A search for interstellar H3O+.

A. Wootten, F. Boulanger, M. Bogey, F. Combes, P. J. Encrenaz, M. Gerin, L. Ziurys

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Abstract

The P (2,1) line of H3O+, the hydroxonium ion, a key species in ion-molecule chemistry, has been sought in the interstellar medium and in Halley's Comet. In OMC1 and SgrB2, a line was detected which may possibly be attributed to H3O+. Verification of this identification must be accomplished through observation of the P(3,2) line at 364 GHz, or detection of isotopic variants. If we were to assume that the detected line arises from H3O+, we can deduce a fractional abundance X(H3O+) in OMC1 and SgrB2 of approximately 10(-9) and a production rate in Comet Halley of Q(H3O+) 10(28)s-1. These results would place H3O+ among the more abundant molecular ions in the interstellar gas in agreement with theoretical predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L15-18
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
Volume166
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Wootten, A., Boulanger, F., Bogey, M., Combes, F., Encrenaz, P. J., Gerin, M., & Ziurys, L. (1986). A search for interstellar H3O+. Astronomy and astrophysics, 166, L15-18.