the radiative transfer equation for coherent, nonconservative, anisotropic scattering of photons of dust grains can be expressed analytically, with arbitrary accuracy, by means of the spherical harmonics method. In Photoionization and Photodissociation in Diffuse Interstellar Clouds, this method is used to explore the dependence of photodestruction rates inside diffuse, plane parallel clouds to assumptions about the grain scattering properties. In The Calculation of Steady State Models of Diffuse Interstellar Clouds, a model of the xi Ophiuchi cloud is calculated including an accurate treatment of line and continuum radiative transfer. The abundances of certain molecules, including H/sub 2/ and OH, are sensitive to the radiative transfer calculation and models of diffuse clouds calculated with approximate treatments of radiative transfer may require substantial revision. In Cooling by C/sup +/ Ions in Interstellar Clouds, processes that determine the production and propagation of cooling radiation are examined and their effects on cooling rates in interstellar clouds are discussed.

  6. Potential formation of three pyrimidine bases in interstellar regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Majumdar, Liton; Gorai, Prasanta; Das, Ankan; Chakrabarti, Sandip K.

    2015-12-01

    Work on the chemical evolution of pre-biotic molecules remains incomplete since the major obstacle is the lack of adequate knowledge of rate coefficients of various reactions which take place in interstellar conditions. In this work, we study the possibility of forming three pyrimidine bases, namely, cytosine, uracil and thymine in interstellar regions. Our study reveals that the synthesis of uracil from cytosine and water is quite impossible under interstellar circumstances. For the synthesis of thymine, reaction between uracil and :CH2 is investigated. Since no other relevant pathways for the formation of uracil and thymine were available in the literature, we consider a large gas-grain chemical network to study the chemical evolution of cytosine in gas and ice phases. Our modeling result shows that cytosine would be produced in cold, dense interstellar conditions. However, presence of cytosine is yet to be established. We propose that a new molecule, namely, C4N3OH5 could be observable in the interstellar region. C4N3OH5 is a precursor (Z isomer of cytosine) of cytosine and far more abundant than cytosine. We hope that observation of this precursor molecule would enable us to estimate the abundance of cytosine in interstellar regions. We also carry out quantum chemical calculations to find out the vibrational as well as rotational transitions of this precursor molecule along with three pyrimidine bases.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Influence of Interstellar FUV Radiation on the Abundance Ratio of 13CO to C18O in L 1551

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Sheng-Jun; Shimajiri, Yoshito; Hara, Chihomi; Lai, Shih-Ping; Nakamura, Fumitaka; Sugitani, Koji; Kawabe, Ryohei; Kitamura, Yoshimi; Yoshida, Atsushi; Tatei, Hidefumi; Akashi, Toshiya; Tsukagushi, Takashi

    2015-08-01

    To investigate the relationship between the far-ultraviolet (FUV) radiation and the abundance ratios between 13CO and C18O, we observed L 1551 in 12CO (J=1-0), 13CO (J=1-0) and C18O (J=1-0) using the Nobeyama Radio Observatory 45 m telescope with an angular resolution of ~22" (corresponding to 0.017 pc at a distance of 160 pc). L 1551 is chosen because it is relatively isolated in Taurus-Auriga complex, providing an ideal environment for studying the variation of abundance ratio due to the penetration of the FUV photons. L 1551 is a young star-forming region containing at least 6 young protostars between Class I and Class III stages and a quiescent elongated starless core. The distribution of 12CO emission shows the outflows coming from 2 youngest protostars IRS5 and NE. The 13CO and C18O are detected throughout the whole region with enhancement around the outflows and depletion in the outflow cavities. To avoid the influence of outflows, we exclude the outflow regions for X(13CO)/X(C18O) abundance ratio calculation. X(13CO)/X(C18O) is found in the range of 3.2 -- 36.2 with a mean value of 7.6. Comparing to the extinction map derived from Herschel observations, we found that the abundance ratio reaches its maximum at low AV and decreases to typical solar system value of 5.5 within the starless core. The high X(13CO)/X(C18O) value at the low AV value in L 1551 is most likely due to the selective FUV photodissociation of C18O. This is in contrast with Orion-A region where its internal OB stars keep the abundance ratio at a high level greater than ~10.

  13. SEARCHING FOR INTERSTELLAR MOLECULE BUTATRIENYLIDENE IN REACTION C{sub 2} + C{sub 2}H{sub 4}

    SciTech Connect

    Lee, Shih-Huang; Huang, Wen-Jian; Lin, Yi-Cheng; Chin, Chih-Hao

    2012-11-01

    We investigated the reaction C{sub 2}(X {sup 1}{Sigma}{sup +} {sub g}/a {sup 3}{Pi} {sub u}) + C{sub 2}H{sub 4} at collision energy 5.0 kcal mol{sup -1} in a crossed molecular-beam apparatus using selective photoionization. Time-of-flight and photoionization spectra of products C{sub 4}H{sub 3} and C{sub 4}H{sub 2} were measured. From the best simulation of product time-of-flight spectra, a low-energy-biased translational-energy distribution and an isotropic angular distribution are derived for product channels C{sub 4}H{sub 3} + H and C{sub 4}H{sub 2} + H{sub 2} that have average translational-energy releases of 11 and 20 kcal mol{sup -1}, respectively. Product C{sub 4}H{sub 3} is identified as H{sub 2}CCCCH because its ionization threshold 8.0 {+-} 0.2 eV and maximal translational-energy release 42 kcal mol{sup -1} coincide with that of product channel H{sub 2}CCCCH + H. H{sub 2}CCCC (butatrienylidene) and HCCCCH (diacetylene) might have contributions to product C{sub 4}H{sub 2}; both isomers have ionization energies near the measured ionization threshold 10.0 {+-} 0.2 eV and the maximal translational-energy release 62 kcal mol{sup -1} is within the energetic limits of both isomeric product channels. Nonetheless, channel H{sub 2}CCCC + H{sub 2} is suggested to be more dominant than channel HCCCCH + H{sub 2} because the maximal translational-energy release is in good agreement with the available energy of the former channel and the former channel is 3.8 times the branching ratio of the later channel predicted by Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus calculations. C{sub 4}H{sub 2} is identified for the first time in the barrierless reaction C{sub 2} + C{sub 2}H{sub 4} which has never been considered in any astronomical chemical networks. This work sheds new light on the formation of butatrienylidene/diacetylene in cold interstellar media where C{sub 2} and C{sub 2}H{sub 4} are abundant.

  14. 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.

  15. Abundances of Deuterium, Nitrogen, and Oxygen in the Local Interstellar Medium: Overview of First Results from the FUSE Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moos, H. W.; Sembach, K. R.; Vidal-Madjar, A.; York, D. G.; Friedman, S. D.; Hébrard, G.; Kruk, J. W.; Lehner, N.; Lemoine, M.; Sonneborn, G.; Wood, B. E.; Ake, T. B.; André, M.; Blair, W. P.; Chayer, P.; Gry, C.; Dupree, A. K.; Ferlet, R.; Feldman, P. D.; Green, J. C.; Howk, J. C.; Hutchings, J. B.; Jenkins, E. B.; Linsky, J. L.; Murphy, E. M.; Oegerle, W. R.; Oliveira, C.; Roth, K.; Sahnow, D. J.; Savage, B. D.; Shull, J. M.; Tripp, T. M.; Weiler, E. J.; Welsh, B. Y.; Wilkinson, E.; Woodgate, B. E.

    2002-05-01

    Observations obtained with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) have been used to determine the column densities of D I, N I, and O I along seven sight lines that probe the local interstellar medium (LISM) at distances from 37 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 Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data, International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) data, and published Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE) measurements. The weighted mean of D I/H I for these five sight lines is (1.52+/-0.08)×10-5 (1 σ 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)×10-2. 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)×10-4, comparable to the weighted mean (3.43+/-0.15)×10-4 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 and colleagues 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Interstellar shock waves

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckee, C. F.; Hollenbach, D. J.

    1980-01-01

    The structure of interstellar shocks driven by supernova remnants and by expanding H II regions around early-type stars is discussed. Jump conditions are examined, along with shock fronts, post-shock relaxation layers, collisional shocks, collisionless shocks, nonradiative shocks, radiative atomic shocks, and shock models of observed nebulae. Effects of shock waves on interstellar molecules are examined, with reference to the chemistry behind shock fronts, infrared and vibrational-rotational cooling by molecules, and observations of shocked molecules. Some current problems and applications of the study of interstellar shocks are summarized, including the initiation of star formation by radiative shock waves, interstellar masers, the stability of shocks, particle acceleration in shocks, and shocks in galactic nuclei.

  19. A survey of bimolecular ion-molecule reactions for use in modeling the chemistry of planetary atmospheres, cometary comae, and interstellar clouds - 1993 supplement

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anicich, V. G.

    1993-01-01

    This is a supplement to a previous paper (Anicich & Huntress 1986). It is a survey of bimolecular positive ion-molecule reactions with potential importance to the chemistry of planetary atmospheres, cometary comae, and interstellar clouds. This supplement covers the literature from 1986 through 1991, with some additional citations missed in the original survey. Over 200 new citations are included. A table of reactions is listed by reactant ion, and cross-references are provided for both ionic and neutral reactants and also for both ionic and neutral products.

  20. Interstellar C3 toward HD 210121

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roueff, E.; Felenbok, P.; Black, J. H.; Gry, C.

    2002-03-01

    We report the detection of the 405 nm band of interstellar C3 in absorption toward HD 210121. The abundance of triatomic carbon is approximately 1/17 of that of diatomic carbon in the same diffuse molecular cloud. Rotational levels of C3 up to J=14 are seen in this cloud. The rotational excitation of C3 in the interstellar medium may reflect a competition between inelastic collisions, formation and destruction of the molecule, and radiative pumping in the far-infrared. The abundance of C3 is compared with chemical models. Attention is called to molecular properties that need to be better determined. Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Chile [ESO VLT-UT2 No 65.I-0526(A)].

  1. 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. PMID:11542067

  2. 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.

  3. Computational Interstellar Chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hirata, So; Fan, Peng-Dong; Head-Gordon, Martin; Kamiya, Muneaki; Keçeli, Murat; Lee, Timothy J.; Shiozaki, Toru; Szczepanski, Jan; Vala, Martin; Valeev, Edward F.; Yagi, Kiyoshi

    Computational applications of electronic and vibrational many-body theories are increasingly indispensable in interpreting and, in some instances, predicting the spectra of gas-phase molecular species of importance in interstellar chemistry as well as in atmospheric and combustion chemistry. This chapter briefly reviews our methodological developments of electronic and vibrational many-body theories that are particularly useful for these gas-phase molecular problems. Their applications to anharmonic vibrational frequencies of triatomic and tetratomic interstellar molecules and to electronic absorption spectra of the radical ions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are ubiquitous in the interstellar medium, are also discussed.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Interstellar Antifreeze: Ethylene Glycol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2002-05-01

    Interstellar ethylene glycol (HOCH2CH2OH) 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Interstellar Dust - A Review

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, Farid

    2012-01-01

    The study of the formation and the destruction processes of cosmic dust is essential to understand and to quantify the budget of extraterrestrial organic materials. Although dust with all its components plays an important role in the evolution of interstellar physics and chemistry and in the formation of organic materials, little is known on the formation and destruction processes of carbonaceous dust. Laboratory experiments that are performed under conditions that simulate interstellar and circumstellar environments to provide information on the nature, the size and the structure of interstellar dust particles, the growth and the destruction processes of interstellar dust and the resulting budget of extraterrestrial organic molecules. A review of the properties of dust and of the laboratory experiments that are conducted to study the formation processes of dust grains from molecular precursors will be given.

  13. The chemical state of dense interstellar clouds - An overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Irvine, W. M.; Schloerb, F. P.; Hjalmarson, A.; Herbst, E.

    1985-01-01

    The currently known interstellar molecules and isotopes are listed, procedures for determining relative chemical abundances in molecular clouds are discussed, and current best estimates for such abundances in regions of differing physical properties are presented. Among the results are a general chemical similarity across a range of density and temperature for quiescent clouds, and some striking differences among regions which are not easily related to such physical parameters and may instead reflect cloud history and evolution. The possibility of constraining chemical models via measurements of relative abundances for the isomeric pairs HNC/HCN, CH3NC/CH3CN, and HOC(+)/HCO(+) is discussed in detail.

  14. 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.

  15. Instrumentation for interstellar exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gruntman, M.

    The time has arrived for designing, building, and instrumenting a spacecraft for a dedicated foray into interstellar space surrounding our star, the Sun. This region was probed in the past by remote techniques and it will be explored in situ by the Interstellar Probe mission. The mission will significantly advance our understanding of the nature of the local interstellar medium and explore the distant frontier of the solar system by revealing the details of the interaction between the Sun and Galaxy. This mission will also be an important practical step toward interstellar flight of the future. Reaching interstellar space in reasonable time requires high escape velocities and will likely be enabled by non-chemical propulsion such as nuclear-powered electric propulsion or solar sailing. Unusually high spacecraft velocities, enormous distances from the Sun, and non-chemical propulsion will significantly influence the design of the mission, spacecraft and scientific instrumentation. We will review measurement objectives of the first mission into interstellar space and outline constrains on the instrumentation. Measurement of particles, fields, and dust in the interstellar medium will be complemented by search for complex molecules and remote sensing capabilities in various spectral bands. A "look" back at our solar system will also be a glimpse of wh at a flyby mission of the distant future would encounter in approaching another star. The instrumentation for interstellar exploration presents numerous challenges. Mass, telemetry, and power constraints would place a premium on miniaturization and autonom . There are, however,y physical limits on how small the sensors could be. New instrument concepts may be required to achieve the desired measurement capabilities under the stringent constraints of a realistic interstellar mission.

  16. Instrumentation for interstellar exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gruntman, Mike

    2004-01-01

    The time has arrived for designing, building, and instrumenting a spacecraft for a dedicated foray into the galactic environment surrounding our star, the sun. This region was probed in the past by remote techniques and it will be explored in situ by the NASA's planned Interstellar Probe mission. The mission will significantly advance our understanding of the nature of the local interstellar medium and explore the distant frontier of the solar system by revealing the details of the interaction between the sun and the Galaxy. This mission will also be an important practical step toward interstellar flight of the future. Reaching interstellar space in reasonable time requires high escape velocities and will likely be enabled by non-chemical propulsion such as nuclear-powered electric propulsion or solar sailing. Unusually high spacecraft velocities, enormous distances from the Sun, and non-chemical propulsion will significantly influence design of the mission, spacecraft, and scientific instrumentation. We will review measurement objectives of the first dedicated mission into interstellar space and outline constraints on the instrumentation. Measurement of particles, fields, and dust in the interstellar medium will be complemented by search for complex organic molecules and remote sensing capabilities in various spectral bands. A "look" back at our solar system will also be a glimpse of what a truly-interstellar mission of the distant future would encounter in approaching a target star. The instrumentation for interstellar exploration presents numerous challenges. Mass, telemetry, and power constraints would place a premium on miniaturization and autonomy. There are, however, physical limits on how small the sensors could be. New instrument concepts may be required to achieve the desired measurement capabilities under the stringent constraints of a realistic interstellar mission.

  17. 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-

  18. Interstellar Deuterium Chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandford, S. A.

    2003-01-01

    The presence of isotopic anomalies is the most unequivocal demonstration that meteoritic material contains circumstellar or interstellar components. In the case of organic compounds in meteorites and interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), the most useful isotopic tracer of interstellar components has been deuterium (D) excesses. In some cases these enrichments are seen in bulk meteoritic materials, but D enrichments have also been observed in meteoritic subfractions and even within specific classes of molecular species, such as amino and carboxylic acids. These anomalies are not thought to be the result of nucleosynthetic processes, but are instead ascribed to chemical and physical processes occurring in the interstellar medium (ISM). The traditional explanation of these D excesses has been to invoke the presence of materials made in the ISM by low temperature gas phase ion-molecule reactions. Indeed, the DM ratios seen in the simple interstellar gas phase molecules in cold dense clouds amenable to measurement using radio spectral techniques are generally considerably higher than the values seen in enriched Solar System materials. However, the true linkage between the DM ratios in interstellar and meteoritic materials is obscured by several effects. First, current observations of D enrichment in the ISM have been made of only a few simple molecules, molecules that are not the main carriers of D in Solar System materials. Second, some of the interstellar D enrichment is likely to reside on labile moieties that will have exchanged to some degree with more isotopically normal material during incorporation into the warm protosolar nebula, parent body processing, delivery, recovery, and analysis. Third, ion-molecule reactions represent only one of at least four processes that can produce strong D-H fractionation in the ISM.

  19. Interstellar clouds and molecular hydrogen

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jura, M.

    1977-01-01

    Data obtained from the Copernicus Orbiting Astronomical Observatory, launched in 1972 and still obtaining information, are used in a discussion of the interstellar medium. The Copernicus instruments have facilitated direct estimates for the density and temperature of individual interstellar clouds, and improved the ability to determine where along the line of sight a cloud lies with respect to background stars. The physical characteristics of hydrogen molecules are considered, with attention to the formation and destruction of interstellar hydrogen. The differences between 'thin' clouds, in which molecular hydrogen is optically thin, and 'thick' clouds are examined. Several features of the interstellar medium are described.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Formation of negative ions in the interstellar medium by dissociative electron attachment to the H2CN molecule

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kokoouline, Viatcheslav; Fonseca Dos Santos, Samantha; Douguet, Nicolas; Orel, Ann

    2013-05-01

    The methylene amidogen radical (H2CN) was first discovered, in 1962 by Cochran et al ., and since then it has received considerable attention from both experimentalists and theoreticians. It is considered an important intermediate in the combustion of nitramine propellants and proposed to play a role in extraterrestrial atmospheres. It was detected in interstellar clouds in 1994, and its dissociative electron attachment (DEA) process may be responsible for the formation of the CN- and the H- negative ions: e-+H2CN --> CN- + H2; e-+H2CN --> H- + HCN. We report here the results of our ab initio quantum chemical studies of the geometrical and electronic structure of the methylene amidogen and and its negative ion H2CN- in the theoretical of DEA in H2CN. The scattering calculations are carried out using the complex Kohn variational method. The nuclear dynamics, including dissociation, will later be treated using the MCTDH code with a three-dimensional potential energy surface, in which the distance of CN is kept frozen. This work is supported by the DOE Office of Basic Energy Science and the National Science Foundation, Grant No's PHY-11-60611 and PHY-10-68785.

  3. 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. PMID:17015375

  4. 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).

  5. Pattern Speeds of BIMA SONG Galaxies with Molecule-dominated Interstellar Mediums Using the Tremaine-Weinberg Method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rand, Richard J.; Wallin, John F.

    2004-10-01

    We apply the Tremaine-Weinberg method of pattern speed determination to data cubes of CO emission in six spiral galaxies from the BIMA Survey of Nearby Galaxies, each with an interstellar medium dominated by molecular gas. We compare derived pattern speeds with estimates based on other methods, usually involving the identification of a predicted behavior at one or more resonances of the pattern(s). In two cases (NGC 1068 and NGC 4736), we find evidence for a central bar pattern speed that is greater than that of the surrounding spiral and roughly consistent with previous estimates. However, the spiral pattern speed in both cases is much larger than previous determinations. For the barred spirals NGC 3627 and NGC 4321, the method is insensitive to the bar pattern speed (the bar in each is nearly parallel to the major axis; in this case the method will not work), but for the former galaxy the spiral pattern speed found agrees with previous estimates of the bar pattern speed, suggesting that these two structures are part of a single pattern. For the latter, the spiral pattern speed found is in agreement with several previous determinations. For the flocculent spiral NGC 4414 and the ``Evil Eye'' galaxy NGC 4826, the method does not support the presence of a large-scale coherent pattern. We also apply the method to a simulated barred galaxy in order to demonstrate its validity and to understand its sensitivity to various observational parameters. In addition, we study the results of applying the method to a simulated, clumpy axisymmetric disk with no wave present. The Tremaine & Weinberg method in this case may falsely indicate a well-defined pattern.

  6. A compilation of electronic transitions in the CO molecule and the interpretation of some puzzling interstellar absorption features

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morton, Donald C.; Noreau, Louis

    1994-11-01

    This compilation lists wavenumbers, wavelengths, and oscillator strengths for 1589 electronic transitions of (12)C(16)O, (13)C(16)O, (12)C(18)O, and (13)C(18)O between 1000 and 1545 A. These are the transitions from J double prime = 0 to 6 and v double prime = 0 of the ground term which are most likely to appear as interstellar absorption lines in spectra observed with the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments in space. We include a derivation of the formulae relating transition probabilities, lifetimes, line strengths, and oscillator strengths for individual rovibronic transitions and whole bands. The compilation contains all the known spin-permitted bands A1Pi - X1Sigma+, B1Sigma+ - X1Sigma+, C1Sigma+ - X1Sigma+, E1Pi - X1Sigma+, and F1Sigma+ - X1Sigma+, as well as the spin-forbidden a'3Sigma+ - X1Sigma+, d3delta - X1Sigma+ and e3Sigma- - X1Sigma+ bands which are enhanced by perturbations of A1Pi on certain of their upper levels. Oscillator strengths are quoted for each rovibronic transition, taking account of the mixing of the triplet states with A1 Pi, v' = 0 to 6. A separate finding list orders the stronger transitions with J double prime less than or equal to 3 by wavelength. Comparison of the compiled data with existing UV observations of HD 27778, zeta Oph, and 20 Aql shows how the a' - X, d - X, and e - X bands that borrow oscillator strength from A - X can account for several puzzling absorption features. Finally, we include some suggestions for further study with spectrographs in the laboratory and in space.

  7. Laboratory Astrochemistry: Interstellar PAHs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, Farid; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are now considered to be an important and ubiquitous component of the organic material in space. PAHs are found in a large variety of extraterrestrial materials such as interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and meteoritic materials. PAHs are also good candidates to account for the infrared emission bands (UIRs) and the diffuse interstellar optical absorption bands (DIBs) detected in various regions of the interstellar medium. The recent observations made with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) have confirmed the ubiquitous nature of the UIR bands and their carriers. PAHs are thought to form through chemical reactions in the outflow from carbon-rich stars in a process similar to soot formation. Once injected in the interstellar medium, PAHs are further processed by the interstellar radiation field, interstellar shocks and energetic particles. A major, dedicated, laboratory effort has been undertaken to measure the physical and chemical characteristics of these complex molecules and their ions under experimental conditions that mimic the interstellar conditions. These measurements require collision-free conditions where the molecules and ions are cold and chemically isolated. The spectroscopy of PAHs under controlled conditions represents an essential diagnostic tool to study the evolution of extraterrestrial PAHs. The Astrochemistry Laboratory program will be discussed through its multiple aspects: (1) objectives, (2) approach and techniques adopted, (3) adaptability to the nature of the problem(s), and (4) results and implications for astronomy as well as for molecular spectroscopy. A review of the data generated through laboratory simulations of space environments and the role these data have played in our current understanding of the properties of interstellar PAHs will be presented. The discussion will also introduce the newest generation of laboratory experiments that are currently being developed in order to provide a

  8. 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.

  9. Vacuum-UV spectroscopy of interstellar ice analogs. II. Absorption cross-sections of nonpolar ice molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cruz-Diaz, G. A.; Muñoz Caro, G. M.; Chen, Y.-J.; Yih, T.-S.

    2014-02-01

    Context. Dust grains in cold circumstellar regions and dark-cloud interiors at 10-20 K are covered by ice mantles. A nonthermal desorption mechanism is invoked to explain the presence of gas-phase molecules in these environments, such as the photodesorption induced by irradiation of ice due to secondary ultraviolet photons. To quantify the effects of ice photoprocessing, an estimate of the photon absorption in ice mantles is required. In a recent work, we reported the vacuum-ultraviolet (VUV) absorption cross sections of nonpolar molecules in the solid phase. Aims: The aim was to estimate the VUV-absorption cross sections of nonpolar molecular ice components, including CH4, CO2, N2, and O2. Methods: The column densities of the ice samples deposited at 8 K were measured in situ by infrared spectroscopy in transmittance. VUV spectra of the ice samples were collected in the 120-160 nm (10.33-7.74 eV) range using a commercial microwave-discharged hydrogen flow lamp. Results: We found that, as expected, solid N2 has the lowest VUV-absorption cross section, which about three orders of magnitude lower than that of other species such as O2, which is also homonuclear. Methane (CH4) ice presents a high absorption near Ly-α (121.6 nm) and does not absorb below 148 nm. Estimating the ice absorption cross sections is essential for models of ice photoprocessing and allows estimating the ice photodesorption rates as the number of photodesorbed molecules per absorbed photon in the ice. Data can be found at http://ghosst.osug.fr/

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Lyman-α driven molecule formation on SiO2 surfaces-connection to astrochemistry on dust grains in the interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rajappan, M.; Yuan, C.; Yates, J. T.

    2011-02-01

    As a model for silicate dust grains in the interstellar medium, we have used high area amorphous SiO2 as a surface on which to carry out Lyman-α (10.2 eV) photodecomposition of adsorbed N2O at 71 K and at a coverage of ~0.3 monolayer. The N2O molecules are adsorbed by hydrogen bonding to surface Si-OH groups. Transmission IR spectroscopy measurements permit the observation of the consumption of adsorbed N2O and the production of various photoproducts. It is observed that in comparison to N2O consumption, the relative rate of formation of the products NO2 and N2O4 made by combination reactions is enhanced significantly on the SiO2 surface. Reactions between photogenerated radicals themselves or between radicals and parent N2O on the SiO2 surface exceed the relative rates observed in the gas phase by factors of up to ~20. As the complexity of the combination product increases, its relative production rate, compared to the gas phase, increases due to the involvement of multiple surface-combination elementary steps. It is proposed that the enhancement of combination reactions on the SiO2 surface is due to the surface's ability to absorb excess energy evolved during the chemical-bond-forming events on the surface. This principle is probably significant on grain surfaces supporting photochemical processes of astrochemical interest, and indeed is expected. The cross section for adsorbed N2O photodecomposition on the porous SiO2 surface is about 7 × 10-20 cm2 and the quantum yield for the adsorbed molecule decomposition is about 0.006, compared to a quantum yield of 1.46 in the gas phase. This decrease in photon efficiency is attributed to absorption and scattering of Lyman-α radiation by the SiO2 particles.

  13. The Origin and Evolution of Interstellar Dust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dwek, Eli; Houches, Les

    2006-01-01

    In this lecture I will discuss the many different manifestation of interstellar dust, and current dust models that satisfy interstellar extinction, diffuse infrared emission, and interstellar abundances constraints. Dust is made predominantly in AGB stars and Type I1 supernovae, and I will present observational evidence for the presence of dust in these sources. I will then present chemical evolution models that follow the abundance of dust which is determined by the combined processes of formation, destruction by interstellar shock waves, and accretion in molecular clouds. The model will be applied to the evolution of PAHs and the evolution of dust in the high-redshift galaxy (z=6.42) JD11.

  14. Interstellar clouds - From a dynamical perspective on their chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prasad, S. S.

    1985-01-01

    The possibility is examined that in the course of its dynamical evolution, a single mass of interstellar gas would exhibit properties of diffuse clouds, dense clouds and finally also of clouds perturbed by shocks or intense UV or X-ray radiation generated by a star of its own creation. This concept provides a common thread through the bewildering diversity of physical and chemical compositional properties shown by interstellar clouds. From this perspective, instead of being static objects, interstellar clouds are possibly incessantly evolving from initially diffuse to later dense state and then to star formation which ultimately restructures or disperses the remaining cloud material to begin the whole evolutionary process once again. Based on a simplified study of interstellar chemistry from a dynamical perspective, the ideas are presented as an heuristic: to encourage thought on the future direction of molecular astrophysics and the need to consider the chemical behavior of interstellar clouds in conjunction with, rather than in isolation from, their dynamical behavior. A physical basis must be sought for the semiempirical temperature formula which has been given a critical role in the collapse of diffuse clouds. Self-shielding effects in the chemistry of CO were neglected and this drawback should be removed; the ability of the model to explain the fractional abundances of more complex molecules, such as cyanopolyynes, should be examined.

  15. Interstellar Optics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gwinn, C. R.; Britton, M. C.; Reynolds, J. E.; Jauncey, D. L.; King, E. A.; McCulloch, P. M.; Lovell, J. E. J.; Preston, R. A.

    1998-01-01

    We discuss the effects of finite source size on the diffraction pattern produced by scattering in a thin screen, particularly as applied to radio-wave scattering, by density fluctuations in the interstellar plasma.

  16. Evolution of Interstellar Grains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1998-01-01

    During the past two decades observations combined with laboratory simulations, have revolutionized our understanding of interstellar ice and dust, the raw materials from which planets, comets and stars form. Most interstellar material is concentrated in large molecular clouds where simple molecules are formed by dust-grain and gas-phase reactions. Gaseous species striking the cold (10K) dust stick, forming an icy grain mantle. This accretion, coupled with UV photolysis, produces a complex chemical mixture containing volatile, non-volatile, and isotopically fractionated species. Ices in molecular clouds contain the very simple molecules H2O, CH3OH, CO, CO2, H2, and perhaps some NH3 and H2CO, as well as more complex species. The evidence for these compounds, as well as carbon-rich materials, will be reviewed and the possible connections with comets and meteorites will be presented in the first part of the talk . The second part of the presentation will focus on interstellar/precometary ice photochemical evolution and the species likely to be found in comets. The chemical composition and photochemical evolution of realistic interstellar/pre-cometary ice analogs will be discussed. Ultraviolet photolysis of these ices produces H2, H2CO, CO2, CO, CH4, HCO, and more complex molecules. When ices representative of interstellar grains and comets are exposed to UV radiation at low temperature a series of moderately complex organic molecules are formed in the ice including: CH3CH2OH (ethanol), HC(=O)NH2 (formamide), CH3C(=O)NH2 (acetamide), and R-C=N (nitriles). Several of these are already known to be in the interstellar medium, and their presence indicates the importance of grain processing. After warming to room temperature an organic residue remains. This is composed primarily of hexamethylenetetramine (HMT, C6H12N4), with lesser amounts of polyoxymethylene-related species (POMs), amides, and ketones. This is in sharp contrast to the organic residues produced by

  17. 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.

  18. 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. PMID:23397895

  19. Inferring the abundances of ClO and HO sub 2 from Spacelab 3 atmospheric trace molecule spectroscopy observations

    SciTech Connect

    Allen, M.; Delitsky, M.L. )

    1991-02-20

    The vertical distributions of the important highly reactive stratospheric species, ClO and HO{sub 2}, have been inferred from Spacelab 3 (May 1985) Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS) measurements of more detectable radical and reservoir species. A simple steady state algebraic expression for ClO, utilizing the observed ClONO{sub 2}/NO{sub 2} abundance ratio, approximates the ClO results of a time-dependent photochemical model at sunset (30{degree}N). Balloon measurements of ClO and comparisons of time-dependent photochemical model calculations of ClONO{sub 2} and HCl with the corresponding ATMOS profiles suggest that the actual ClO values are less than the time-dependent model profiles for ClO at sunset and sunrise (47{degree}S). Errors in the current model simulation of the partitioning among the principal free chlorine species (HCl, ClONO{sub 2}, and ClO) are indicated. However, a comparison of model results with observations of HOCl suggests that the calculated ClO abundance is not a significant overestimate of actual values. A similar methodology is applied to inferring the HO{sub 2} distribution, either algebraically using the ATMOS-measured HO{sub 2}NO{sub 2}/NO{sub 2} abundance ratio or numerically utilizing the time-dependent model. The algebraic results agree with the time-dependent model values to better than a factor of 2 at sunrise. The accuracy of the time-dependent model calculations of HO{sub 2} is suggested by the agreement between model results and ATMOS observations for HO{sub 2}NO{sub 2} and balloon measurements of HO{sub 2}. This confirms for the first time the procedure suggested previously by a number of authors of deriving HO{sub x} abundances from observed fields of O{sub 3} and H{sub 2}O.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Detection of low abundant mutations in DNA using single-molecule FRET and ligase detection reactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wabuyele, Musundi B.; Farquar, Hannah; Stryjewski, Wieslaw J.; Hammer, Robert P.; Soper, Steven A.; Cheng, Yu-Wei; Barany, Francis

    2003-06-01

    New strategies for analyzing molecular signatures of disease states in real time using single pair fluorescence resonance energy transfer (spFRET) were developed to rapidly detect point mutations in unamplified genomic DNA (DNA diagnostics). The assay was carried out using allele-specific primers, which flanked the point mutation in the target gene fragment and were ligated using a thremostable ligase enzyme only when the genomic DNA carried this mutation (ligase detection reaction, LDR). We coupled LDR with spFRET to identify a single base mutation in codon 12 of a K-ras oncogene that has high diagnostic value for colorectal cancers. A simple diode laser-based fluorescence system capable of interrogating single fluorescent molecules undergoing FRET was used to detect photon bursts generated from the MB probes formed upon ligation. We demonstrated the ability to rapidly discriminate single base differences in heterogeneous populations having as little as 600 copies of human genomic DNA without PCR amplification. Single base difference in the K-ras gene was discriminated in less than 5 min at a frequency of 1 mutant DNA per 10 normals using only a single LDR thermal cycle of genomic DNA. Real time analyses of point mutations were also performed in PMMA microfluidic device.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Laboratory simulations of chemical reactions on dust grains in the interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roser, Joseph E.

    Dust grains exert a major influence upon the chemical composition of the interstellar medium: photoelectrons emitted from the dust grains are the primary energy source for heating interstellar gas, dust grains in dense molecular clouds can accumulate layers of frozen interstellar gases that participate in solid phase chemical reactions, and the most abundant molecule in the Universe, molecular hydrogen, primarily forms from hydrogen atoms adsorbed onto grain surfaces. Molecular hydrogen influences the evolution of molecular clouds by acting as a coolant during the gravitational collapse of the cloud and serving as a precursor for the formation of many molecular species. A complete description of molecular hydrogen formation in molecular clouds requires an understanding of the efficiency of hydrogen atom recombination on ice surfaces. Observations of interstellar carbon dioxide ice have the potential for serving as a diagnostic sign of the evolution of interstellar ice layers but require a satisfactory explanation of the formation mechanisms of interstellar CO 2 . This work describes a series of investigations that were designed to study the properties of interstellar dust grains and to obtain and analyze data for astrophysically important chemical reactions. We measured the recombination efficiency of H atoms on the surface of amorphous H 2 O ices and measured the kinetics of H 2 formation and desorption on different morphologies of ice substrate. We demonstrated that the hydrogen atom recombination kinetics depend upon the morphology of the ice layer and that the recombination efficiency is consistent with observations of molecular clouds. We also demonstrated that CO and O can be trapped within an amorphous H 2 O ice layer at temperatures greater than their sublimation temperatures and that the reaction CO (ads) + O (ads) [arrow right] CO 2,(ads) can produce appreciable amounts of CO2 within an interstellar ice layer in the absence of ultraviolet or cosmic

  9. 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.

  10. Detection of (Si II) (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.

    1986-01-01

    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 Si II 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 10 the -6, a factor of 0.075 times the solar value and 3.4 times greater than the abundance in the moderate density aprox. 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 Si II (34.8 micron) emission may arise from shocked wind material in the outflow around IRc2, with wind velocities approx. 100 km/s.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    DOE PAGESBeta

    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

  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. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  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. The Interstellar Medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tielens, Alexander G. G. M.

    1995-01-01

    The Interstellar Medium (ISM) forms an integral part of the lifecycle of stars and the galaxy. Stars are formed by gravitational contraction of interstellar clouds. Over their life, stars return much of their mass to the ISM through winds and supernova explosions, resulting in a slow enrichment in heavy elements. Understanding the origin and evolution of the ISM is a key problem within astrophysics. The KAO has made many important contributions to studies of the interstellar medium both on the macro and on the micro scale. In this overview, I will concentrate on two breakthroughs in the last decade in which KAO observations have played a major role: (1) the importance of large Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules for the ISM (section 3) and (2) the study of Photodissociation Regions (PDRs) as an analog for the diffuse ISM at large (section 4). Appropriately, the micro and macro problem are intricately interwoven in these problems. Finally, section 5 reviews the origin of the (CII) emission observed by COBE.

  6. Laboratory Astrochemistry: Interstellar PAH Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, Farid; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are now considered to be an important and ubiquitous component of the organic material in space. PAHs are found in a large variety of extraterrestrial materials such as interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and meteoritic materials. PAHs are also good candidates to account for the infrared emission bands (UIRs) and the diffuse interstellar optical absorption bands (DIBs) detected in various regions of the interstellar medium. The recent observations made with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) have confirmed the ubiquitous nature of the UIR bands and their carriers. PAHs are though to form through chemical reactions in the outflow from carbon-rich stars in a process similar to soot formation. Once injected in the interstellar medium, PAHs are further processed by the interstellar radiation field, interstellar shocks and energetic particles. A major, dedicated, laboratory effort has been undertaken over the past years to measure the physical and chemical characteristics of these complex molecules and their ions under experimental conditions that mimic the interstellar conditions. These measurements require collision-free conditions where the molecules and ions are cold and chemically isolated. The spectroscopy of PAHs under controlled conditions represents an essential diagnostic tool to study the evolution of extraterrestrial PAHs. The Astrochemistry Laboratory program will be discussed through its multiple aspects: objectives, approach and techniques adopted, adaptability to the nature of the problem(s), results and implications for astronomy as well as for molecular spectroscopy. A review of the data generated through laboratory simulations of space environments and the role these data have played in our current understanding of the properties of interstellar PAHs will be presented. The discussion will also introduce the newest generation of laboratory experiments that are currently being developed in order to provide a

  7. Interstellar and Circumstellar Fullerenes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bernard-Salas, J.; Cami, J.; Jones, A.; Peeters, E.; Micelotta, E.; Otsuka, M.; Sloan, G. C.; Kemper, F.; Groenewegen, M.

    Fullerenes are a particularly stable class of carbon molecules in the shape of a hollow sphere or ellipsoid that might be formed in the outflows of carbon stars. Once injected into the interstellar medium (ISM), these stable species survive and are thus likely to be widespread in the Galaxy where they contribute to interstellar extinction, heating processes, and complex chemical reactions. In recent years, the fullerene species C60 (and to a lesser extent C70 ) have been detected in a wide variety of circumstellar and interstellar environments showing that when conditions are favourable, fullerenes are formed efficiently. Fullerenes are the first and only large aromatics firmly identified in space. The detection of fullerenes is thus crucial to provide clues as to the key chemical pathways leading to the formation of large complex organic molecules in space, and offers a great diagnostic tool to describe the environment in which they reside. Since fullerenes share many physical properties with PAHs, understanding how fullerenes form, evolve and respond to their physical environment will yield important insights into one of the largest reservoirs of organic material in space. In spite of all these detections, many questions remain about precisely which members of the fullerene family are present in space, how they form and evolve, and what their excitation mechanism is. We present here an overview of what we know from astronomical observations of fullerenes in these different environments, and discuss current thinking about the excitation process. We highlight the various formation mechanisms that have been proposed, discuss the physical conditions conducive to the formation and/or detection of fullerenes in carbon stars, and their possible connection to PAHs, HACs and other dust features.

  8. 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.

  9. Complex Organics in Interstellar Space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foing, B.; Ehrenfreund, P.; Ruiterkamp, R.; Cox, N.

    There are signatures of large organic molecules in the interstellar medium, from the ultraviolet to the infrared. Some infrared emission bands, which have been ascribed to families of large aromatic compounds are not specific for individual identification (and for discriminating free floating PAH molecules from loosely bound aromatics in amorphous carbon compounds). Red fluorescence and FUV absorption have also been ascribed to these aromatic compounds. Electronic transitions in the visible are a key to identify free gas phase molecules. The origin of Diffuse Interstellar Bands (Herbig 1995), more than 300 in recent surveys (O' Tuairisg et al 2000) is still a mystery. However the measurements of sub-structures rotational contours in DIBs (Ehrenfreund Foing 1996) indicate large molecules such as chains (12-18C), rings, 50 C PAHs or fullerenes. The distribution of DIB widths permit to estimate a distribution of size of molecular carriers. The environment properties of DIB carriers also indicate ionisation potentials similar to those of cations of large carbonaceous molecules, such as large PAHs or fullerenes (Sonnentrucker et al 1997). The correlation studies of DIBS also indicate different carriers for the strong DIBs observed in the visible (Cami et al 1997). DIBS are weakened in the in the low-metallicity Magellanic clouds (Ehrenfreund et al 2002, Cox et al 2004). The detection of near IR bands at 9577 and 9632 A coinciding with laboratory transitions of C60+ (Foing, Ehrenfreund 1994, 1997, Galatzudinov et al 2000 ) suggest that significant interstellar carbon could reside in complex fullerene type compounds. These results indicate that many different large and complex organic molecules can form and survive in the very harsh interstellar environments. A follow up interdisciplinary work is required between astronomical observations, laboratory matrix and gas phase spectroscopy, theoretical work and modelling, and active experiments in space to study the formation

  10. Experimental and Computational Studies of the Formation Mechanism of Protonated Interstellar Diazines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-01-01

    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 (C4H5N2 +) are investigated in detail both experimentally and theoretically. The major neutral loss for all three CID processes is HCN, leading to the formation of C3H4N+ isomers; our density functional theory (DFT) calculations support and elucidate our experimental results. The formation of C3H4N+ isomers from the reaction of abundant interstellar acrylonitrile (CH2CHCN) and H+is also studied employing DFT calculations. Our results lead to a novel mechanism for interstellar protonated diazine formation from the consecutive reactions of CH2CHCN+ H+ + HCN. Moreover, our results motivate the continuing search for interstellar C3H4N+ isomers as well as polycyclic aromatic N-containing hydrocarbons (PANHs).

  11. 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)

  12. Complex Chemistry on Interstellar Grains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Widicus Weaver, Susanna L.; Kelley, Matthew J.; Blake, Geoffrey A.

    Early interstellar chemical models considered complex molecule formation on grains [Allen & Robinson (1977)], but current models assume that simple molecules form on grains and subsequent gas phase ion-molecule reactions produce the more complex species [Ruffle & Herbst (2001), Charnley (2001)]. It has been shown, however, that gas phase ion-molecule reactions are insufficient for the production of such complex organic species as ethanol (CH3CH2OH) and methyl formate (CH3OCHO) [Horn et al. (2004)]. Organics such as acetaldehyde (CH3CHO), ethanol, methyl formate, acetic acid (CH3COOH), and glycolaldehyde (CH2OHCHO) have also been detected in high abundance in regions of grain mantle disruption or evaporation, indicating that these species are formed on grain surfaces [see Chengalur & Kanekar (2003), Bottinelli et al. (2004), Hollis et al. (2001)]. The mechanisms for complex molecule production on grains are clearly much more important, and much more complex, than has been recognized. Recent observational studies of these types of species have offered insight into the mechanisms for their possible grain surface synthesis. The relative hot core abundances of the 2C structural isomers methyl formate, acetic acid, and glycolaldehyde (52:2:1, respectively [Hollis et al. (2001)]) indicate that if they form on grains it is not from kinetically-controlled single-atom addition reactions. Likewise, the 3C aldose sugar, glyceraldehyde (CH2OHCHOHCHO), was not detected in Sgr B2(N-LMH) [Hollis et al. (2004)] while the 3C ketose sugar, dihydroxyacetone (CO(CH2OH)2) was detected in this source [Widicus Weaver & Blake (2005)]. Chemical pathways favoring the more stable carbonates over acids and aldehydes are required to explain these results. Interestingly, all of these species can be formed from reactions involving the abundant grain mantle constituents CO, HCOOH, and CH3OH and their radical precursors. A model has been developed to investigate this type of chemical network, and

  13. 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.

  14. Interstellar sulfur chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prasad, S. S.; Huntress, W. T., Jr.

    1980-01-01

    The results of a chemical model of SO, CS, and OCS chemistry in dense clouds are summarized. The results are obtained from a theoretical study of sulfur chemistry in dense interstellar clouds using a large-scale time-dependent model of gas-phase chemistry. Among the results are the following: (1) owing to activation energy, the reaction of CS with O atoms is efficient as a loss mechanism of CS during the early phases of cloud evolution or in hot and oxygen-rich sources such as the KL nebula; (2) if sulfur is not abnormally depleted in dense clouds, then the observed abundances of SO, SO2, H2S, CS, OCS, H2CS, and SiS indicate that sulfur is mostly atomic in dense clouds; and (3) OCS is stable against reactions with neutral atoms and radicals in dense clouds.

  15. 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.

  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. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    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 utilized 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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 ...

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Soft X-Ray Irradiation of Pure Carbon Monoxide Interstellar Ice Analogues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ciaravella, A.; Jiménez-Escobar, A.; Muñoz Caro, G. M.; Cecchi-Pestellini, C.; Candia, R.; Giarrusso, S.; Barbera, M.; Collura, A.

    2012-02-01

    There is an increasing evidence for the existence of large organic molecules in the interstellar and circumstellar medium. Very few among such species are readily formed in conventional gas-phase chemistry under typical conditions of interstellar clouds. Attention has therefore focused on interstellar ices as a potential source of these relatively complex species. Laboratory experiments show that irradiation of interstellar ice analogues by fast particles or ultraviolet radiation can induce significant chemical complexity. However, stars are sources of intense X-rays at almost every stage of their formation and evolution. Such radiation may thus provide chemical changes in regions where ultraviolet radiation is severely inhibited. After H2O, CO is often the most abundant component of icy grain mantles in dense interstellar clouds and circumstellar disks. In this work we present irradiation of a pure carbon monoxide ice using a soft X-ray spectrum peaked at 0.3 keV. Analysis of irradiated samples shows formation of CO2, C2O, C3O2, C3, C4O, and CO3/C5. Comparison of X-rays and ultraviolet irradiation experiments, of the same energy dose, shows that X-rays are more efficient than ultraviolet radiation in producing new species. With the exception of CO2, X-ray photolysis induces formation of a larger number of products with higher abundances, e.g., C3O2 column density is about one order of magnitude higher in the X-ray experiment. To our knowledge this is the first report on X-ray photolysis of CO ices. The present results show that X-ray irradiation represents an efficient photo-chemical way to convert simple ices to more complex species.

  6. Photoluminescence by Interstellar Dust

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vijh, U. P.

    2005-12-01

    In this dissertation talk, I will 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 λ peak ˜ 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. I will also present first results from ongoing work: 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. Financial support for this study was provided through NSF Grant AST0307307 to The University of Toledo.

  7. 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

  8. The IRAM-30 m line survey of the Horsehead PDR. III. High abundance of complex (iso-)nitrile molecules in UV-illuminated gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gratier, P.; Pety, J.; Guzmán, V.; Gerin, M.; Goicoechea, J. R.; Roueff, E.; Faure, A.

    2013-09-01

    Context. Complex (iso-)nitrile molecules, such as CH3CN and HC3N, are relatively easily detected in our Galaxy and in other galaxies. Aims: We aim at constraining their chemistry through observations of two positions in the Horsehead edge: the photo-dissociation region (PDR) and the dense, cold, and UV-shielded core just behind it. Methods: We systematically searched for lines of CH3CN, HC3N, C3N, and some of their isomers in our sensitive unbiased line survey at 3, 2, and 1 mm. We stacked the lines of C3N to improve the detectability of this species. We derived column densities and abundances through Bayesian analysis using a large velocity gradient radiative transfer model. Results: We report the first clear detection of CH3NC at millimeter wavelength. We detected 17 lines of CH3CN at the PDR and 6 at the dense core position, and we resolved its hyperfine structure for 3 lines. We detected 4 lines of HC3N, and C3N is clearly detected at the PDR position. We computed new electron collisional rate coefficients for CH3CN, andwe found that including electron excitation reduces the derived column density by 40% at the PDR position, where the electron density is 1-5 cm-3. While CH3CN is 30 times more abundant in the PDR (2.5 × 10-10) than in the dense core (8 × 10-12), HC3N has similar abundance at both positions (8 × 10-12). The isomeric ratio CH3NC/CH3CN is 0.15 ± 0.02. Conclusions: The significant amount of complex (iso-)nitrile molecule in the UV illuminated gas is puzzling as the photodissociation is expected to be efficient. This is all the more surprising in the case of CH3CN, which is 30 times more abundant in the PDR than in the dense core. In this case, pure gas phase chemistry cannot reproduce the amount of CH3CN observed in the UV-illuminated gas. We propose that CH3CN gas phase abundance is enhanced when ice mantles of grains are destroyed through photo-desorption or thermal-evaporation in PDRs, and through sputtering in shocks. Based on observations

  9. 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.

  10. 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. PMID:11538683

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. PMID:11536752

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. The 5-8 Micron Infrared Spectrum of the Galactic Center and the Composition of Interstellar Dust

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tielens, A. G. G. M.; Wooden, D. H.; Allamandola, L. J.; Bregman, J.; Witteborn, F. C.; Cuzzi, Jeffery N. (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    Interstellar dust is an important component of the interstellar medium which dominates the opacity and, hence, regulates radiative transfer, molecule formation, and thermal balance of the ISM. Much of our knowledge on the composition of interstellar dust results from infrared spect,oscopy. The extinction along the line of sight towards the galactic center is believed to be dominated by dust in the diffuse ISM. Because of the high extinction and high IR flux, IR spectra of galactic center sources have been a prime sampling ground for the characteristics of interstellar dust. We have obtained 5-8 micrometer spectra of the galactic center using the KAO. These spectra show absorption features at 5.5, 5.8, 6.1, and 6.8 micrometers. Together with features in the 3 micrometer region previously observed by us using the IRTF, these features are compared to laboratory spectra of candidate materials. We conclude that the 3.0 and 6.1 micrometer feature are carried by H2O, likely in the form of water of hydration in interstellar silicates. The 3.4, 5.5, 5.8, and 6.8 micrometer features are due to CH2, CH3 and C=O stretching and deformation modes in a hydrocarbon grain component. Comparing derived dust abundances, we conclude that silicates dominate the interstellar dust volume. Hydrocarbon and (small) graphite grains contribute each about 0.1. The remainder of the interstellar dust volume does not show strong IR absorption features and is likely in the form of large graphite, amorphous, carbon, or diamond grains.

  17. A search for interstellar pyrimidine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuan, Yi-Jehng; Yan, Chi-Hung; Charnley, Steven B.; Kisiel, Zbigniew; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Huang, Hui-Chun

    2003-10-01

    We have searched three hot molecular cores for submillimetre emission from the nucleic acid building block pyrimidine. We obtain upper limits to the total pyrimidine (beam-averaged) column densities towards Sgr B2(N), Orion KL and W51 e1/e2 of 1.7 × 1014, 2.4 × 1014 and 3.4 × 1014 cm-2, respectively. The associated upper limits to the pyrimidine fractional abundances lie in the range (0.3-3) × 10-10. Implications of this result for interstellar organic chemistry, and for the prospects of detecting nitrogen heterocycles in general, are discussed briefly.

  18. Detection of the Carbon Monoxide Ion (CO+) in the Interstellar Medium and a Planetary Nebula

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Latter, William B.; Walker, Christopher K.; Maloney, Philip R.

    1993-01-01

    We report detection of the carbon monoxide ion (CO+) in the interstellar medium (Ml7SW) and a planetary nebula (NGC 7027). These detections are based on observations of three millimeter and submillimeter transitions in M17SW and one in NGC 7027. Chemical models suggest that CO+ should be most abundant where complex molecules are least likely to be present. In our search for CO+ we therefore minimized the chance of confusion while maximizing the probability of detection by observing regions whose chemistry is dominated by the effects of ultraviolet radiation.

  19. The violent interstellar medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mccray, R.; Snow, T. P., Jr.

    1979-01-01

    Observational evidence for high-velocity and high-temperature interstellar gas is reviewed. The physical processes that characterize this gas are described, including the ionization and emissivity of coronal gas, the behavior and appearance of high-velocity shocks, and interfaces between coronal gas and cooler interstellar gas. Hydrodynamical models for the action of supernova explosions and stellar winds on the interstellar medium are examined, and recent attempts to synthesize all the processes considered into a global model for the interstellar medium are discussed.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. H2 recombination on interstellar grains. [due to hydrogen atom chemisorption on graphite grains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barlow, M. J.; Silk, J.

    1976-01-01

    From a consideration of relevant theoretical and experimental data it is concluded that H atoms (but not H2 molecules) will be chemisorbed on interstellar graphite grains, with H2 formation proceeding efficiently for graphite grain temperatures less than 70 K. It is argued that graphite grains will act as the principal sites for H2 formation, with a formation rate of about 4 to the minus 17th cu cm per sec. Heating by H2 molecules formed by surface recombination is analyzed in the context of the available experimental data, and a heating rate is derived and compared with other suggested cloud heating mechanisms. It is concluded that H2 recombination will provide the largest heat source in diffuse clouds if the albedo of interstellar dust in the 912-1200 A region is high (about 0.9), whereas if the albedo in this wavelength region is lower (about 0.5), photoelectron ejection from grains will tend to predominate, and can explain observed cloud temperatures with a carbon depletion factor of approximately 2, a factor attributable to a normal interstellar abundance of graphite grains.

  7. Laboratory Studies of Interstellar PAH Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, Farid; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are now considered to be an important and ubiquitous component of the organic material in space. PAHs are found in a large variety of extraterrestrial materials such as interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and meteoritic materials. PAHs are also good candidates to account for the infrared emission bands (UIRs) and the diffuse interstellar optical absorption bands (DIBs) detected in various regions of the interstellar medium. The recent observations made with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) have confirmed the ubiquitous nature of the UIR bands and their carriers. PAHs are though to form through chemical reactions in the outflow from carbon-rich stars in a process similar to soot formation. Once injected in the interstellar medium, PAHs are further processed by the interstellar radiation field, interstellar shocks and energetic particles. A major, dedicated, laboratory effort has been undertaken over the past years to measure the physical and chemical characteristics of these complex molecules and their ions under experimental conditions that mimic the interstellar conditions. These measurements require collision-free conditions where the molecules and ions are cold and chemically isolated. The spectroscopy of PAHs under controlled conditions represents an essential diagnostic tool to study the evolution of extraterrestrial PAHs. The Astrochemistry Laboratory program will be discussed through its multiple aspects: objectives, approach and techniques adopted, adaptability to the nature of the problem(s), results and implications for astronomy as well as for molecular spectroscopy. A review of the data generated through laboratory simulations of space environments and the role these data have played in our current understanding of the properties of interstellar PAHs will be presented. The discussion will also introduce the newest generation of laboratory experiments that are currently being developed in order to provide a

  8. Molecular Spectroscopy in Astrophysics: Interstellar PAHs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, Farid; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are now considered to be an important and ubiquitous component of the organic material in space. PAHs are found in a large variety of extraterrestrial materials such as interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) and meteoritic materials. PAHs are also good candidates to account for the infrared emission bands (UIRs) and the diffuse interstellar optical absorption bands (DIBs) detected in various regions of the interstellar medium. The recent observations made with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) have confirmed the ubiquitous nature of the UIR bands and their carriers. PAHs are thought to form through chemical reactions in the outflow from carbon-rich stars in a process similar to soot formation. Once injected in the interstellar medium, PAHs are further processed by the interstellar radiation field, interstellar shocks and energetic particles. A long-term laboratory effort has been undertaken to measure the physical and chemical characteristics of these carbon molecules and their ions under experimental conditions that mimic the interstellar conditions. These measurements require collision-free conditions where the molecules and ions are cold and chemically isolated. The spectroscopy of PAHs under controlled conditions represents an essential diagnostic tool to study the evolution of extraterrestrial PAHs. The laboratory results will be discussed as well as the implications for astronomy and for molecular spectroscopy. A review of the data generated through laboratory simulations of space environments and the role these data have played in our current understanding of the properties of interstellar PAHs will be presented. We will also present the new generation of laboratory experiments that are currently being developed in order to provide a closer simulation of space environments and a better support to space missions.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. A New Tool for NMR Crystallography: Complete (13)C/(15)N Assignment of Organic Molecules at Natural Isotopic Abundance Using DNP-Enhanced Solid-State NMR.

    PubMed

    Märker, Katharina; Pingret, Morgane; Mouesca, Jean-Marie; Gasparutto, Didier; Hediger, Sabine; De Paëpe, Gaël

    2015-11-01

    NMR crystallography of organic molecules at natural isotopic abundance (NA) strongly relies on the comparison of assigned experimental and computed NMR chemical shifts. However, a broad applicability of this approach is often hampered by the still limited (1)H resolution and/or difficulties in assigning (13)C and (15)N resonances without the use of structure-based chemical shift calculations. As shown here, such difficulties can be overcome by (13)C-(13)C and for the first time (15)N-(13)C correlation experiments, recorded with the help of dynamic nuclear polarization. We present the complete de novo (13)C and (15)N resonance assignment at NA of a self-assembled 2'-deoxyguanosine derivative presenting two different molecules in the asymmetric crystallographic unit cell. This de novo assignment method is exclusively based on aforementioned correlation spectra and is an important addition to the NMR crystallography approach, rendering firstly (1)H assignment straightforward, and being secondly a prerequisite for distance measurements with solid-state NMR. PMID:26485326

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Presolar/Interstellar Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandford, Scott A.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    This talk will review much of our current understanding of the origins, nature, and evolution of materials in circumstellar and interstellar space. I will begin by familiarizing the audience with some of the nomenclature associated the field, reviewing the lifecycle of dust in space, and pointing out where the speakers that follow will address portions of the lifecycle in greater detail. I will then address the different techniques used to study interstellar materials, paying particular attention to (i) telescopic remote sensing of the dust currently in interstellar space, (ii) laboratory studies of individual interstellar grains found in meteorites and other extraterrestrial materials, and (iii) laboratory simulation experiments. To complete the talk, I will focus on the nature of interstellar organic compounds as a particular example of how these disparate techniques can be used to improve our understanding of interstellar matter. While interstellar organics will be addressed in general, particular attention will be made to that portion of the organic inventory that may play a role in the origin and evolution of life on planetary surfaces.

  2. Processing Mechanisms for Interstellar Ices: Connections to the Solar System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pendleton, Y. J.; Cuzzi, Jeffrey N. (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    The organic component of the interstellar medium, which has revealed itself through the ubiquitous 3.4 micrometers hydrocarbon absorption feature, is widespread throughout the disk of our galaxy and has been attributed to dust grains residing in the diffuse interstellar medium. The absorption band positions near 3.4 micrometers are characteristic of C-H stretching vibrations in the -CH3 and -CH2- groups of saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons associated with perturbing chemical groups. The production of complex molecules is thought to occur within dense molecular clouds when ice-mantled grains are processed by various energetic mechanisms. Studies of the processing of interstellar ices and the subsequent production of organic residues have relevance to studies of ices in the solar system, because primitive, icy solar system bodies such as those in the Kuiper belt are likely reservoirs of organic material, either preserved from the interstellar medium or produced in situ. Connections between the interstellar medium and the early solar nebula have long been a source of interest. A comparison of the interstellar organics and the Murchison meteorite illustrates the importance of probing the interstellar connection to the solar system, because although the carbonaceous meteorites are undoubtedly highly processed, they do retain specific interstellar signatures (such as diamonds, SiC grains, graphite and enriched D/H). The organic component, while not proven interstellar, has a remarkable similarity to the interstellar organics observed in over a dozen sightlines through our galaxy. This paper compares spectra from laboratory organics produced through the processing of interstellar ice analog materials with the high resolution infrared observations of the interstellar medium in order to investigate the mechanisms (such as ion bombardment, plasma processing, and UV photolysis) that may be producing the organics in the ISM.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Infrared maser emission from interstellar hydroxyl molecules

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pelzmann, R. F., Jr.

    1974-01-01

    The energy structure and transition rates of the OH radical were studied in rotational and vibrational energies to provide the basis for studies of the population distributions under various exciting mechanisms. The absorption of ultra-violet or near infrared radiation which might explain the microwave emission was examined, as well as the absorption of low temperature blackbody radiation and collisions with molecular hydrogen. The results of the population studies were applied to the transfer equation, and a model of a uniform spherical cloud of OH was used with the pumping process which occurs uniformly throughout the region. The emission is unsaturated and the intensity is an exponential function of the size of the cloud for high pumping rates, and the region of unsaturated emission shrinks for lower pumping rates until the entire region is saturated, the intensity then becoming a linear function of the size of the emitting cloud.

  6. 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.

  7. THz and mid-IR spectroscopy of interstellar ice analogs: methyl and carboxylic acid groups.

    PubMed

    Ioppolo, S; McGuire, B A; Allodi, M A; Blake, G A

    2014-01-01

    A fundamental problem in astrochemistry concerns the synthesis and survival of complex organic molecules (COMs) throughout the process of star and planet formation. While it is generally accepted that most complex molecules and prebiotic species form in the solid phase on icy grain particles, a complete understanding of the formation pathways is still largely lacking. To take full advantage of the enormous number of available THz observations (e.g., Herschel Space Observatory, SOFIA, and ALMA), laboratory analogs must be studied systematically. Here, we present the THz (0.3-7.5 THz; 10-250 cm(-1)) and mid-IR (400-4000 cm(-1)) spectra of astrophysically-relevant species that share the same functional groups, including formic acid (HCOOH) and acetic acid (CH3COOH), and acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) and acetone ((CH3)2CO), compared to more abundant interstellar molecules such as water (H2O), methanol (CH3OH), and carbon monoxide (CO). A suite of pure and mixed binary ices are discussed. The effects on the spectra due to the composition and the structure of the ice at different temperatures are shown. Our results demonstrate that THz spectra are sensitive to reversible and irreversible transformations within the ice caused by thermal processing, suggesting that THz spectra can be used to study the composition, structure, and thermal history of interstellar ices. Moreover, the THz spectrum of an individual species depends on the functional group(s) within that molecule. Thus, future THz studies of different functional groups will help in characterizing the chemistry and physics of the interstellar medium (ISM). PMID:25302394

  8. 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. PMID:27260809

  9. X-ray Haloes and Scattering by Interstellar Grains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dwek, Eliahu

    2003-01-01

    The presence of dust in the general interstellar medium is inferred f r o m the general extinction of starlight, the diffuse infrared emission, and the elemental abundance constraints. X-ray haloes around X-ray sources, produced by small angle scattering from intervening interstellar dust particles provide a new probe into the nature of interstellar dust. In this talk I will review the physics of X-ray scattering by dust particles, and present an analysis of dust properties around select X-ray sources.

  10. X-ray Haloes and Scattering by Interstellar Grains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dwek, Eliahu

    2003-01-01

    The presence of dust in the general interstellar medium is inferred from the general extinction of starlight, the diffuse infrared emission, and the elemental abundance constraints. X-ray haloes around X-ray sources, produced by small angle scattering from intervening interstellar dust particles provide a new probe into the nature of interstellar dust. In this talk I will review the physics of X-ray scattering by dust particles, and present an analysis of dust properties around select X-ray sources.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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)

  16. 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)

  17. A survey of interstellar molecular hydrogen. I

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Savage, B. D.; Drake, J. F.; Budich, W.; Bohlin, R. C.

    1977-01-01

    Data from the Copernicus satellite's ultraviolet telescope were used to survey column densities of atomic and molecular hydrogen from a large sample of early-type stars; these data have bearing on an eventual understanding of diffuse and dense interstellar clouds. Column densities are derived by fitting damping profiles to the observed spectra, most of which exhibit strong damping lines in the lower rotational levels surveyed. Plots of dust column density, fractional abundance of molecular hydrogen, and the logarithm of fractional abundance versus total gas column density are given for many of the stars; stars with abnormally large or small hydrogen column densities, as well as some distant stars at high galactic latitudes, are considered. Equilibrium and nonequilibrium theories accounting for the abundance of interstellar hydrogen are compared, and support is found in the data for an account which balances hydrogen formation on interstellar grains with destruction through photodissociation. Overall averages for atomic and molecular hydrogen levels in the galactic plane are also calculated.

  18. Formation of some of the bases of DNA in the interstellar space during the molecular cloud collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Majumdar, Liton; Chakrabarti, Sandip Kumar; Das, Ankan; Chakrabarti, Sonali

    2012-07-01

    Adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), thymine (T) are the major bases of DNA which forms the A-T, G-C base pairs in DNA. Several authors carried out theoretical modeling to explain the origin of some of the DNA bases. However, the rate coefficients for the formation of these purines, pyrimidines are largely unknown till date, only educated guesses were used, which occasionally gave rise to inaccuracy in predicting the final abundance of these bases. Till now, no pre-biotic molecules have been observed in the ISM with confidence. The aim of this paper is to first find out the empirical rate coefficients to form the interstellar bio-molecules by using quantum chemical theory. We then use these rates into our newly developed hydro-chemical model to find out the chemical evolution and the final abundances during the collapsing phase of a proto-star. We find that a significant amount of various species of bio-molecules could be produced during the collapsing phase of a proto-star, which might have clues for the origin of life on earth. We simulate the production of the bio-molecules from the scratch. Formation of bio-molecules via successive neutral-neutral, radical-radical/ion-molecular reactions are extensively studied. Time evolution of the biologically important species as well as how the production of these molecules varies with the depth of a cloud are discussed. Formation routes of the bio-molecules depend highly on the abundances of the reactive species and the rate coefficients involved in the reactions. Presence of grains may reduce the abundance in the gas phase further. Thus not only the pathways, the grain chemistry also decides the final abundances of most of these species. We carried out a comparative study between different pathways available for the synthesis of bio-molecules considered in our network (specifically adenine, alanine, glycine and serine). A comparison has been made between the model results with other theoretical models present in the

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. The Role of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Dense Cloud Absorption Features: The Last Major Unanswered Question in Interstellar Ice Spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chiar, Jean

    Interstellar dust plays a vital role in the star formation process and the eventual formation of planetary systems including our own. Ice mantles are an important component of the dust: reactions involving simple ices can create more complex (and astrobiologically interesting) molecules, and ices sublimated back into the gas phase influence the gas- phase chemistry. Although polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are commonly thought to be very abundant interstellar species and, as such, are likely to be important components of interstellar ices, their contribution to the infrared spectra and chemistry of ices in dense molecular clouds is an open question. This program makes extensive use of three major NASA-funded databases: the Spitzer archive, the 2MASS archive, and the NASA Ames PAH database in order to answer the last major unanswered question in interstellar ice spectroscopy: what role do PAHs play in contributing to unidentified absorption features observed in dense cloud spectra. PAHs are observed to be present and abundant in nearly all phases of the galactic and extragalactic interstellar medium. The evidence for the ubiquity of interstellar PAHs is the widespread well-known family of prominent emission bands at 3.28, 6.2, 7.7, 8.6, and 11.2 micron. To date, these PAH bands have been most easily detected in regions where individual gas phase PAH molecules (neutrals and ions) become highly vibrationally excited by the ambient radiation field. While PAHs and closely related aromatic materials should be present throughout dense interstellar regions, PAH emission is quenched in cold dark dense clouds. Also, in these regions, most PAHs should efficiently condense out onto dust grains, either as "pure" solids or as "guest molecules" in icy grain mantles, much as is the case for most other interstellar molecules. Thus, in dense molecular clouds, condensed PAHs will give rise to IR absorption bands rather than emission features. While PAH absorption has been

  6. Waves in Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kamaya, H.

    1998-03-01

    Many hydrodynamical researches have been developed. Especially, analysis of the compressible flow is significantly improved by interstellar physicists. To obtain sufficient appreciation, we should not analyze only the effect of self-gravity of the system but also consider the property of inhomogeneity of the interstellar medium. I stress that another hydrodynamical approach is appreciated. That is the multi-phase-flow method. In the astrophysical context, there are few preliminary works of it. I intend to develop it in more suitable method for the interstellar physics. This dissertation is only the first step for me. But, fundamental properties of the multi-phase-flow are presented, considering the effect of compressibility, self-(and/or mutual) gravity, and friction between two phases. All of these properties are generally important to examine the origin, destruction and the global distribution of interstellar medium. My motivation is trying to delve into the global properties of the interstellar medium. The method of multi-phase-flow has great advantage for my aim, and its usefulness has been shown in this thesis.

  7. 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.

  8. Prebiotically Important Molecules in Orion KL

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuan, Yi-Jehng; Chuang, Yo-Ling

    Many interstellar, complex organic molecules are known to be prebiotically important and have essential functions in terrestrial biochemistry. Observations of complex organic molecular species in molecular clouds can thus enable us to test the origin of the primitive organic material found in the Solar System. Interstellar pyrimidine and glycine, the building block of nucleic acid and the simplest amino acid, respectively, are key molecules for astrobiology and were both detected in meteorites and comets. Although the formation of prebiotic molecules in extraterrestrial environments and their contribution to prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life remains unsettled, the connection between interstellar organic chemistry, meteoritic pyrimidines and amino acids, and the emergence of life on the early Earth would be strengthened with the discovery of interstellar pyrimidine and glycine. We have therefore observed the Orion KL hot molecular core to search for interstellar pyrimidine and for the confirmation of interstellar glycine using the ALMA array. We will present some of the encouraging, positive results.

  9. 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.

  10. Time-dependent interstellar chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glassgold, A. E.

    1985-01-01

    Some current problems in interstellar chemistry are considered in the context of time-dependent calculations. The limitations of steady-state models of interstellar gas-phase chemistry are discussed, and attempts to chemically date interstellar clouds are reviewed. The importance of studying the physical and chemical properties of interstellar dust is emphasized. Finally, the results of a series of studies of collapsing clouds are described.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. The Evolution of Dust in the Multiphase Interstellar Medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oliversen, Ronald J. (Technical Monitor); Slavin, Jonathan

    2003-01-01

    Interstellar dust has a profound effect on the structure and evolution of the interstellar medium (ISM) and on the processes by which stars form from it. Dust obscures regions of star formation from view, and the uncertain quantities of elements in dust makes it difficult to measure accurately the abundances of the elements in low density regions. Despite the central importance of dust in astrophysics, we cannot answer some of the most basic questions about it: Why is it that most of the refractory elements are in dust grains? What determines the sizes of interstellar grains? It has been the goal of our proposed theoretical investigations to address these questions by studying the destruction of interstellar grains, and to develop observational diagnostics that can test the models we develop.

  14. 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.

  15. Interstellar Panspermia Reconsidered

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zubrin, R.

    The absence of free-living microorganisms simpler than bacteria on Earth is evidence that life did not originate on Earth, but immigrated. The question then arises as to whether life was imported from a point of origin in our solar system, most likely Mars, of whether the solar system was seeded from interstellar sources. The search for fossil or extant prebacterial organisms (prebacteria) on Mars can resolve this question. However, to understand the likelihood of interstellar panspermia, we also need to consider whether the Earth itself has served as an efficient source for the spread of microorganisms. Close encounters with other stars due to random stellar motion occur with a frequency of 1/20 Myr, in fair agreement with the observed frequency of major impact events and mass extinctions. Such events are estimated to eject unsterilized material into interstellar space at a time-averaged rate of 10 tonnes per year. A number of mechanisms for the interstellar dissemination of bacteria along with this material are considered. It is shown that transmission of microbial life from one solar system to another is highly probable.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. On the Formation of CO2 and Other Interstellar Ices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garrod, R. T.; Pauly, T.

    2011-07-01

    We investigate the formation and evolution of interstellar dust-grain ices under dark-cloud conditions, with a particular emphasis on CO2. We use a three-phase model (gas/surface/mantle) to simulate the coupled gas-grain chemistry, allowing the distinction of the chemically active surface from the ice layers preserved in the mantle beneath. The model includes a treatment of the competition between barrier-mediated surface reactions and thermal-hopping processes. The results show excellent agreement with the observed behavior of CO2, CO, and water ice in the interstellar medium. The reaction of the OH radical with CO is found to be efficient enough to account for CO2 ice production in dark clouds. At low visual extinctions, with dust temperatures gsim12 K, CO2 is formed by direct diffusion and reaction of CO with OH; we associate the resultant CO2-rich ice with the observational polar CO2 signature. CH4 ice is well correlated with this component. At higher extinctions, with lower dust temperatures, CO is relatively immobile and thus abundant; however, the reaction of H and O atop a CO molecule allows OH and CO to meet rapidly enough to produce a CO:CO2 ratio in the range ~2-4, which we associate with apolar signatures. We suggest that the observational apolar CO2/CO ice signatures in dark clouds result from a strongly segregated CO:H2O ice, in which CO2 resides almost exclusively within the CO component. Observed visual-extinction thresholds for CO2, CO, and H2O are well reproduced by depth-dependent models. Methanol formation is found to be strongly sensitive to dynamical timescales and dust temperatures.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. The prebiotic synthesis of amino acids - interstellar vs. atmospheric mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meierhenrich, U. J.; Muñoz Caro, G. M.; Schutte, W. A.; Barbier, B.; Arcones Segovia, A.; Rosenbauer, H.; Thiemann, W. H.-P.; Brack, A.

    2002-11-01

    Until very recently, prebiotic amino acids were believed to have been generated in the atmosphere of the early Earth, as successfully simulated by the Urey-Miller experiments. Two independent studies now identified ice photochemistry in the interstellar medium as a possible source of prebiotic amino acids. Ultraviolet irradiation of ice mixtures containing identified interstellar molecules (such as H2O, CO2, CO, CH3OH, and NH3) in the conditions of vacuum and low temperature found in the interstellar medium generated amino acid structures including glycine, alanine, serine, valine, proline, and aspartic acid. After warmup, hydrolysis and derivatization, our team was able to identify 16 amino acids as well as furans and pyrroles. Enantioselective analyses of the amino acids showed racemic mixtures. A prebiotic interstellar origin of amino acid structures is now discussed to be a plausible alternative to the Urey-Miller mechanism.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Hydrogenation of PAH molecules through interaction with hydrogenated carbonaceous grains.

    PubMed

    Thrower, John D; Friis, Emil E; Skov, Anders L; Jørgensen, Bjarke; Hornekær, Liv

    2014-02-28

    Carbonaceous materials contribute to a significant proportion of the interstellar dust inventory. Reactions on such grain surfaces are thought to play important roles in interstellar chemical networks. Of particular importance are reactions involving hydrogen atoms, and pathways to the formation of the most abundant molecular species, H2. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are an additional carbon reservoir, accounting for around 10% of the galactic carbon budget. Using thermal desorption and mass spectrometric techniques, we have investigated the interaction between PAH molecules and carbonaceous grain surfaces. We demonstrate that deuterium atoms adsorbed on graphite can react with adsorbed PAH molecules, forming superhydrogenated PAH species. Furthermore, by considering the number of D-atoms remaining bound to the graphite surface and the additional D-atoms in the observed superhydrogenated species, we see evidence for a significant release of deuterium from the graphite surface. We suggest that further reactive processes may be responsible for part of this deuterium loss, indicating that PAHs adsorbed on hydrogenated carbonaceous grains in warm interstellar environments may serve as a route to release H2 as well as forming superhydrogenated PAH species. PMID:24270708

  8. 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.

  9. Flux and composition of interstellar dust at Saturn from Cassini’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

    2016-04-01

    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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. On the nature of interstellar organic chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Charnley, Steven B.

    1997-01-01

    A theory for the origin of all organic molecules observed in regions of massive and low-mass star formation, as well as in dark molecular clouds is described. On dust grains, single atom addition reactions and stability of the intermediate radicals, mechanisms similar to those believed to form the organic component of the Murchison meteorite, lead to a very limited number of mantle compositions depending upon the degree of hydrogenation. The key step in the theory is the formation of the formyl radical by H atom addition (by quantum tunnelling) to CO. Subsequent H atom additions lead to formaldehyde and methanol, as previously suggested; C, N, and O atoms can also undergo additions to HCO. For increasing hydrogenation, the mantle types include one in which there is little contribution from formyl-initiated chemistry; one in which an acetylenic chain develops through C atom additions; and others where the acetylenic chain is increasingly hydrogenated to form aldehydes and alcohols. Following evaporation of grain mantles, such as occurs in protostellar hot cores, these molecules can form new organics, for example, by alkyl cation transfer from alcohols. In dark clouds, different mantles lead to different gas phase organics. This scenario accounts naturally for the formation of many interstellar organics for which none presently exists, predicts observable correlations between specific interstellar molecules, indicates the presence of many new organic molecules and why several others are not observed.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. The Local Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Redfield, S.

    2006-09-01

    The Local Interstellar Medium (LISM) is a unique environment that presents an opportunity to study general interstellar phenomena in great detail and in three dimensions. In particular, high resolution optical and ultraviolet spectroscopy have proven to be powerful tools for addressing fundamental questions concerning the physical conditions and three-dimensional (3D) morphology of this local material. After reviewing our current understanding of the structure of gas in the solar neighborhood, I will discuss the influence that the LISM can have on stellar and planetary systems, including LISM dust deposition onto planetary atmospheres and the modulation of galactic cosmic rays through the astrosphere --- the balancing interface between the outward pressure of the magnetized stellar wind and the inward pressure of the surrounding interstellar medium. On Earth, galactic cosmic rays may play a role as contributors to ozone layer chemistry, planetary electrical discharge frequency, biological mutation rates, and climate. Since the LISM shares the same volume as practically all known extrasolar planets, the prototypical debris disks systems, and nearby low-mass star-formation sites, it will be important to understand the structures of the LISM and how they may influence planetary atmospheres.

  17. 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

  18. Interstellar Grain Surface Chemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tielens, Alexander G. G. M.; Cuzzi, Jeffrey N. (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    Chemistry on grain surfaces plays an Important role in the formation of interstellar Ices, It can also influence the composition of the gas phase through outgassing near luminous, newly formed stars. This paper reviews the chemical processes taking place on Interstellar grain surfaces with the emphasis on those transforming CO into other hydrocarbons. At low, molecular cloud temperatures (approximately equal to 10K), physisorption processes dominate interstellar grain surface chemistry and GO is largely hydrogenated through reactions with atomic H and oxidized through reactions with atomic O. The former will lead to the formation of H2CO and CH3OH ices, while the latter results in CO2 ice. The observational evidence for these ices in molecular clouds will be discussed. Very close to protostars, the gas and grain temperatures are much higher (approximately equal to 500K) and chemisorption processes, including catalytic surface reactions, becomes important. This will be illustrated based upon our studies of the Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis of CH4 from CO on metallic surfaces. Likely, this process has played an important role in the early solar nebula. Observational consequences will be pointed out.

  19. 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.

  20. Carbon and oxygen isotope fractionation in dense interstellar clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1984-01-01

    It is pointed out that isotope fractionation as a result of chemical reactions is due to the small zero-point energy differences between reactants and products of isotopically distinct species. Only at temperatures near absolute zero does this energy difference become significant. Favorable conditions for isotope fractionation on the considered basis exist in space within dense interstellar clouds. Temperatures of approximately 10 K may occur in these clouds. Under such conditions, ion-molecule reactions have the potential to distribute isotopes of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen unequally among the interstellar molecules. The present investigation makes use of a detailed model of the time-dependent chemistry of dense interstellar clouds to study cosmological isotope fractionation. Attention is given to fractionation chemistry and the calculation of rate parameters, the isotope fractionation results, and a comparison of theoretical results with observational data.

  1. Stellar sources of the interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thielemann, F.-K.; Argast, D.; Brachwitz, F.; Martinez-Pinedo, G.; Oechslin, R.; Rauscher, T.; Hix, W. R.; Liebendörfer, M.; Mezzacappa, A.; Höflich, P.; Iwamoto, K.; Nomoto, K.; Schatz, H.; Wiescher, M. C.; Kratz, K.-L.; Pfeiffer, B.; Rosswog, S.

    With the exception of the Big Bang, responsible for 1,2 H, 3,4 He, and 7 Li, stars act as sources for the composition of the interstellar medium. Cosmic rays are related to the latter and very probably due to acceleration of the mixed interstellar medium by shock waves from supernova remnants. Thus, the understanding of the abundance evolution in the interstellar medium and especially the enrichment of heavy elements, as a function of space and time, is essential. It reflects the history of star formation and the lifetimes of the diverse contributing stellar objects. Therefore, the understanding of the endpoints of stellar evolution is essential as well. These are mainly planetary nebulae and type II/Ib/Ic supernovae as evolutionary endpoints of single stars, but also events in binary systems can contribute, like e.g. supernovae of type Ia, novae and possibly X-ray bursts and neutron star or neutron star - black hole mergers. Despite many efforts, a full and self-consistent understanding of supernovae (the main contributors to nucleosynthesis in galaxies) is not existing, yet. Their fingerprints, however, seen either in spectra, lightcurves, radioactivities/decay gamma-rays or in galactic evolution, can help to constrain the composition of their ejecta and related model uncertainties.

  2. 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).

  3. 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,...

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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)).

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Discovery of Interstellar Heavy Water

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butner, H. M.; Charnley, S. B.; Ceccarelli, C.; Rodgers, S. D.; Pardo, J. R.; Parise, B.; Cernicharo, J.; Davis, G. R.

    2007-04-01

    We report the discovery of doubly deuterated water (D2O, heavy water) in the interstellar medium. Using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory 10 m telescope, we detected the 110-101 transition of para-D2O at 316.7998 GHz in both absorption and emission toward the protostellar binary system IRAS 16293-2422. Assuming that the D2O exists primarily in the warm regions where water ices have been evaporated (i.e., in a ``hot corino'' environment), we determine a total column density of N(D2O) of 1.0×1013 cm-2 and a fractional abundance of D2O/H2=1.7×10-10. The derived column density ratios for IRAS 16293-2422 are D2O/HDO=1.7×10-3 and D2O/H2O=5×10-5 for the hot corino gas. Steady state models of water ice formation, either in the gas phase or on grains, predict D2O/HDO ratios that are about 4 times larger than that derived from our observations. For water formation on grain surfaces to be a viable explanation, a larger H2O abundance than that measured in IRAS 16293-2422 is required. Alternatively, the observed D2O/HDO ratio could be indicative of gas-phase water chemistry prior to a chemical steady state being attained, such as would have occurred during the formation of this source. Future observations with the Herschel Space Observatory satellite will be important for settling this issue.

  13. 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.

  14. Thermal phases of interstellar and quasar gas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lepp, S.; Mccray, R.; Shull, J. M.; Woods, D. T.; Kallman, T.

    1985-01-01

    Interstellar gas may be in a variety of thermal phases, depending on how it is heated and ionized; here a unified picture of the equation of state of interstellar and quasar gas is presented for a variety of such mechanisms over a broad range of temperatures, densities, and column densities of absorbing matter. It is found that for select ranges of gas pressure, photoionizing flux, and heating, three thermally stable phases are allowed: coronal gas (T above 100,000 K); warm gas (T about 10,000 K); and cold gas (T less than 100 K). With attenuation of ultraviolet and X-ray radiation, the cold phase may undergo a transition to molecules. In quasar broad-line clouds, this transition occurs at column density N(H) = about 10 to the 23rd/sq cm and could result in warm molecular cores and observable emission from H2 and OH. The underlying atomic physics behind each of these phase transitions and their relevance to interstellar matter and quasars are discussed.

  15. Formation of water in the interstellar medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vidali, Gianfranco; Jing, Dapeng; He, Jiao

    2012-07-01

    The formation of water in the interstellar medium is an important topic of research nowadays because water plays key roles in the cooling of collapsing clouds and, while condensed in ices that cover dust grains, in the formation and storage of molecules of biogenic interest. Furthermore, how water interacts with grains is of importance in understanding the delivery of water to planetary bodies. Water formation occurs largely on dust grains. In the last couple of years, a few laboratories have explored the network of reactions that lead to the formation of water on grain analogs. There are three main branches of this network^1: hydrogenation of O_2, hydrogenation of O_3, and O+H reactions. In our laboratory we studied the formation of water on amorphous silicate films by the interaction of hydrogen and oxygen atoms^2. We will also present measurements of the diffusion of oxygen atoms on amorphous silicate surfaces. Financial support from the NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Division (grant No. 0908108) is gratefully acknowledged. We like to thank Dr. Brucato and his team (Astrophysical Observatory of Arcetri, Italy) for providing the samples. Tielens, A. G. G. M., & Hagen, W. 1982 ``Model calculations of the molecular composition of interstellar grain mantles'' Astron.& Astrophys., 114, 245. Jing, D., He, J., Brucato, J., De Sio, A., Tozzetti, L. & Vidali, G. 2011 ``On water formation in the interstellar medium: laboratory study of the O+D reaction on surfaces'' Astrophys.J., 741, L9.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Interstellar Dust Instrumentation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sternovsky, Zoltan; Gruen, E.; Horanyi, M.; Drake, K.; Collette, A.; Kempf, S.; Srama, R.; Postberg, F.; Krueger, H.; Auer, S.

    2010-10-01

    Interstellar grains traversing the inner planetary system have been identified by the Ulysses dust detector. Space dust detectors on other missions confirmed this finding. Analysis of the Stardust collectors is under way to search for and analyze such exotic grains. Interstellar dust particles can be detected and analyzed in the near-Earth space environment. New instrumentation has been developed to determine the origin of dust particles and their elemental composition. A Dust Telescope is a combination of a Dust Trajectory Sensor (DTS, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 79, 084501, 2008) together with a high mass resolution mass analyzer for the chemical composition of dust particles in space. Dust particles' trajectories are determined by the measurement of induced electric signals when a charged grain flies through a position sensitive electrode system. A modern DTS can measure dust particles as small as 0.2 micron in radius and dust speeds up to 100 km/s. Large area chemical analyzers of 0.1 m2 sensitive area have been tested at a dust accelerator and it was demonstrated that they have sufficient mass resolution to resolve ions with atomic mass number up to >100 (Earth, Moon and Planets, DOI: 10.1007/s11038-005-9040-z, 2005; Rev. Sci. Instrum. 78, 014501, 2007). The advanced Dust Telescope is capable of identifying interstellar and interplanetary grains, and measuring their mass, velocity vector, charge, elemental and isotopic compositions. An Active Dust Collector combines a DTS with an aerogel or other dust collector materials, e.g. like the ones used on the Stardust mission. The combination of a DTS with a dust collector provides not only individual trajectories of the collected particles but also their impact time and position on the collector which proves essential in finding collected sub-micron sized grains on the collector.

  1. 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.

  2. The Interstellar Heliopause Probe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyngvi, A.; Falkner, P.; Peacock, A.

    The Interstellar Heliopause Probe (IHP) is one of four Technology Reference Missions (TRM) introduced by the Planetary Exploration Studies Section of the Science Payload & Advanced Concepts Office (SCI-A) at ESA. The overall purpose of the TRMs is to focus the development of strategically important technologies of likely relevance to future science missions. This is accomplished through the study of several technologically demanding and scientifically interesting missions, which are currently not part of the ESA science programme. The TRM baseline uses small satellites (< 200kg), with highly miniaturized and highly integrated payload suites. The motivation for this is to use low resource spacecraft in a phased approach, which will reduce the risk and cost, compared to a single, high resource mission. Equipped with a Highly Integrated Payload Suite (HIPS) the IHP will answer scientific questions concerning the nature of the interstellar medium, how the interstellar medium affects our solar system and how the solar system impacts the interstellar medium. The HIPS, which is a standard element in all TRMs miniaturize through resource reduction, by using miniaturized components and sensors, and by sharing common structures and payload functionality. To achieve the scientific requirements of the mission the spacecraft is to leave the solar system as close to the heliosphere nose as possible and reach a distance of 200 AU from the Sun within 25 years. The requirement of all TRMs is to use a Souyz-Fregat version 2B or equivalent low cost launch vehicle. With this constraint no current propulsion system is capable of delivering the necessary mass to the final destination. Technologies are therefore needed to enable this mission. The current alternatives are using nuclear propulsion, either with radioisotope or reactor power system or solar sailing. All these alternatives are currently being investigated. Other challenges exist as well such as designing a communication link

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. IUE Observations of the Gaseous Component of the Local Interstellar Medium

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilra, D. P.

    1984-01-01

    Discovery of interstellar Ge, Ga, and Kr is reported. Several intercombination lines of Fe 2 are detected. The depletion is most pronounced in Ca, Ti, and V. The highly ionized gas C 4 and Si 4 is not co-extensive with the Si 2 and C 2 gas nor with the O 6 gas. The molecular gas (CO) shows very small velocity dispersion (b approximately 1 km/sec). HD 149404 has the richest interstellar spectrum (except molecules) of all the stars in this study. HD 147889, the heavily obscured star in the Rho Oph cloud, has the strongest interstellar CO spectrum. Noisy nature of the spectra precludes detection of other molecules.

  6. Deuterium hyperfine structure in interstellar C3HD

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, M. B.; Watson, J. K.; Feldman, P. A.; Matthews, H. E.; Madden, S. C.; Irvine, W. M.

    1987-01-01

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. The diffuse interstellar bands: a tracer for organics in the diffuse interstellar medium?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Salama, F.

    1998-01-01

    The diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) are absorption bands seen in the spectra of stars obscured by interstellar dust. DIBs are recognized as a tracer for free, organic molecules in the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM). The potential molecular carriers for the DIBs are discussed with an emphasis on neutral and ionized polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) for which the most focused effort has been made to date. From the combined astronomical, laboratory and theoretical study, it is concluded that a distribution of free neutral and ionized complex organics (PAHs, fullerenes, unsaturated hydrocarbons) represents the most promising class of candidates to account for the DIBs. The case for aromatic hydrocarbons appears particularly strong. The implied widespread distribution of complex organics in the diffuse ISM bears profound implications for our understanding of the chemical complexity of the ISM, the evolution of prebiotic molecules and its impact on the origin and the evolution of life on early Earth through the exogenous delivery (cometary encounters and metoritic bombardments) of prebiotic organics.

  9. 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.

  10. Interstellar Travel without 'Magic'

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodcock, G.

    The possibility of interstellar space travel has become a popular subject. Distances of light years are an entirely new realm for human space travel. New means of propulsion are needed. Speculation about propulsion has included "magic", space warps, faster-than-light travel, known physics such as antimatter for which no practical implementation is known and also physics for which current research offers at least a hint of implementation, i.e. fusion. Performance estimates are presented for the latter and used to create vehicle concepts. Fusion propulsion will mean travel times of hundreds of years, so we adopt the "space colony" concepts of O'Neill as a ship design that could support a small civilization indefinitely; this provides the technical means. Economic reasoning is presented, arguing that development and production of "space colony" habitats for relief of Earth's population, with addition of fusion engines, will lead to vessels that can go interstellar. Scenarios are presented and a speculative estimate of a timetable is given.

  11. Interstellar Cloud Collisions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lattanzio, J. C.; Monaghan, J. J.; Pongracic, H.; Schwarz, M. P.

    1985-07-01

    We describe the results of a three-dimensional numerical simulation of isothermal interstellar clouds in the absence of magnetic fields. A wide variety of high and low Mach number, head-on and off-centre collisions of clouds with mass ratios 1, 2.5, 5.0 and 10.1 have been studied. The results show that a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the gravitational instability of a substantial fraction of the matter is that the initial clouds should be either marginally stable or unstable according to the usual Jeans criterion. The collisions, in general, do not result in one or more clouds. Instead we find, in most cases, that the matter disperses in an irregular way. The calculations therefore suggest that if the initial state of the interstellar medium is one of cool dense clouds in a hotter more tenuous background, collisions will rapidly mix the medium rather than produce a steady-state spectrum of cool clouds.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Evolution of interstellar dust and stardust in the solar neighbourhood

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhukovska, S.; Gail, H.-P.; Trieloff, M.

    2008-02-01

    Aims:We studied the evolution of the abundance in interstellar dust species that originate in stellar sources and from condensation in molecular clouds in the local interstellar medium of the Milky Way. We determined from this the input of dust material to the Solar System. Methods: A one-zone chemical evolution model of the Milky Way for the elemental composition of the disk combined with an evolution model for its interstellar dust component similar to that of Dwek (1998) is developed. The dust model considers dust-mass return from AGB stars as calculated from synthetic AGB models combined with models for dust condensation in stellar outflows. Supernova dust formation is included in a simple parametrised form that is gauged by observed abundances of presolar dust grains with a supernova origin. For dust growth in the ISM, a simple method is developed for coupling this with disk and dust evolution models. Results: A chemical evolution model of the solar neighbourhood in the Milky Way is calculated, which forms the basis for calculating a model of the evolution of the interstellar dust population at the galactocentric radius of the Milky Way. The model successfully passes all standard tests for the reliability of such models. In particular the abundance evolution of the important dust-forming elements is compared with observational results for the metallicity-dependent evolution of the abundances for G-type stars from the solar neighbourhood. It is found that the new tables of Nomoto et al. (2006) for the heavy element production give much better results for the abundance evolution of these important elements than the widely used tables of Woosley & Weaver (1995). The time evolution for the abundance of the following dust species is followed in the model: silicate, carbon, silicon carbide, and iron dust from AGB stars and from supernovae, as well as silicate, carbon, and iron dust grown in molecular clouds. It is shown that the interstellar dust population is

  15. Modeling of Dust Evolution in the Interstellar Medium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhukovska, S.; Gail, H.-P.

    2009-12-01

    We study the origin and evolution of interstellar dust in the Milky Way using a multicomponent dust model that considers the individual evolutions of stardust and of dust condensed in molecular clouds of the Galactic disk. We include dust production by AGB stars in detail, using the results of synthetic AGB models combined with models of dust condensation in stellar outflows, and estimate the efficiency of dust condensation in supernovae by matching model results for the Solar neighborhood with observed abundances of presolar dust grains of supernova origin. Our results indicate that supernovae produce mainly carbon dust, with only small amounts of silicates, iron and silicon carbonate. We show that the interstellar dust population is dominated by dust grown in the interstellar medium across the Galactic history; moreover, dust formed in AGB stars and supernovae is a dominant source of dust only at metallicities lower than the minimal value for efficient dust growth in molecular clouds.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Microwave and millimeter wave astrochemistry: Laboratory studies of transition metal-containing free radicals and spectroscopic observations of molecular interstellar environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adande, Gilles Rapotchombo

    Progress in our understanding of the chemical composition of the interstellar medium leans both on laboratory analyses of high resolution rotational spectra from molecules that may be present in these regions, and on radio astronomical observations of molecular tracers to constrain astrochemical models. Due to the thermodynamic conditions in outer space, some molecules likely to be found in interstellar regions in relevant abundances are open shell radicals. In a series of laboratory studies, the pure rotational spectra of the transition metal containing radicals sulfur species ScS, YS, VS and ZnSH were obtained for the first time. In addition to accurate and precise rest frequencies for these species, bonding characteristics were determined from fine and hyperfine molecular parameters. It was found that these sulfides have a higher degree of covalent bonding than their mostly ionic oxide counterparts. Isomers and isotope ratios are excellent diagnostic tools for a variety of astrochemical models. From radio observations of isotopes of nitrile species, the galactic gradient of 14N/15N was accurately established. A further study of this ratio in carbon rich asymptotic giant branch stars provided observational evidence for an unknown process in J type carbon stars, and highlighted the need to update stellar nucleosynthesis models. Proper radiative transfer modeling of the emission spectra of interstellar molecules can yield a wealth of information about the abundance and distribution of these species within the observed sources. To model the asymmetric emission of SO and SO2 in oxygen-rich supergiants, an in-house code was developed, and successfully applied to gain insight into circumstellar sulfur chemistry of VY Canis Majoris. It was concluded that current astrochemistry kinetic models, based on spherical symmetry assumptions, need to be revisited.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. PMID:11538086

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. Very Small Interstellar Spacecraft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peck, Mason A.

    2007-02-01

    This paper considers lower limits of length scale in spacecraft: interstellar vehicles consisting of little more material than found in a typical integrated-circuit chip. Some fundamental scaling principles are introduced to show how the dynamics of the very small can be used to realize interstellar travel with minimal advancements in technology. Our recent study for the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts provides an example: the use of the Lorentz force that acts on electrically charged spacecraft traveling through planetary and stellar magnetospheres. Schaffer and Burns, among others, have used Cassini and Voyager imagery to show that this interaction is responsible for some of the resonances in the orbital dynamics of dust in Jupiter's and Saturn's rings. The Lorentz force turns out to vary in inverse proportion to the square of this characteristic length scale, making it a more effective means of propelling tiny spacecraft than solar sailing. Performance estimates, some insight into plasma interactions, and some hardware concepts are offered. The mission architectures considered here involve the use of these propellantless propulsion techniques for acceleration within our solar system and deceleration near the destination. Performance estimates, some insight into plasma interactions, and some hardware concepts are offered. The mission architectures considered here involve the use of these propellantless propulsion techniques for acceleration within our solar system and deceleration near the destination. We might envision a large number of such satellites with intermittent, bursty communications set up as a one-dimensional network to relay signals across great distances using only the power likely from such small spacecraft. Conveying imagery in this fashion may require a long time because of limited power, but the prospect of imaging another star system close-up ought to be worth the wait.

  15. 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 Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flynn, George J.; Sutton, Steven R.; Lai, Barry; Wirick, Sue; Allen, Carlton; Anderson, David; Ansari, Asna; Bajt, SašA.; Bastien, Ron K.; Bassim, Nabil; Bechtel, Hans A.; Borg, Janet; Brenker, Frank E.; Bridges, John; Brownlee, Donald E.; Burchell, Mark; Burghammer, Manfred; Butterworth, Anna L.; Changela, Hitesh; Cloetens, Peter; Davis, Andrew M.; Doll, Ryan; Floss, Christine; Frank, David; Gainsforth, Zack; Grün, Eberhard; Heck, Philipp R.; Hillier, Jon K.; Hoppe, Peter; Hudson, Bruce; Huth, Joachim; Hvide, Brit; Kearsley, Anton; King, Ashley J.; Leitner, Jan; Lemelle, Laurence; Leroux, Hugues; Leonard, Ariel; Lettieri, Robert; Marchant, William; Nittler, Larry R.; Ogliore, Ryan; Ong, Wei Ja; Postberg, Frank; Price, Mark C.; Sandford, Scott A.; Tresseras, Juan-Angel Sans; Schmitz, Sylvia; Schoonjans, Tom; Silversmit, Geert; Simionovici, Alexandre; Sol, Vicente A.; Srama, Ralf; Stadermann, Frank J.; Stephan, Thomas; Sterken, Veerle; Stodolna, Julien; Stroud, Rhonda M.; Trieloff, Mario; Tsou, Peter; Tsuchiyama, Akira; Tyliszczak, Tolek; Vekemans, Bart; Vincze, Laszlo; von Korff, Joshua; Westphal, Andrew J.; Wordsworth, Naomi; Zevin, Daniel; Zolensky, Michael E.

    2014-09-01

    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 ≤ Z ≤ 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. New interstellar molecular transitions in the 2 millimeter range

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollis, J. M.; Snyder, L. E.; Blake, D. H.; Lovas, F. J.; Suenram, R. D.; Ulich, B. L.

    1981-01-01

    A Sgr B2 kinetic temperature of about 47 K is derived based on observations of K components of the 9K-8K transition of CH3CCH. Interstellar line emission is detected in the 2 mm wavelength region from SO, (S-34)O, SO2, CH3OH, CH3CCH, CH3CH2CN, HC3N, and nine unidentified transitions. The methylacetylene K component data combined with the derived data reduction technique, demonstrates the utility of the molecule as a temperature probe of molecular clouds when two or more rotational transitions are observed. Evidence for the existence of interstellar HNO is presented, and an attempt is made to detect sulfuric acid, formic anhydride, and the 0-18 isotopic for CO2 in interstellar clouds and in the Venusian atmosphere during inferior conjunction.

  19. Microwave to Submillimeter Observations of Molecules in the Laboratory and in Space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Halfen, DeWayne

    2013-06-01

    The primary method of identifying molecular species in interstellar space is radio astronomy. Observations performed at radio telescopes are based on high-resolution laboratory measurements of the pure rotational spectrum of a molecule. With this technique, over 150 different chemical compounds have been securely detected in interstellar gas. High-resolution rotational spectra have accuracies of one part in 107 - 108, and provide the characteristic frequencies that are used to search for these species. Rotational spectra are typically recorded using direct absorption methods, Fourier transform microwave/millimeter-wave spectroscopy, and velocity modulation techniques. Also exotic synthesis methods, such as DC and AC glow discharges, pulsed supersonic jet expansions, laser ablation, and Broida-type ovens, are often required to produce these molecules. Recent laboratory and astronomical studies have expanded set of molecules that are now known in interstellar/circumstellar gas. The first negative molecular ions have been detected in cold, dark clouds and circumstellar envelopes. The iron-bearing species FeCN was also recently measured in the laboratory and discovered in the gas surrounding a carbon-rich AGB star, the first iron-containing species found in space. New observations of oxygen-rich stars have shown that metal-bearing oxides and hydroxides are also abundant circumstellar species in these environments. These new discoveries, as well as recent laboratory results for other potential interstellar species, will also be presented, in particular those for ScO, ScC2, and AlC2. In addition, the need for more measurements of metal-containing molecules will be discussed.

  20. 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.

  1. Uranian H Ly-alpha emission - The interstellar wind source

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yelle, R. V.; Sandel, B. R.

    1986-01-01

    IUE observation of Uranian emissions in hydrogen Lyman alpha (H Ly-alpha) over the past four years have recently been summarized by Clarke et al. (1985). Over this time period they find an average H Ly-alpha brightness of 1260 R which they estimate is composed of 200 R of solar scattered radiation and 1060 R from a collisional source. A third component, not considered by previous authors, is the reflection of H Ly-alpha emissions from the interstellar wind. Hydrogen in the interstellar wind forms an extended source of H Ly-alpha whose importance relative to the solar flux increases with distance from the sun. The present paper demonstrates that scattering of interstellar H Ly-alpha is more important than scattering of solar H Ly-alpha for reasonable values of H column abundance and, in fact, may make up 10-40 percent of the observed signal. Large H column abundances are still required to explain the H Ly-alpha brightness solely on the basis of resonant scattering; therefore it is likely that the emissions are due in part to collisional sources and in part to the scattering of interstellar H Ly-alpha with solar scattering playing a minor role.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. A new model of composite interstellar grains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voshchinnikov, N. V.; Il'in, V. B.; Henning, Th.; Dubkova, D. N.

    The approach to model composite interstellar dust grains using the exact solution to the light scattering problem for multi-layered spheras suggested by Voshchinnikov & Mathis (1999) is further developed. Heterogeneous scatterers are represented by particles with very large numof shells each including a homogeneous layer per material considered (here amorphous carbon, astronomical silicate and vacuum). It is demonstrated that the scattering characteristics (cross-sections, albedo, asymmetry factor, etc.) well converge with the increase of the number of shells (layers) and each of the characteristics has the same limit independent of the layer order in the shells. The limit obviously corresponds to composite particles consisting of several well mixed materials. However, our results indicate that layered particles with even a few shells (layers) have the characteristics close enough to these limits. The applicability of the effective medium theory (EMT) mostly utilized earlier to approximate inhomogeneous interstellar grains is examined on the base of the model. It is shown that the used EMT rules generally have the accuracy of several percents in the whole range of particle sizes provided the porosity does not exceed about 50%. For larger porosity, the rules give wrong results. Using the model we reanalyze basics of interpretation of various manifestations of cosmic dust --- interstellar extinction, scattered radiation, infrared radiation, radiation pressure, etc. It is found that an increase of porosity typically leads to the increase of cross-sections, albedo and the sweeping efficiency of small grains as well as to the decrease of dust temperature and the strength of infrared bands (the EMT fails to produce these effects). We also conclude that pure iron even in negligible amount (<˜1 % by the volume fractis unlikely to form a layer on or inside a grain because of peculiar absorption of radiation by such particles. As an example of the potential of the model, it

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Submillimeter Spectroscopy of Hydride Molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phillips, T. G.

    1998-05-01

    Simple hydride molecules are of great importance in astrophysics and astrochemistry. Physically they dominate the cooling of dense, warm phases of the ISM, such as the cores and disks of YSOs. Chemically they are often stable end points of chemical reactions, or may represent important intermediate stages of the reaction chains, which can be used to test the validity of the process. Through the efforts of astronomers, physicists, chemists, and laboratory spectroscopists we have an approximate knowledge of the abundance of some of the important species, but a great deal of new effort will be required to achieve the comprehensive and accurate data set needed to determine the energy balance and firmly establish the chemical pathways. Due to the low moment of inertia, the hydrides rotate rapidly and so have their fundamental spectral lines in the submillimeter. Depending on the cloud geometry and temperature profile they may be observed in emission or absorption. Species such as HCl, HF, OH, CH, CH(+) , NH_2, NH_3, H_2O, H_2S, H_3O(+) and even H_3(+) have been detected, but this is just a fraction of the available set. Also, most deduced abundances are not nearly sufficiently well known to draw definitive conclusions about the chemical processes. For example, the most important coolant for many regions, H_2O, has a possible range of deduced abundance of a factor of 1000. The very low submillimeter opacity at the South Pole site will be a significant factor in providing a new capabilty for interstellar hydride spectroscopy. The new species and lines made available in this way will be discussed.

  8. 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

  9. High Resolution UV Emission Spectroscopy of Molecules Excited by Electron Impact

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    James, G. K.; Ajello, J. M.; Beegle, L.; Ciocca, M.; Dziczek, D.; Kanik, I.; Noren, C.; Jonin, C.; Hansen, D.

    1999-01-01

    Photodissociation via discrete line absorption into predissociating Rydberg and valence states is the dominant destruction mechanism of CO and other molecules in the interstellar medium and molecular clouds. Accurate values for the rovibronic oscillator strengths of these transitions and predissociation yields of the excited states are required for input into the photochemical models that attempt to reproduce observed abundances. We report here on our latest experimental results of the electron collisional properties of CO and N2 obtained using the 3-meter high resolution single-scattering spectroscopic facility at JPL.

  10. Photodissociation Regions in the Interstellar Medium of Galaxies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollenbach, David J.; Tielens, A. G. G. M.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    1999-01-01

    The interstellar medium of galaxies is the reservoir out of which stars are born and into which stars inject newly created elements as they age. The physical properties of the interstellar medium are governed in part by the radiation emitted by these stars. Far-ultraviolet (6 eV less than h(nu) less than 13.6 eV) photons from massive stars dominate the heating and influence the chemistry of the neutral atomic gas and much of the molecular gas in galaxies. Predominantly neutral regions of the interstellar medium in which the heating and chemistry are regulated by far ultraviolet photons are termed Photo-Dissociation Regions (PDRs). These regions are the origin of most of the non-stellar infrared (IR) and the millimeter and submillimeter CO emission from galaxies. The importance of PDRs has become increasingly apparent with advances in IR and submillimeter astronomy. The IR emission from PDRs includes fine structure lines of C, C+, and O; rovibrational lines of H2, rotational lines of CO; broad middle features of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; and a luminous underlying IR continuum from interstellar dust. The transition of H to H2 and C+ to CO occurs within PDRs. Comparison of observations with theoretical models of PDRs enables one to determine the density and temperature structure, the elemental abundances, the level of ionization, and the radiation field. PDR models have been applied to interstellar clouds near massive stars, planetary nebulae, red giant outflows, photoevaporating planetary disks around newly formed stars, diffuse clouds, the neutral intercloud medium, and molecular clouds in the interstellar radiation field-in summary, much of the interstellar medium in galaxies. Theoretical PDR models explain the observed correlations of the [CII] 158 microns with the COJ = 1-0 emission, the COJ = 1-0 luminosity with the interstellar molecular mass, and the [CII] 158 microns plus [OI] 63 microns luminosity with the IR continuum luminosity. On a more global

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. High Resolution Laboratory Spectroscopy: Unraveling the Secrets of Interstellar Chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziurys, Lucy M.

    2008-05-01

    At present, over 140 different chemical compounds have been identified in interstellar and circumstellar gas. Such observations have offered a unique avenue by which to probe the cold, dense regions in our Galaxy and in external galaxies. Because these molecules are primarily present in colder material, they are usually studied at high spectral resolutions (1 part in 106-107) via their pure rotational transitions, which typically occur at millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelengths. Such studies cannot be carried out, however, without the input of high resolution laboratory spectroscopy. Such measurements provide the "fingerprint” spectral pattern critical for accurate astronomical identifications. Because of the complexity of current interstellar spectra and the propensity of unidentified features, precise laboratory data are essential. Current methods employed in the laboratory for high resolution measurements include millimeter/sub-mm direct absorption, velocity modulation, and Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy (FTMW). Each of these experimental techniques has certain unique advantages, which will be discussed. Also of importance are the synthetic methods utilized to create the radicals, ions, and other transient species typically found in interstellar space. Such molecules are generated in DC and AC glow discharges, pulsed supersonic jet expansions, and using Broida-type ovens. In addition, spectral analyses can be quite complex, in particular if there are low lying excited torsional or electronic states, or if molecular inversion is present. Recent laboratory results for potential interstellar species will also be presented, in particular those for negative ions, phosphorus-bearing radicals, and organic "prebiotic” species.

  14. Dust formation in a galaxy with primitive abundances.

    PubMed

    Sloan, G C; Matsuura, M; Zijlstra, A A; Lagadec, E; Groenewegen, M A T; Wood, P R; Szyszka, C; Bernard-Salas, J; van Loon, J Th

    2009-01-16

    Interstellar dust plays a crucial role in the evolution of galaxies. It governs the chemistry and physics of the interstellar medium. In the local universe, dust forms primarily in the ejecta from stars, but its composition and origin in galaxies at very early times remain controversial. We report observational evidence of dust forming around a carbon star in a nearby galaxy with a low abundance of heavy elements, 25 times lower than the solar abundance. The production of dust by a carbon star in a galaxy with such primitive abundances raises the possibility that carbon stars contributed carbonaceous dust in the early universe. PMID:19150838

  15. Desorption from interstellar grains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leger, A.; Jura, M.; Omont, A.

    1985-01-01

    Different desorption mechanisms from interstellar grains are considered to resolve the conflict between the observed presence of gaseous species in molecular clouds and their expected depletion onto grains. The physics of desorption is discussed with particular reference to the process of grain heating and the specific heat of the dust material. Impulsive heating by X-rays and cosmic rays is addressed. Spot heating of the grains by cosmic rays and how this can lead to desorption of mantles from very large grains is considered. It is concluded that CO depletion on grains will be small in regions with A(V) less than five from the cloud surface and n(H) less than 10,000, in agreement with observations and in contrast to expectations from pure thermal equilibrium. Even in very dense and obscured regions and in the absence of internal ultraviolet sources, the classical evaporation of CO or N2 and O2-rich mantles by cosmic rays is important.

  16. Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination XI: Identification and elemental analysis of impact craters on Al foils from the Stardust Interstellar Dust Collector

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stroud, Rhonda M.; Allen, Carlton; Ansari, Asna; Anderson, David; Bajt, SašA.; Bassim, Nabil; Bastien, Ron S.; Bechtel, Hans A.; Borg, Janet; Brenker, Frank E.; Bridges, John; Brownlee, Donald E.; Burchell, Mark; Burghammer, Manfred; Butterworth, Anna L.; Changela, Hitesh; Cloetens, Peter; Davis, Andrew M.; Doll, Ryan; Floss, Christine; Flynn, George; Frank, David R.; Gainsforth, Zack; Grün, Eberhard; Heck, Philipp R.; Hillier, Jon K.; Hoppe, Peter; Huth, Joachim; Hvide, Brit; Kearsley, Anton; King, Ashley J.; Kotula, Paul; Lai, Barry; Leitner, Jan; Lemelle, Laurence; Leroux, Hugues; Leonard, Ariel; Lettieri, Robert; Marchant, William; Nittler, Larry R.; Ogliore, Ryan; Ong, Wei Jia; Postberg, Frank; Price, Mark C.; Sandford, Scott A.; Tresseras, Juan-Angel Sans; Schmitz, Sylvia; Schoonjans, Tom; Schreiber, Kate; Silversmit, Geert; Simionovici, Alexandre S.; Solé, Vicente A.; Srama, Ralf; Stephan, Thomas; Sterken, Veerle J.; Stodolna, Julien; Sutton, Steven; Trieloff, Mario; Tsou, Peter; Tsuchiyama, Akira; Tyliszczak, Tolek; Vekemans, Bart; Vincze, Laszlo; Westphal, Andrew J.; von Korff, Joshua; Zevin, Daniel; Zolensky, Michael E.

    2014-09-01

    The Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination team analyzed thirteen Al foils from the NASA Stardust interstellar collector tray in order to locate candidate interstellar dust (ISD) grain impacts. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images reveal that the foils possess abundant impact crater and crater-like features. Elemental analyses of the crater features, with Auger electron spectroscopy, SEM-based energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, and scanning transmission electron microscope-based EDX spectroscopy, demonstrate that the majority are either the result of impacting debris fragments from the spacecraft solar panels, or intrinsic defects in the foil. The elemental analyses also reveal that four craters contain residues of a definite extraterrestrial origin, either as interplanetary dust particles or ISD particles. These four craters are designated level 2 interstellar candidates, based on the crater shapes indicative of hypervelocity impacts and the residue compositions inconsistent with spacecraft debris.

  17. Steps toward interstellar silicate dust mineralogy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dorschner, J.; Guertler, J.; Henning, TH.

    1989-01-01

    One of the most certain facts on interstellar dust is that it contains grains with silicon oxygen tetrahedra (SOT), the internal vibrations of which cause the well known silicate bands at 10 and 18 microns. The broad and almost structureless appearance of them demonstrates lack of translation symmetry in these solids that must be considered amorphous or glassy silicates. There is no direct information on the cations in these interstellar silicates and on the number of bridging oxygens per tetrahedron (NBO). Comparing experimental results gained on amorphous silicates, e.g., silicate glasses, of cosmically most abundant metals (Mg, Fe, Ca, Al) with the observations is the only way to investigate interstellar silicate dust mineralogy (cf, Dorschner and Henning, 1986). At Jena University Observatory IR spectra of submicrometer-sized grains of pyroxene glasses (SSG) were studied. Pyroxenes are common minerals in asteroids, meteorites, interplanetary, and supposedly also cometary dust particles. Pyroxenes consist of linearly connected SOT (NBO=2). In the vitreous state reached by quenching melted minerals, the SOT remain nearly undistorted (Si-O bond length unchanged); the Si-O-Si angles at the bridging oxygens of pyroxenes, however, scatter statistically. Therefore, the original cation oxygen symmetry of the crystal (octahedral and hexahedral coordination by O) is completely lost. The blended bands at 10 and 18 microns lose their diagnostic differences and become broad and structureless. This illustrates best the basic problem of interstellar silicate mineral diagnostics. Optical data of glasses of enstatite, bronzite, hypersthene, diopside, salite, and hedenbergite have been derived. Results of enstatite (E), bronzite (B), and hypersthene (H) show very good agreement with the observed silicate features in the IR spectra of evolutionarily young objects that show P-type silicate signature according to the classification by Gurtler and Henning (1986). Compositional

  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. PMID:25302375

  19. Complex molecule formation around massive young stellar objects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Öberg, Karin I.; Fayolle, Edith C.; Reiter, John B.; Cyganowski, Claudia

    2014-02-01

    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.

  20. 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.