Insights into surface hydrogenation in the interstellar medium: Observations of methanimine and methyl amine in SGR B2(N)

D. T. Halfen, V. V. Ilyushin, L. M. Ziurys

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32 Scopus citations


Multiple observations of methanimine (CH2NH) and methyl amine (CH3NH2) have been performed toward Sgr B2(N) at 1, 2, and 3 mm using the Submillimeter Telescope and the 12 m antenna of the Arizona Radio Observatory. In the frequency range 68-280 GHz, 23 transitions of CH 2NH and 170 lines of CH3NH2 have been observed as individual, distinguishable features, although some are partially blended with other lines. For CH2NH, the line profiles indicate V LSR = 64.2 ± 1.4 km s-1 and ΔV 1/2 = 13.8 ± 2.8 km s-1, while V LSR = 63.7 ± 1.6 km s-1 and ΔV 1/2 = 15.1 ± 3.0 km s -1 for CH3NH2, parameters that are very similar to those of other organic species in Sgr B2(N). From these data, rotational diagrams were constructed for both species. In the case of CH2NH, a rotational temperature of T rot = 44 ± 13 K and a column density of N tot = (9.1 ± 4.4) × 1014 cm -2 were determined from the analysis. For CH3NH 2, T rot = 159 ± 30 K and N tot = (5.0 ± 0.9) × 1015 cm-2, indicating that this species is present in much warmer gas than CH2NH. The fractional abundances for CH2NH and CH3NH2 were established to be f (H2) ≈ 3.0 × 10-10 and f (H2) ≈ 1.7 × 10-9, respectively. It has been proposed that CH2NH is formed on grains via hydrogenation of HCN; further hydrogenation of CH2NH on surfaces leads to CH 3NH2. However, given the dissimilarity between the rotational temperatures and distributions of CH2NH and CH 3NH2 in Sgr B2, it is improbable that these species are closely related synthetically, at least in this source. Both CH2NH and CH3NH2 are more likely created by neutral-neutral processes in the gas phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2013


  • SM: molecules
  • astrochemistry
  • ethods: laboratory
  • ine: identification
  • olecular data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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