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Tracing the evolution of interstellar molecules in Taurus molecular cloud-1

Mean logarithmic abundance difference as a function of C/O only for cyanopolyynes for the models with an initial carbon abundance of 2.5 × 10−4. Credit: The Astrophysical Journal (2022). DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac5a45

It has been confirmed that molecules, which are common on the Earth, could exist in the interstellar conditions.

With the development of radio astronomy in recent decades, more than 200 molecules have been identified in the interstellar medium, including the large molecules, such as methanol, ethanol and urea. The Taurus molecular cloud-1 (TMC-1) has proven to be a typical astronomical source with more than 100 molecules detected in it.

To study how the formation and conversion processes of the interstellar molecules happened, Dr. Chen Longfei from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) built a physicochemical astronomical model under the TMC-1 condition.

The study was published in The Astrophysical Journal on April 7.

By classifying four different groups of molecules by their chemical characteristics, the researchers examined the formation, destruction, and conversion processes among these different groups of molecules. These processes are important clues for the understanding of the synthesis and origin of interstellar molecules.

Further comparison between the detected molecular abundances and the theoretical model predictions indicated that current astrochemical model could reproduce the abundances of 71% of the molecules, while the improvements for the over- and under-predicted molecules were proposed.

The results also indicated that the percentage of interstellar ice mantle mixture was affected by the local extinction, which was important for the understanding of the interstellar ice chemistry.

“As the main growth area of astronomy worldwide and a part of the foundation of astrobiology, astrochemistry is still in its infancy. This work represents a solid attempt at benchmarking models against a chemically rich nearby star-forming cloud,” said Dr. Li Di from NAOC, the corresponding author of the study.

Researchers from the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory of CAS and Shandong University of Technology were also involved in the study.

Chemistry in the turbulent interstellar medium

More information:
Long-Fei Chen et al, Chemical Variations Across the TMC-1 Boundary: Molecular Tracers from the Translucent Phase to the Dense Phase, The Astrophysical Journal (2022). DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac5a45

Tracing the evolution of interstellar molecules in Taurus molecular cloud-1 (2022, April 22)
retrieved 22 April 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-evolution-interstellar-molecules-taurus-molecular.html

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