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Discovery of interstellar methane - Observations of gaseous and solid CH4 absorption toward young stars in molecular clouds
Lacy, J. H.; Carr, J. S.; Evans, Neal J., II; Baas, F.; Achtermann, J. M.; Arens, J. F.
AA(Texas, University, Austin), AB(Texas, University, Austin), AC(Texas, University, Austin), AD(Hawaii, University, Honolulu), AE(Joint Astronomy Center, Hilo, HI)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 376, Aug. 1, 1991, p. 556-560. Research supported by Texas Advanced Research Program. (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Cosmic Gases, Interstellar Matter, Methane, Molecular Clouds, Abundance, Early Stars, Infrared Spectra, Solidified Gases
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Several molecular clouds have been searched for absorption at 7.6 microns due to gaseous and solid methane. Gaseous CH4 was detected toward NGC 7538 IRS 9 and probably OMC-1 IRc2 and W33 A. The abundance of gaseous CH4 is typically 0.001 that of CO. Solid CH4 was probably detected toward NGC 7538 IRS 9 and possibly detected toward W33 A and NGC 7538 IRS 1. The abundance of solid CH4 is comparable to that of solid CO. The total CH4 abundance (predominantly in the solid phase) is 1-4 percent of the total CO abundance (predominantly gaseous). The high fraction of CH4 in the solid state suggests that it is made in the grain mantles.

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