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2011ApJ...743...60H - Astrophys. J., 743, 60 (2011/December-2)

Formation of peptide bonds in space: a comprehensive study of formamide and acetamide in Sgr B2(N).


Abstract (from CDS):

Extensive observations of acetamide (CH3CONH2) and formamide (NH2CHO) have been conducted toward Sgr B2(N) at 1, 2, and 3 mm using the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT) and the 12 m antenna of the Arizona Radio Observatory. Over the frequency range 65-280 GHz, 132 transitions of acetamide have been observed as individual, distinguishable features, although in some cases they are partially blended. The unblended transitions in acetamide indicate VLSR= 63.2±2.8 km/s and ΔV1/2= 12.5±2.9 km/s, line parameters that are very similar to that of formamide (NH2CHO) and other organic species in Sgr B2(N). For formamide, 79 individual transitions were identified over the same frequency region. Rotational diagram analyses indicate the presence of two components for both species in Sgr B2(N). For acetamide, the colder component (Eu< 40 K) exhibits a rotational temperature of Trot= 17 ±4 K and a column density of Ntot= 5.2±3.5x1013/cm2; the higher energy component has Trot= 171±4 K and Ntot= 6.4±4.7x1014/cm2. In the case of formamide, Trot= 26±4 K and Ntot= 1.6±0.7x1014/cm2 for the colder component with Trot= 134±17 K and Ntot= 4.0±1.2 x 1014/cm2 for the warmer region. The fractional abundances of acetamide are f (H2) = 1.7x10–11 and 2.1x10–10 for the cold and warm components, and in formamide, f (H2) = 5.3x10–11 and 1.3x10–10. The similarity between the abundances and distributions of CH3CONH2 and NH2CHO suggests a synthetic connection. The abundance of acetamide, moreover, is only a factor of three lower than that of formaldehyde, and very similar to acetaldehyde and ketene. CH3CONH2 is therefore one of the most abundant complex organic species in Sgr B2(N), and could be a possible source of larger peptide molecules, as opposed to amino acids.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): astrobiology - astrochemistry - ISM: molecules - line: identification - methods: laboratory - molecular data

Simbad objects: 3

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