Detection of a Noble Gas Molecular Ion, (ArH+)-Ar-36, in the Crab Nebula

M. J. Barlow*, B. M. Swinyard, P. J. Owen, J. Cernicharo, H. L. Gomez, R. J. Ivison, O. Krause, T. L. Lim, M. Matsuura, S. Miller, G. Olofsson, E. T. Polehampton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Noble gas molecules have not hitherto been detected in space. From spectra obtained with the Herschel Space Observatory, we report the detection of emission in the 617.5- and 1234.6-gigahertz J = 1-0 and 2-1 rotational lines of (ArH+)-Ar-36 at several positions in the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant known to contain both molecular hydrogen and regions of enhanced ionized argon emission. Argon-36 is believed to have originated from explosive nucleosynthesis in massive stars during core-collapse supernova events. Its detection in the Crab Nebula, the product of such a supernova event, confirms this expectation. The likely excitation mechanism for the observed (ArH+)-Ar-36 emission lines is electron collisions in partially ionized regions with electron densities of a few hundred per centimeter cubed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1343-1345
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume342
Issue number6164
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2013

Keywords

  • HERSCHEL-SPIRE INSTRUMENT
  • ROTATIONAL-EXCITATION
  • SPECTROSCOPY
  • SPECTROMETER
  • KNOTS
  • HEH+
  • AR

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