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Astron. Astrophys. 330, 901-909 (1998)

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Molecular abundances in the Magellanic Clouds

III. LIRS 36, a star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud *

Y.-N. Chin 1, 2, C. Henkel 3, 4, T.J. Millar 5, J.B. Whiteoak 6, 7 and M. Marx-Zimmer 2

1 Institut of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, P.O.Box 1-87, Nankang, Taipei, Taiwan
2 Radioastronomisches Institut der Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, D-53121 Bonn, Germany
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany
4 European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
5 Department of Physics, UMIST, P.O. Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, UK
6 Australia Telescope National Facility, Radiophysics Laboratories, P.O. Box 76, Epping, NSW 2121, Australia
7 Paul Wild Observatory, Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, Locked Bag 194, Narrabri NSW 2390, Australia

Received 17 April 1997 / Accepted 16 October 1997


Detections of CO, CS, SO, C2 H, HCO [FORMULA], HCN, HNC, H2 CO, and C3 H2 are reported from LIRS 36, a star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud. C18 O, NO, CH3 OH, and most notably CN have not been detected, while the rare isotopes 13 CO and, tentatively, C34 S are seen. This is so far the most extensive molecular multiline study of an interstellar medium with a heavy element depletion exceeding a factor of four.

The X = N (H2)/ [FORMULA] conversion factor is [FORMULA] [FORMULA] [FORMULA] ([FORMULA])-1, slightly larger than the local Galactic disk value. The CO (1-0) beam averaged column density then becomes N (H2) [FORMULA] [FORMULA] [FORMULA] and the density [FORMULA]) [FORMULA] 100 [FORMULA]. A comparison with X -values from Rubio et al. (1993a) shows that on small scales (R [FORMULA] 10 pc) X -values are more similar to Galactic disk values than previously anticipated, favoring a neutral interstellar medium of predominantly molecular nature in the cores. The I (13 CO)/I (C18 O) line intensity ratio indicates an underabundance of 12 C18 O relative to 13 C16 O w.r.t. Galactic clouds. I (HCO [FORMULA])/I (HCN) and I (HCN)/I (HNC) line intensity ratios are [FORMULA] 1 and trace a warm ([FORMULA] [FORMULA] 10 K) molecular gas exposed to a high ionizing flux. Detections of the CS J =2-1, 3-2, and 5-4 lines imply the presence of a high density core with [FORMULA]) = [FORMULA] [FORMULA]. In contrast to star-forming regions in the LMC, the CN 1-0 line is substantially weaker than the corresponding ground rotational transitions of HCN, HNC, and CS. CO, CS, HCO [FORMULA], and H2 CO fractional abundances are a factor [FORMULA] 10 smaller than corresponding values in Galactic disk clouds. Fractional abundances of HCN, HNC, and likely CN are even two orders of magnitude below their `normal', Galactic disk values. The CN/CS abundance ratio is [FORMULA] 1. Based on chemical model calculations, we suggest that this is because of the small metallicity of the SMC, which affects the destruction of CN but not CS, and because of the high molecular core density which also favors CN destruction.

Key words: ISM: molecules – galaxies: abundances – galaxies: ISM – Magellanic Clouds – radio lines: ISM

* Based on observations with the Swedish-ESO Submillimeter Telescope (SEST) at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), La Silla, Chile

Send offprint requests to: Y.-N. Chin, ASIAA, Taiwan, einmann@biaa21.biaa.sinica.edu.tw

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: January 27, 1998