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Paper: Detection of Formamide in the Solar-Type Protostar IRAS16293-2422
Volume: 476, New Trends in Radio Astronomy in the ALMA Era
Page: 323
Authors: Kahane, C.; Ceccarelli, C.; Faure, A.; Caux, E.
Abstract: Understanding the origin of life on Earth is obviously one of the major challenges of modern science. Finding the answer implies putting together and solving a plethora of riddles. Many of them have in common one word: chemistry. In this context, the formamide (NH2CHO) discovery in the environment of a forming solar type star might represent a new stage of our understanding of the chemical complexity increase along the history of our own Sun and the solar system. Observations performed with the IRAM 30m telescope in the 80 – 280 GHz range towards the vicinity of the young sun-like star IRAS 16293-2422 has allowed the detection of 18 lines from the formamide (NH2CHO) molecular emission. An LTE analysis of the formamide emission (see Fig.1) leads to a molecular abundance ∼ 10–10, comparable to the abundances observed in the two high-mass star-forming regions, Orion-KL and SgrB2, where this species has previously been detected. From a very simple gas phase model, where formamide is formed via the neutral-neutral reaction between the radical NH2 and H2CO, we obtain an abundance in good agreement with the value derived from our observations. We also show that the interstellar formamide abundance with respect to water is similar to that observed in the coma of the comet Hale-Bopp, providing new evidence for the similarity between interstellar and cometary chemistry.
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