Star formation and chemical complexity in the Orion nebula: A new view with the IRAM and ALMA interferometers

Alain Baudry 1 N. Brouillet 1 D. Despois 1
LAB - Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux [Pessac]
Abstract : The Orion nebula is one of the most observed celestial regions in the Milky Way. It is an active massive star-forming region, especially well studied in the millimeter and submillimeter domains that allow us to unveil the cool and obscured regions in which stars are being formed. After a brief introduction to the main properties of a radio telescope, we recall that the most sensitive radio interferometers, the IRAM mm array and, especially, the recently built ALMA millimeter/submillimeter array, offer an outstanding spatial resolution reaching the sub-arcsecond scale, or even about 10 milli-arcseconds for ALMA (about four times the Earth’s orbit radius at the Orion distance). These interferometers can reveal the fine spatial details of the Orion clouds of gas and dust within which new stars and associated planetary systems are being formed. The high spectral resolution and sensitivity of both interferometers and the broad instantaneous bandwidth offered by ALMA allowed us to map the emission from a number of complex organic molecules, to estimate the molecular abundances, and to address some important aspects of the molecular complexity in Orion. Our observations do not lead to a unique molecular formation and excitation scheme, but the chemistry at work in the proto-stellar ‘fragments’ at the center of the Orion nebula can be compared with the chemistry prevailing in comets of the Solar system. We have underlined the possible links between the prebiotic molecules observed in space and the chemistry leading to the early terrestrial life.
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Submitted on : Monday, September 19, 2016 - 1:11:43 PM
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Alain Baudry, N. Brouillet, D. Despois. Star formation and chemical complexity in the Orion nebula: A new view with the IRAM and ALMA interferometers. Comptes Rendus Physique, Elsevier Masson, 2016, 17, pp.976-984. ⟨10.1016/j.crhy.2016.07.019⟩. ⟨hal-01368303⟩



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