O(18)O and C(18)O observations of rho Ophiuchi A
Journal article, 2010
Context. Contrary to theoretical expectation, surprisingly low concentrations of molecular oxygen, O-2, have been found in the interstellar medium. Telluric absorption makes ground based O-2 observations essentially impossible and observations had to be done from space. Millimetre-wave telescopes on space platforms were necessarily small, which resulted in large, several arcminutes wide, beam patterns. Observations of the (N-J = 1(1)-1(0)) ground state transition of O-2 with the Odin satellite resulted in a greater than or similar to 5 sigma detection toward the dense core rho OphA. At the frequency of the line, 119 GHz, the Odin telescope has a beam width of 10', larger than the size of the dense core. Aims. The precise nature of the emitting source and its exact location and extent are therefore unknown. The current investigation is intended to remedy this. Methods. Although the Earth's atmosphere is entirely opaque to low-lying O-2 transitions, it allows ground based observations of the much rarer (OO)-O-16-O-18 in favourable conditions and at much higher angular resolution with larger telescopes. In addition, rho OphA exhibits both multiple radial velocity systems and considerable velocity gradients. Extensive mapping of the region in the proxy (CO)-O-18 (J = 3-2) line can be expected to help identify the O-2 source on the basis of its line shape and Doppler velocity. Line opacities were determined from observations of optically thin (CO)-C-13-O-18 (J = 3-2). During several observing periods, two C18O intensity maxima in rho OphA were searched for (OO)-O-18 in the (2(1)-0(1)) line at 234 GHz with the 12m APEX telescope. These positions are associated also with peaks in the mm-continuum emission from dust. Results. Our observations resulted in an upper limit on the integrated O18O intensity of integral T-A* dv < 0.01 K kms(-1) (3 sigma) into the 26."5 beam. Together with the (CO)-O-18 data, this leads to a ratio of N((CO)-O-18)/N((OO)-O-18) > 16. Combining Odin's O-2 with the present (OO)-O-18 observations we infer an O-2 abundance 5 x 10(-7) < X(O-2) less than or similar to 2.5 x 10(-6). Conclusions. Examining the evidence, which is based primarily on observations in lines of O18O and C18O, leads us to conclude that the source of observed O-2 emission is most likely confined to the central regions of the rho OphA core. In this limited area, implied O-2 abundances could thus be higher than inferred on the basis of Odin observations (5 x 10(-8)) by up to two orders of magnitude.
ISM: individual objects: rho
ISM: lines and bands
ISM: individual objects: rho OphA SM1
dense interstellar clouds