An Interferometric View of H-MM1. I. Direct Observation of NH3Depletion

Jaime E. Pineda, Jorma Harju, Paola Caselli, Olli Sipilä, Mika Juvela, Charlotte Vastel, Erik Rosolowsky, Andreas Burkert, Rachel K. Friesen, Yancy Shirley, María José Maureira, Spandan Choudhury, Dominique M. Segura-Cox, Rolf Güsten, Anna Punanova, Luca Bizzocchi, Alyssa A. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Spectral lines of ammonia, NH3, are useful probes of the physical conditions in dense molecular cloud cores. In addition to advantages in spectroscopy, ammonia has also been suggested to be resistant to freezing onto grain surfaces, which should make it a superior tool for studying the interior parts of cold, dense cores. Here we present high-resolution NH3 observations with the Very Large Array and Green Bank Telescope toward a prestellar core. These observations show an outer region with a fractional NH3 abundance of X(NH3) = (1.975 ± 0.005) × 10-8 (±10% systematic), but it also reveals that, after all, the X(NH3) starts to decrease above a H2 column density of ≈2.6 × 1022 cm-2. We derive a density model for the core and find that the break point in the fractional abundance occurs at the density n(H2) ∼2 × 105 cm-3, and beyond this point the fractional abundance decreases with increasing density, following the power law n -1.1. This power-law behavior is well reproduced by chemical models where adsorption onto grains dominates the removal of ammonia and related species from the gas at high densities. We suggest that the break-point density changes from core to core depending on the temperature and the grain properties, but that the depletion power law is anyway likely to be close to n -1 owing to the dominance of accretion in the central parts of starless cores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number294
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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