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Astron. Astrophys. 341, L59-L62 (1999)

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Letter to the Editor

Vibrationally excited vinyl cyanide in Sgr B2(N)

A. Nummelin and P. Bergman

Onsala Space Observatory, SE-439 92 Onsala, Sweden

Received 18 September 1998 / Accepted 27 November 1998


We analyse the excitation of 114 rotational transitions of vinyl cyanide (acrylonitrile), C2H3CN, in its [FORMULA] and [FORMULA] vibrational states, together with 98 transitions in the ground state. The data were taken from the SEST line survey of Sgr B2(N) in the 1.3 mm band. For the lines with energies above 200 K a rotational temperature of [FORMULA] K, a C2H3CN column density of [FORMULA] cm-2, and a source size in the range 0.025-0.037 pc are most consistent with observations. The resulting abundance of C2H3CN is about [FORMULA]. We argue that the high rotation temperature of the high-energy lines is most likely due to direct radiative excitation through far-infrared emission from hot dust. A Monte-Carlo analysis was applied to the radiative transfer of the lines with upper-state energies below 200 K. A good fit to the intensities of the a-type lines is achieved by a model cloud with a fractional C2H3CN abundance of [FORMULA]. By increasing the abundance to [FORMULA] in the outer portion of the cloud also the intensities of the b-type lines could be reasonably well fitted. This model is, however, inconsistent with the low intensities of low-energy a-type lines observed at longer wavelengths. Hence, we favour a constant C2H3CN abundance of [FORMULA] in the part of the cloud where the kinetic temperature is below 180 K, and regard the excitation of the intrinsically weak b-type lines as anomalous.

Key words: ISM: abundances – ISM: molecules – ISM: individual objects: Sgr B2 – radio lines: ISM

Send offprint requests to: A. Nummelin (albert@oso.chalmers.se)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: December 16, 1998