Chemical and physical gradients along the OMC-1 ridge

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We present a survey of the distribution of 20 chemical and isotopic molecular species along the central ridge of the Orion molecular cloud from 6' north to 6' south of BN-KL observed with the QUARRY focal plane array on the FCRAO 14 m telescope, which provides an angular resolution of 50'' in the 3 mm wavelength region. We use standard tools of multivariate analysis for a systematic investigation of the similarities and differences among the maps of integrated intensities of the 32 lines observed. The maps fall in three broad classes: first, those strongly peaked toward BN-KL; second, those having rather flat distributions along the ridge; and third, those with a clear north-south gradient or contrast. We identify six positions or regions where we calculate relative abundances. Line velocities and line widths indicate that the optically thin lines generally trace the same volume of dense gas, except in the molecular bar, where C18O, C34S, H13CO+, CN, C2H, SO, and C3H2 have velocities characteristic of the bar itself, whereas the emission from other detected species is dominated by the background cloud. The strongest abundance variations in our data are the well-known enhancements seen in HCN, CH3OH, HC3N, and SO toward BN-KL and, less strongly, toward the Orion-South outflow 13S.

The principal result of this study is that along the extended quiescent ridge the chemical abundances, within factors of 3-4, exhibit an impressive degree of uniformity. The northern part of the ridge has a chemistry closest to that found in quiescent dense clouds. While temperature and density are similar around the northern radical-ion peak near 35N and in the southern core near 42S, some abundances, in particular, those of the ions HCO+ and N2H+, are significantly lower toward 42S.

The areas near 42S and the molecular bar itself around (17E, 24S) stand out with peculiar and similar properties—probably caused by stronger UV fields penetrating deeper into the clumpy molecular gas. This leads to higher electron abundances and thereby reduced abundances of the ions, as well as a lack of complex molecules.


The published version is located at http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/482/1/245







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