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A search for interstellar oxiranecarbonitrile (C3H3NO)

Abstract
We report a search in cold, quiescent and in hot core type interstellar molecular clouds for the small cyclic molecule oxiranecarbonitrile (C3H3NO), which has been suggested as a precursor of important prebiotic molecules. We have determined upper limits to the column density and fractional abundance for the observed sources and find that, typically, the fractional abundance by number relative to molecular hydrogen of C3H3NO is less than a few times 10–10. This limit is one to two orders of magnitude less than the measured abundance of such similarly complex species as CH3CH2CN and HCOOCH3 in well-studied hot cores. A number of astrochemical discoveries were made, including the first detection of the species CH3CH2CN in the massive star-forming clouds G34.3+0.2 and W51M and the first astronomical detections of some eight rotational transitions of CH3CH2CN, CH3CCH, and HCOOCH3. In addition, we found 8 emission lines in the 89 GHz region and 18 in the 102 GHz region which we were unable to assign.
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1996
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