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Detection of a noble gas molecular ion, 36ArH+, in the Crab Nebula

Barlow, M. J., Swinyard, B. M., Owen, P. J., Cernicharo, J., Gomez, Haley Louise ORCID:, Ivison, R. J., Krause, O., Lim, T. L., Matsuura, Mikako ORCID:, Miller, S., Olofsson, G. and Polehampton, E. T. 2013. Detection of a noble gas molecular ion, 36ArH+, in the Crab Nebula. Science 342 (6164) , pp. 1343-1345. 10.1126/science.1243582

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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 36ArH+ 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 36ArH+ emission lines is electron collisions in partially ionized regions with electron densities of a few hundred per centimeter cubed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN: 0036-8075
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 12:04

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