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

AuthorsAgúndez, Marcelino ; Cernicharo, José ; Guélin, Michel
KeywordsRadio lines: ISM
Line: identification
ISM: clouds
ISM: molecules
Issue Date20-May-2015
PublisherEDP Sciences
CitationAstronomy and Astrophysics 577: L5 (2015)
AbstractWe 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.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201526317
Identifiersdoi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201526317
e-issn: 1432-0746
issn: 0004-6361
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