Exploring the Possibility of Identifying Hydride and Hydroxyl Cations of Noble Gas Species in the Crab Nebula Filament
Journal article, 2020

The first identification of the argonium ion (ArH+) toward the Crab Nebula supernova remnant was proclaimed by Herschel in the submillimeter and far-infrared domains. Very recently, the discovery of the hydro-helium cation (HeH+) in the planetary nebula (NGC 7027) by SOFIA has been reported. The elemental abundance of neon is much higher than that of argon. However, the presence of neonium ions (NeH+) is yet to be confirmed in space. Though the hydroxyl radicals (-OH) are very abundant in both neutral and cationic forms, hydroxyl cations of such noble gases (i.e., ArOH+, NeOH+, and HeOH+) are yet to be identified in space. Here, we employ a spectral synthesis code to examine the chemical evolution of the hydride and hydroxyl cations of the various isotopes of Ar, Ne, and He in the Crab Nebula filament and calculate their line emissivity and intrinsic line surface brightness. We successfully explain the observed surface brightness of two transitions of ArH+ (617 and 1234 GHz), one transition of OH+ (971 GHz), and one transition of H2 (2.12 μm). We also explain the observed surface brightness ratios between various molecular and atomic transitions. We find that our model reproduces the overall observed features when a hydrogen number density of ∼(104-106) cm-3 and a cosmic-ray ionization rate per H2 of ∼(10-11-10-10) s-1 are chosen. We discuss the possibility of detecting some hydride and hydroxyl cations in the Crab and diffuse cloud environment. Some transitions of these molecules are highlighted for future astronomical detection.


Ankan Das

Indian Centre for Space Physics

Milan Sil

Indian Centre for Space Physics

Bratati Bhat

Indian Centre for Space Physics

Prasanta Gorai

Indian Centre for Space Physics

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Astronomy and Plasmaphysics, Galactic Astrophysics

Sandip K. Chakrabarti

Indian Centre for Space Physics

P. Caselli

Max Planck Society

Astrophysical Journal

0004-637X (ISSN) 1538-4357 (eISSN)

Vol. 902 2 131

Subject Categories

Inorganic Chemistry

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics



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