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Session 62 - Workshop on the Future of Antarctic Astrophysics - II.
Topical, Oral session, Wednesday, June 10

[62.01] Submillimeter Spectroscopy of Hydride Molecules

T. G. Phillips (Caltech)

Simple hydride molecules are of great importance in astrophysics and astrochemistry. Physically they dominate the cooling of dense, warm phases of the ISM, such as the cores and disks of YSOs. Chemically they are often stable end points of chemical reactions, or may represent important intermediate stages of the reaction chains, which can be used to test the validity of the process. Through the efforts of astronomers, physicists, chemists, and laboratory spectroscopists we have an approximate knowledge of the abundance of some of the important species, but a great deal of new effort will be required to achieve the comprehensive and accurate data set needed to determine the energy balance and firmly establish the chemical pathways. Due to the low moment of inertia, the hydrides rotate rapidly and so have their fundamental spectral lines in the submillimeter. Depending on the cloud geometry and temperature profile they may be observed in emission or absorption. Species such as HCl, HF, OH, CH, CH^+, NH_2, NH_3, H_2O, H_2S, H_3O^+ and even H_3^+ have been detected, but this is just a fraction of the available set. Also, most deduced abundances are not nearly sufficiently well known to draw definitive conclusions about the chemical processes. For example, the most important coolant for many regions, H_2O, has a possible range of deduced abundance of a factor of 1000.

The very low submillimeter opacity at the South Pole site will be a significant factor in providing a new capabilty for interstellar hydride spectroscopy. The new species and lines made available in this way will be discussed.

Program listing for Wednesday