From Molecular Oxygen to Primordial Molecules with the Odin Satellite
Other conference contribution, 2008

Odin is a mm/submm-wave-spectroscopy Astronomy and Aeronomy satellite. Its design life time was two years, but it has now operated successfully for more than six years. Its 1.1 m high-precision telescope, with a beam efficiency of 90%, has beamwidths of 10 arcmin and 2 arcmin at mm and submm wavelengths, respectively. It is equipped with a cryogenic receiver package of four tunable, SSB, submm Schottky mixers covering the 486-504 and 541-581 GHz frequency range, and a fixed-tuned HEMT receiver at a frequency of 118-119 GHz. Odin has discovered the elusive oxygen (O2) molecule at 119 GHz - the detection was made in the ρ Oph A molecular-cloud core. The O2 abundance, X(O2), is ≈5×10^{-8} - Larsson et al. (2007: A&A, 466, 999). Odin has also discovered water (H2O) at 557 GHz in the core of the Milky Way Galaxy - the Sgr A CircumNuclear Disk (CND)- and mapped its distribution in the Sgr A Complex including the +20 and +50 km s-1 Molecular Clouds - Sandqvist et al. (2006: J.Phys. Conf.Ser., 54, 72). Furthermore, devoting about 1,100 orbits (each of which contains 1 hour of observable astronomy time) Odin has performed a spectral-line survey of Orion KL in the ranges 487-492 and 542-577 GHz. There are 280 identified spectral lines from 38 species and 64 unidentified lines [Olofsson et al. (2007: A&A, 476, 791) and Persson et al. (2007: A&A, 476, 807)]. Odin has searched for emission from the 557 GHz ortho-H2O line in six nearby starburst galaxies yielding three-sigma upper limits to the water abundance relative to H2 (NGC253 - <2.0×10^{-9}; IC342 -<2.6×10^{-9}; M82 -<1.7×10^{-9}; NGC 4258 -<1.3×10^{-8}; CenA -<7.8×10^{-9} and M51 -<2.4×10^{-9}) [Wilson et al. (2007: A&A, 469, 121)]. Odin has an ongoing project for studying the first phases of structure formation in the early universe. The presence of primordial molecules (e.g., HD, H2+, LiH, HeH+) is investigated by searching for spectral lines produced by resonant scattering of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). During the summer of 2004, Odin performed a spectral scan (547-578 GHz, 1 MHz resolution) towards two Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe CMB Hot Spots using 350 orbits (5 orbits per LO setting and point). No lines were detected down to an rms level of 65 mK. A new observing strategy was developed for a second observing session (430 orbits) during the winter of 2006/7 to accommodate for the spatial uncertainty of primordial clouds. The spectral range is 486.5-492.0 and 542.0-547.5 GHz (10 orbits per LO setting and point, 1 MHz resolution yielding an rms of about 30 mK). Analysis of these data is ongoing. This is a pilot programme for GTO time on ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, planned for launch in late 2008.


Carina Persson

Chalmers, Department of Radio and Space Science, Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics

P. Encrenaz

Åke Hjalmarson

Chalmers, Department of Radio and Space Science, Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics

Aa. Sandqvist

The Odin team

Proceedings in Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series "Frontiers of Astronomy", NRAO 50th Anniversary Science Symposium, eds. A. Bridle, J. Condon and G. Hunt.

Vol. 395 378-
978-1-58381-660-8 (ISBN)

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology



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