Photodissociation chemistry footprints in the Starburst galaxy NGC 253

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.73). 11/2009; DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/706/2/1323
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We report the first detection of PDR molecular tracers, namely HOC+, and CO+, and confirm the detection of the also PDR tracer HCO towards the starburst galaxy NGC 253, claimed to be mainly dominated by shock heating and in an earlier stage of evolution than M 82, the prototypical extragalactic PDR. Our CO+ detection suffers from significant blending to a group of transitions of 13CH3OH, tentatively detected for the first time in the extragalactic interstellar medium. These species are efficiently formed in the highly UV irradiated outer layers of molecular clouds, as observed in the late stage nuclear starburst in M 82. The molecular abundance ratios we derive for these molecules are very similar to those found in M 82. This strongly supports the idea that these molecules are tracing the PDR component associated with the starburst in the nuclear region of NGC 253. A comparison with the predictions of chemical models for PDRs shows that the observed molecular ratios are tracing the outer layers of UV illuminated clouds up to two magnitudes of visual extinction. Chemical models, which include grain formation and photodissociation of HNCO, support the scenario of a photo-dominated chemistry as an explanation to the abundances of the observed species. From this comparison we conclude that the molecular clouds in NGC 253 are more massive and with larger column densities than those in M 82, as expected from the evolutionary stage of the starbursts in both galaxies. Comment: 32 pages, 4 figures, Published in ApJ

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    ABSTRACT: We aim to study the properties of the dense molecular gas towards the inner few 100 pc of four nearby starburst galaxies dominated both by photo dissociation regions (M82) and large-scale shocks (NGC253, IC342 and Maffei2), and to relate the chemical and physical properties of the molecular clouds with the evolutionary stage of the nuclear starbursts. We have carried out multi-transitional observations and analyses of three dense gas molecular tracers, CS, HC3N and CH3CCH, using Boltzmann diagrams in order to determine the rotational temperatures and column densities of the dense gas, and using a Large Velocity Gradients model to calculate the H2 density structure in the molecular clouds. The CS and HC3N data indicate the presence of density gradients in the molecular clouds, showing similar excitation conditions, and suggesting that they arise from the same gas components. In M82, CH3CCH has the highest fractional abundance determined in a extragalactic source (10^-8). The density and the chemical gradients found in all galaxies can be explained in the framework of the starburst evolution. The young shock-dominatedstarburst galaxies, like presumably Maffei2, show a cloud structure with a rather uniform density and chemical composition which suggests low star formation activity. Molecular clouds in galaxies with starburst in an intermediate stage of evolution, such as NGC253 and IC342, show clouds with a large density contrast (two orders of magnitude) between the denser regions (cores) and the less dense regions (halos) of the molecular clouds and relatively constant chemical abundance. Finally, the galaxy with the most evolved starburst, M82, has clouds with a rather uniform density structure, large envelopes of atomic/molecular gas subjected to UV photodissociating radiation from young star clusters, and very different chemical abundances of HC3N and CH3CCH.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2011; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present Herschel SPIRE-FTS observations of Arp~220, a nearby ULIRG. The FTS continuously covers 190 -- 670 microns, providing a good measurement of the continuum and detection of several molecular and atomic species. We detect luminous CO (J = 4-3 to 13-12) and water ladders with comparable total luminosity; very high-J HCN absorption; OH+, H2O+, and HF in absorption; and CI and NII. Modeling of the continuum yields warm dust, with T = 66 K, and an unusually large optical depth of ~5 at 100 microns. Non-LTE modeling of the CO shows two temperature components: cold molecular gas at T ~ 50 K and warm molecular gas at T ~1350 K. The mass of the warm gas is 10% of the cold gas, but dominates the luminosity of the CO ladder. The temperature of the warm gas is in excellent agreement with H2 rotational lines. At 1350 K, H2 dominates the cooling (~20 L_sun/M_sun) in the ISM compared to CO (~0.4 L_sun/M_sun). We found that only a non-ionizing source such as the mechanical energy from supernovae and stellar winds can excite the warm gas and satisfy the energy budget of ~20 L_sun/M_sun. We detect a massive molecular outflow in Arp 220 from the analysis of strong P-Cygni line profiles observed in OH+, H2O+, and H2O. The outflow has a mass > 10^{7} M_sun and is bound to the nuclei with velocity < 250 km/s. The large column densities observed for these molecular ions strongly favor the existence of an X-ray luminous AGN (10^{44} ergs/s) in Arp 220.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2011; 743(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the first aperture synthesis unbiased spectral line survey toward an extragalactic object. The survey covered the 40 GHz frequency range between 202 and 242 GHz of the 1.3 mm atmospheric window. We find that 80% of the observed band shows molecular emission, with 73 features identified from 15 molecular species and 6 isotopologues. The 13C isotopic substitutions of HC3N and transitions from H2(18)O, 29SiO, and CH2CO are detected for the first time outside the Galaxy. Within the broad observed band, we estimate that 28% of the total measured flux is due to the molecular line contribution, with CO only contributing 9% to the overall flux. We present maps of the CO emission at a resolution of 2.9"x1.9" which, though not enough to resolve the two nuclei, recover all the single-dish flux. The 40 GHz spectral scan has been modelled assuming LTE conditions and abundances are derived for all identified species. The chemical composition of Arp 220 shows no clear evidence of an AGN impact on the molecular emission but seems indicative of a purely starburst-heated ISM. The overabundance of H2S and the low isotopic ratios observed suggest a chemically enriched environment by consecutive bursts of star formation, with an ongoing burst at an early evolutionary stage. The large abundance of water (~10^-5), derived from the isotopologue H2(18)O, as well as the vibrationally excited emission from HC3N and CH3CN are claimed to be evidence of massive star forming regions within Arp 220. Moreover, the observations put strong constraints on the compactness of the starburst event in Arp 220. We estimate that such emission would require ~2-8x10^6 hot cores, similar to those found in the Sgr B2 region in the Galactic center, concentrated within the central 700 pc of Arp 220. Comment: Accepted for publication in A&A
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 12/2010; · 5.08 Impact Factor


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