Shock chemistry in the molecular clouds associated with SNR IC 443.

L. M. Ziurys, R. L. Snell, R. L. Dickman

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56 Scopus citations


Several interstellar molecules have been detected toward the highly perturbed B and G clouds associated with the supernova remnant IC 443 via their 3 mm transitions, including N2H+, SiO, SO, CN, HNC, and H13CO+. The (J, K) = (1, 1) and (2, 2) inversion lines of metastable ammonia have also been observed, as well as the J = 3-2 transition of HCO+ at 1.2 mm. Analysis of the (1, 1) and (2, 2) inversion lines of NH3 indicates minimum gas kinetic temperatures of TK = 70 K toward cloud B, and TK = 33 K in cloud G. Modeling of the J = 1-0 and J = 3-2 transitions of HCO+ implies densities greater than 10(5) cm-3 toward both positions. These data clearly show that hot and dense material is present in IC 443, and they suggest the presence of shocks in both regions. A careful analysis of the HCO+ lines indicates that the HCO+ abundance is at most enhanced by factors of a few over that found in cold, quiescent gas. This conclusion contradicts past claims of HCO+ abundance enhancements of several orders of magnitude in the perturbed regions. The N2H+ abundance was also found to be similar to that in cold gas, suggesting that there is no increase in ionization in the clouds. The abundances of SO and CS, as well as CN and NH3, do not appear to differ significantly from those found in cold dark clouds, although chemistry models predict sulfur-containing species to undergo high-temperature enhancements. SiO, however, is found to have an abundance in the perturbed gas 100 times larger than the upper limits observed in the dark cloud TMC 1, a result in agreement with high temperature chemistry models. In addition, the HNC/HCN ratio in both IC 443 B and G was found to be approximately 0.1--far from the ratio of 1 predicted by low-temperature ion-molecule chemistry, but similar to the values observed in clouds where elevated temperatures are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-866
Number of pages10
JournalThe Astrophysical journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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