Detection of po in orion-kl: Phosphorus chemistry in the plateau outflow

J. J. Bernal, L. A. Koelemay, L. M. Ziurys

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13 Scopus citations


The PO molecule (X2r) has been detected toward Orion-KL via its J = 2.5 → 1.5 transition near 109 GHz using the 12 m telescope of the Arizona Radio Observatory. This transition consists of a quartet of lines, generated by lambda-doubling and phosphorus hyperfine interactions, creating a distinct pattern of doublets of doublets. All four features (F = 3 → 2, e, f and 2 → 1, e, f ) were detected. The line profiles measured were relatively broad, with ΔV1/2 ∼ 21-25 km s-1, and VLSR ∼ 10 km s-1, clearly identifying the molecule as arising from the Orion "plateau"region. The J = 2 → 1 transition of PN (X1Σ) at 94 GHz was also measured, and its line profile indicates a plateau origin in Orion, as found previously by Ziurys. Therefore, PO and PN arise from the same gas. There was no evidence of a "hot core"or "ridge"component in either molecule. The column densities determined for PO and PN in the Orion plateau are Ntot ≈ 5.4(0.2) × 1013 and 2.0(0.4) × 1013 cm-2, respectively, with corresponding abundances, relative to H2, of f ∼ 1.6(0.1) × 10-10 and 6.1(0.6) × 10-11, resulting in PO/ PN ∼ 3. The PO and PN line profiles also resemble those of SiO and SiS, suggesting that the phosphorus molecules are produced by shocks in the plateau outflow. The observed PO/PN ratio in Orion-KL is very close in value to that measured in other warm molecular clouds, indicating a common synthesis pathway for these two molecules in outflows caused by star formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberabc87b
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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