First detection of the methylidyne cation (CH+) fundamental rotational line with the Herschel/SPIRE FTS

Naylor, D. A.; Dartois, E.; Habart, E.; Abergel, A.; Baluteau, J.-P.; Jones, S. C.; Polehampton, E.; Ade, P.; Anderson, L. D.; André, P.; Arab, H.; Bernard, J.-P.; Blagrave, K.; Bontemps, S.; Boulanger, F.; Cohen, M.; Compiègne, M.; Cox, P.; Davis, G.; Emery, R.; Fulton, T.; Gry, C.; Huang, M.; Joblin, C.; Kirk, J. M.; Lagache, G.; Lim, T.; Madden, S.; Makiwa, G.; Martin, P.; Miville-Deschênes, M.-A.; Molinari, S.; Moseley, H.; Motte, F.; Okumura, K.; Pinheiro Gonçalves, D.; Rodón, J. A.; Russeil, D.; Saraceno, P.; Sidher, S.; Spencer, L.; Swinyard, B.; Ward-Thompson, D.; White, G. J. and Zavagno, A. (2010). First detection of the methylidyne cation (CH+) fundamental rotational line with the Herschel/SPIRE FTS. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 518, article no. L117.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201014656

Abstract

Aims. To follow the species chemistry arising in diverse sources of the Galaxy with Herschel.

Methods. SPIRE FTS sparse sampled maps of the Orion bar & compact HII regions G29.96-0.02 and G32.80+0.19 have been analyzed.

Results. Beyond the wealth of atomic and molecular lines detected in the high-resolution spectra obtained with the FTS of SPIRE in the Orion Bar, one emission line is found to lie at the position of the fundamental rotational transition of CH+ as measured precisely in the laboratory by Pearson and Drouion. This coincidence suggests that it is the first detection of the fundamental rotational transition of CH+. This claim is strengthened by the observation of the lambda doublet transitions arising from its relative, CH, which are also observed in the same spectrum. The broad spectral coverage of the SPIRE FTS allows for the simultaneous measurement of these closely related chemically species, under the same observing conditions. The importance of these lines are discussed and a comparison with results obtained from models of the photon dominated region (PDR) of Orion are presented. The CH+ line also appears in absorption in the spectra of the two galactic compact HII regions G29.96-0.02 and G32.80+0.19, which is likely due to the presence of CH+ in the the cold neutral medium of the galactic plane. These detections will shed light on the formation processes and on the existence of CH+, which are still outstanding questions in astrophysics.

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