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Indirect observation of unobservable interstellar molecules
Herbst, E.; Green, S.; Thaddeus, P.; Klemperer, W.
AA(NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Columbia University, New York, N.Y.), AB(NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Columbia University, New York, N.Y.), AC(NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, N.Y.), AD(Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1, vol. 215, July 15, 1977, p. 503-510. Research supported by the College of William and Mary and Petroleum Research Fund; (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Abundance, Interstellar Gas, Molecular Gases, Molecular Ions, Radio Observation, Acetylene, Carbon, Carbon Dioxide, Free Radicals, Methane, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Radio Astronomy
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It is suggested that the abundances of neutral nonpolar 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 for HCO2(+) and C2H3(+) are estimated, and a preliminary astronomical search for HCO2(+) is described.

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