The 12C/13C Ratio in Sgr B2(N): Constraints for Galactic Chemical Evolution and Isotopic Chemistry

D. T. Halfen, N. J. Woolf, L. M. Ziurys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

A study has been conducted of 12C/13C ratios in five complex molecules in the Galactic center. H2CS, CH3CCH, NH2CHO, CH2CHCN, and CH3CH2CN and their 13C-substituted species have been observed in numerous transitions at 1, 2, and 3 mm, acquired in a spectral-line survey of Sgr B2(N), conducted with the telescopes of the Arizona Radio Observatory (ARO). Between 22 and 54 individual, unblended lines for the 12C species and 2-54 for 13C-substituted analogs were modeled in a global radiative transfer analysis. All five molecules were found to consistently exhibit two velocity components near V LSR ∼ 64 and 73 km s-1, with column densities ranging from N tot ∼ 3 × 1014 -4 × 1017 cm-2 and ∼2 × 1013 -1 × 1017 cm-2 for the 12C and 13C species, respectively. Based on 14 different isotopic combinations, ratios were obtained in the range 12C/13C = 15 ±5 to 33 ±13, with an average value of 24 ±7, based on comparison of column densities. These measurements better anchor the 12C/13C ratio at the Galactic center, and suggest a slightly revised isotope gradient of 12C/13C = 5.21(0.52) D GC + 22.6(3.3). As indicated by the column densities, no preferential 13C enrichment was found on the differing carbon sites of CH3CCH, CH2CHCN, and CH3CH2CN. Because of the elevated temperatures in Sgr B2(N), 13C isotopic substitution is effectively "scrambled," diminishing chemical fractionation effects. The resulting ratios thus reflect stellar nucleosynthesis and Galactic chemical evolution, as is likely the case for most warm clouds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number158
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume845
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 20 2017

Keywords

  • Galaxy: evolution
  • ISM: molecules
  • astrochemistry
  • line: identification
  • methods: observational
  • nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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