Detection of interstellar hydrogen peroxide
Journal article, 2011

Context. The molecular species hydrogen peroxide, HOOH, is likely to be a key ingredient in the oxygen and water chemistry in the interstellar medium. Aims. Our aim with this investigation is to determine how abundant HOOH is in the cloud core ρ Oph A. Methods. By observing several transitions of HOOH in the (sub)millimeter regime we seek to identify the molecule and also to determine the excitation conditions through a multilevel excitation analysis. Results. We have detected three spectral lines toward the SM1 position of ρ Oph A at velocity-corrected frequencies that coincide very closely with those measured from laboratory spectroscopy of HOOH. A fourth line was detected at the 4σ level. We also found through mapping observations that the HOOH emission extends (about 0.05 pc) over the densest part of the ρ Oph A cloud core. We derive an abundance of HOOH relative to that of H2 in the SM1 core of about 1 × 10-10. Conclusions. To our knowledge, this is the first reported detection of HOOH in the interstellar medium.


Per Bergman

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Onsala Space Observatory

B. Parise

Max Planck Society

René Liseau

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics

B. Larsson

Stockholm University

Hans Olofsson

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Onsala Space Observatory

K. M. Menten

Max Planck Society

R. Güsten

Max Planck Society

Astronomy and Astrophysics

0004-6361 (ISSN) 1432-0746 (eISSN)

Vol. 531 L8- L8

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Basic sciences



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