skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on March 1, 2023

Title: HCN and HCO + in Planetary Nebulae: The Next Level
Abstract Observations of HCN and HCO + have been carried out toward 13 planetary nebulae (PNe) using the facilities of the Arizona Radio Observatory (ARO). These nebulae represent a wide range of morphologies and ages (∼2000–28,000 yr). For both molecules, the J = 1 → 0 transitions at 88–89 GHz and the J = 3 → 2 lines at 265–267 GHz were measured, together with CO lines ( J = 1 → 0, 2 → 1, and 3 → 2, depending on the source), using the ARO 12 m and Submillimeter Telescopes. HCN and HCO + were detected with at least one transition in 10 nebulae: He 2-459, Hu 1-1, K3-52, K3-65, M1-8, M1-40, M1-59, M2-53, M4-17, and NGC 6445. HCO + was additionally identified via two transitions in Na 2. Some observed line profiles were complex, with multiple velocity components tracing varied outflows. From radiative transfer modeling, column densities were established for HCN and HCO + : N tot (HCN) = 0.005–1.1 × 10 14 and N tot (HCO + ) = 0.008–9.5 × 10 13 cm −2 . Gas densities of n (H 2 ) ∼ 10 5 –10 7 cm −3 were also determined for all PNe. more » Fractional abundances with respect to H 2 , calculated using CO as a proxy, are f (HCN) ∼ 0.2–1.5 × 10 −7 and f (HCO + ) ∼ 0.3–5.1 × 10 −8 . The abundances of HCN and HCO + did not significantly vary with nebular age to 28,000 yr. Combined with previous observations, at least 30 PNe contain HCN and/or HCO + , indicating that polyatomic molecules are common constituents of these objects. The data strongly support a scenario where dense ejecta from PNe seed the interstellar medium with molecular material. « less
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Context. Physical processes that govern the star and planet formation sequence influence the chemical composition and evolution of protoplanetary disks. Recent studies allude to an early start to planet formation already during the formation of a disk. To understand the chemical composition of protoplanets, we need to constrain the composition and structure of the disks from whence they are formed. Aims. We aim to determine the molecular abundance structure of the young disk around the TMC1A protostar on au scales in order to understand its chemical structure and any possible implications for disk formation. Methods. We present spatially resolved Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations of CO, HCO + , HCN, DCN, and SO line emission, as well as dust continuum emission, in the vicinity of TMC1A. Molecular column densities are estimated both under the assumption of optically thin emission from molecules in local thermodynamical equilibrium (LTE) as well as through more detailed non-LTE radiative transfer calculations. Results. Resolved dust continuum emission from the disk is detected between 220 and 260 GHz. Rotational transitions from HCO + , HCN, and SO are also detected from the inner 100 au region. We further report on upper limits to vibrational HCN υ 2more »= 1, DCN, and N 2 D + lines. The HCO + emission appears to trace both the Keplerian disk and the surrounding infalling rotating envelope. HCN emission peaks toward the outflow cavity region connected with the CO disk wind and toward the red-shifted part of the Keplerian disk. From the derived HCO + abundance, we estimate the ionization fraction of the disk surface, and find values that imply that the accretion process is not driven by the magneto-rotational instability. The molecular abundances averaged over the TMC1A disk are similar to its protostellar envelope and other, older Class II disks. We meanwhile find a discrepancy between the young disk’s molecular abundances relative to Solar System objects. Conclusions. Abundance comparisons between the disk and its surrounding envelope for several molecular species reveal that the bulk of planet-forming material enters the disk unaltered. Differences in HCN and H 2 O molecular abundances between the disk around TMC1A, Class II disks, and Solar System objects trace the chemical evolution during disk and planet formation.« less
  2. Abstract

    The millimeter-wave spectrum of the SiP radical (X2Πi) has been measured in the laboratory for the first time using direct-absorption methods. SiP was created by the reaction of phosphorus vapor and SiH4in argon in an AC discharge. Fifteen rotational transitions (J+ 1 ←J) were measured for SiP in the Ω = 3/2 ladder in the frequency range 151–533 GHz, and rotational, lambda doubling, and phosphorus hyperfine constants determined. Based on the laboratory measurements, SiP was detected in the circumstellar shell of IRC+10216, using the Submillimeter Telescope and the 12 m antenna of the Arizona Radio Observatory at 1 mm and 2 mm, respectively. Eight transitions of SiP were searched: four were completely obscured by stronger features, two were uncontaminated (J= 13.5 → 12.5 and 16.5 → 15.5), and two were partially blended with other lines (J= 8.5 → 7.5 and 17.5 → 16.5). The SiP line profiles were broader than expected for IRC+10216, consistent with the hyperfine splitting. From non-LTE radiative transfer modeling, SiP was found to have a shell distribution with a radius ∼300R*, and an abundance, relative to H2, off∼ 2 × 10−9. From additional modeling, abundances of 7 × 10−9and 9 × 10−10were determined for CPmore »and PN, respectively, both located in shells at 550–650R*. SiP may be formed from grain destruction, which liberates both phosphorus and silicon into the gas phase, and then is channeled into other P-bearing molecules such as PN and CP.

    « less
  3. Context. Recent surveys of the Galactic plane in the dust continuum and CO emission lines reveal that large (≳50 pc) and massive (≳10 5 M ⊙ ) filaments, know as giant molecular filaments (GMFs), may be linked to Galactic dynamics and trace the mid-plane of the gravitational potential in the Milky Way. Yet our physical understanding of GMFs is still poor. Aims. We investigate the dense gas properties of one GMF, with the ultimate goal of connecting these dense gas tracers with star formation processes in the GMF. Methods. We imaged one entire GMF located at l ~ 52–54° longitude, GMF54 (~68 pc long), in the empirical dense gas tracers using the HCN(1–0), HNC(1–0), and HCO + (1–0) lines, and their 13 C isotopologue transitions, as well as the N 2 H + (1–0) line. We studied the dense gas distribution, the column density probability density functions (N-PDFs), and the line ratios within the GMF. Results. The dense gas molecular transitions follow the extended structure of the filament with area filling factors between 0.06 and 0.28 with respect to 13 CO(1–0). We constructed the N-PDFs of H 2 for each of the dense gas tracers based on their column densitiesmore »and assumed uniform abundance. The N-PDFs of the dense gas tracers appear curved in log–log representation, and the HCO + N-PDF has the flattest power-law slope index. Studying the N-PDFs for sub-regions of GMF54, we found an evolutionary trend in the N-PDFs that high-mass star-forming and photon-dominated regions have flatter power-law indices. The integrated intensity ratios of the molecular lines in GMF54 are comparable to those in nearby galaxies. In particular, the N 2 H + / 13 CO ratio, which traces the dense gas fraction, has similar values in GMF54 and all nearby galaxies except Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies. Conclusions. As the largest coherent cold gaseous structure in our Milky Way, GMFs, are outstanding candidates for connecting studies of star formation on Galactic and extragalactic scales. By analyzing a complete map of the dense gas in a GMF we have found that: (1) the dense gas N-PDFs appear flatter in more evolved regions and steeper in younger regions, and (2) its integrated dense gas intensity ratios are similar to those of nearby galaxies.« less
  4. The 12C/13C ratio has been measured toward a sample of planetary nebulae (PNe) using millimeter observations of CO, HCN, HNC, CN, and other species, conducted with the 12 m antenna and the Submillimeter Telescope of the Arizona Radio Observatory. The observed nebulae spanned the entire lifetime of PNe, from ∼900 to 12,000 yr, and include well-known objects such as NGC 7293 (Helix), NGC 6720 (Ring), and NGC 2440, as well as relatively unexplored nebulae (M3–28, M2–48, and M3–55). In most cases, multiple molecules and transitions were used in the ratio determination, resulting in the most accurate values available to date, with 10%–40% uncertainties. The ratios found were unexpectedly low, lying in the range 12C/13C ∼1.0 ± 0.7–13.2 ± 4.9, with an average value of 3.7—drastically less than found in the envelopes of C-rich AGB stars, and, in some cases, lower than the minimum value achieved in equilibrium CNO burning. Such low values are expected for the two O-rich nebulae studied (M2–9 and M2–48), because of insufficient third dredge-up events. However, most of the PNe observed were clearly carbon-rich, as deduced from the large number of C-bearing molecules present in them. Because nucleosynthesis ceases in the PN stage, both the C/Omore »and the 12C/13C ratios must reflect abundances at the end of the AGB. These consistently low 12C/13C ratios, combined with the bipolar/multipolar morphologies of all planetary nebulae observed, suggest an explosive process involving proton-capture occurred at the AGB–PN transition.« less
  5. Context. The electron density ( n e − ) plays an important role in setting the chemistry and physics of the interstellar medium. However, measurements of n e − in neutral clouds have been directly obtained only toward a few lines of sight or they rely on indirect determinations. Aims. We use carbon radio recombination lines and the far-infrared lines of C + to directly measure n e − and the gas temperature in the envelope of the integral shaped filament (ISF) in the Orion A molecular cloud. Methods. We observed the C102 α (6109.901 MHz) and C109 α (5011.420 MHz) carbon radio recombination lines (CRRLs) using the Effelsberg 100 m telescope at ≈2′ resolution toward five positions in OMC-2 and OMC-3. Since the CRRLs have similar line properties, we averaged them to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of the spectra. We compared the intensities of the averaged CRRLs, and the 158 μm-[CII] and [ 13 CII] lines to the predictions of a homogeneous model for the C + /C interface in the envelope of a molecular cloud and from this comparison we determined the electron density, temperature and C + column density of the gas. Results. We detect the CRRLs towardmore »four positions, where their velocity ( v LSR  ≈ 11 km s −1 ) and widths ( σ v  ≈ 1 km s −1 ) confirms that they trace the envelope of the ISF. Toward two positions we detect the CRRLs, and the 158 μm-[CII] and [ 13 CII] lines with a signal-to-noise ratio ≥5, and we find n e −  = 0.65 ± 0.12 cm −3 and 0.95 ± 0.02 cm −3 , which corresponds to a gas density n H  ≈ 5 × 10 3 cm −3 and a thermal pressure of p th  ≈ 4 × 10 5 K cm −3 . We also constrained the ionization fraction in the denser portions of the molecular cloud using the HCN(1–0) and C 2 H(1–0) lines to x (e − ) ≤ 3 × 10 −6 . Conclusions. The derived electron densities and ionization fraction imply that x (e − ) drops by a factor ≥100 between the C + layer and the regions probed by HCN(1–0). This suggests that electron collisional excitation does not play a significant role in setting the excitation of HCN(1–0) toward the region studied, as it is responsible for only ≈10% of the observed emission.« less