skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: The excitation of HCN and HCO{sup +} in the galactic center circumnuclear disk

We present new observations of HCN and HCO{sup +} in the circumnuclear disk (CND) of the Galaxy, which we obtained with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope. We mapped emission in rotational lines of HCN J = 3-2, 4-3, and 8-7, as well as of HCO{sup +} J = 3-2, 4-3, and 9-8. We also present spectra of H{sup 13}CN J = 3-2 and 4-3 as well as H{sup 13}CO{sup +} J = 3-2 and 4-3 toward four positions in the CND. Using the intensities of all of these lines, we present an excitation analysis for each molecule using the non-LTE radiative transfer code RADEX. The HCN line intensities toward the northern emission peak of the CND yield log densities (cm{sup –3}) of 5.6{sub −0.6}{sup +0.6}, consistent with those measured with HCO{sup +} as well as with densities recently reported for this region from an excitation analysis of highly excited lines of CO. These densities are too low for the gas to be tidally stable. The HCN line intensities toward the CND's southern emission peak yield log densities of 6.5{sub −0.7}{sup +0.5}, higher than densities determined for this part of the CND with CO (although the densities measured with HCO{sup +},more » log [n] = 5.6{sub −0.2}{sup +0.2}, are more consistent with the CO-derived densities). We investigate whether the higher densities we infer from HCN are affected by midinfrared radiative excitation of this molecule through its 14 μm rovibrational transitions. We find that radiative excitation is important for at least one clump in the CND, where we additionally detect the J = 4-3, v {sub 2} = 1 vibrationally excited transition of HCN, which is excited by dust temperatures of ≳125-150 K. If this hot dust is present elsewhere in the CND, it could lower our inferred densities, potentially bringing the HCN-derived densities for the southern part of the CND into agreement with those measured using HCO{sup +} and CO. Additional sensitive, high-resolution submillimeter observations, as well as midinfrared observations, would be useful to assess the importance of the radiative excitation of HCN in this environment.« less
Authors:
 [1] ; ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, P.O. Box O 1009, Lopezville Drive, Socorro, NM 87801 (United States)
  2. Max Planck Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf Dem Huegel 69, D-53121 Bonn (Germany)
  3. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Physics and Astronomy Building, 430 Portola Plaza, Box 951547 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1547 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348517
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 779; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CARBON MONOXIDE; DENSITY; DUSTS; EMISSION; EXCITATION; GALAXIES; HYDROCYANIC ACID; INTERMEDIATE INFRARED RADIATION; LTE; MOLECULAR IONS; MOLECULES; RADIANT HEAT TRANSFER; RESOLUTION; SPECTRA; SPECTROSCOPY; TELESCOPES