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Open Access item Understanding the Chemical Complexity in Circumstellar Envelopes of C-rich AGB Stars: the Case of IRC +10216

Authors:Agúndez, Marcelino
Cernicharo, José
Pardo Carrión, Juan Ramón
Fonfría, José Pablo
Guélin, Michel
Tenenbaum, E. D.
Ziurys, L. M.
Apponi, A. J.
Keywords:Astrochemistry, Circumstellar matter, Molecular processes, AGB stars, IRC +10216
Issue Date:28-Mar-2007
Astrophysics and Space Science (2007)
Abstract:The circumstellar envelopes of carbon-rich AGB stars show a chemical complexity that is exemplified by the prototypical object IRC +10216, in which about 60 different molecules have been detected to date. Most of these species are carbon chains of the type CnH, CnH2, CnN, HCnN. We present the detection of new species (CH2CHCN, CH2CN, H2CS, CH3CCH and C3O) achieved thanks to the systematic observation of the full 3 mm window with the IRAM 30m telescope plus some ARO 12m observations. All these species, known to exist in the interstellar medium, are detected for the first time in a circumstellar envelope around an AGB star. These five molecules are most likely formed in the outer expanding envelope rather than in the stellar photosphere. A pure gas phase chemical model of the circumstellar envelope is reasonably successful in explaining the derived abundances, and additionally allows to elucidate the chemical formation routes and to predict the spatial distribution of the detected species.
Description:To appear in Astrophysics and Space Science, special issue of "Science with ALMA: a new era for Astrophysics" conference, November, 13-17 2006, ed. R. Bachiller
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