Low upper limits on the O-2 abundance from the Odin satellite

L Pagani, A O H Olofsson, P Bergman, P Bernath, J H Black, R S Booth, V Buat, J Crovisier, C L Curry, P J Encrenaz, E Falgarone, P A Feldman, M Fich, H G Floren, U Frisk, M Gerin, E M Gregersen, J Harju, T Hasegawa, A HjalmarsonL E B Johansson, S Kwok, B Larsson, A Lecacheux, T Liljestrom, M Lindqvist, R Liseau, K Mattila, G F Mitchell, L H Nordh, M Olberg, G Olofsson, I Ristorcelli, A Sandqvist, F von Scheele, G Serra, N F Tothill, K Volk, T Wiklind, C D Wilson

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For the first time, a search has been conducted in our Galaxy for the 119 GHz transition connecting to the ground state of O-2, using the Odin satellite. Equipped with a sensitive 3 mm receiver (T-sys(SSB) = 600 K), Odin has reached unprecedented upper limits on the abundance of O2, especially in cold dark clouds where the excited state levels involved in the 487 GHz transition are not expected to be significantly populated. Here we report upper limits for a dozen sources. In cold dark clouds we improve upon the published SWAS upper limits by more than an order of magnitude, reaching N(O-2)/N(H-2) less than or equal to 10(-7) in half of the sources. While standard chemical models are definitively ruled out by these new limits, our results are compatible with several recent studies that derive lower O-2 abundances. Goldsmith et al. (2002) recently reported a SWAS tentative detection of the 487 GHz transition of O-2 in an outflow wing towards rho Oph A in a combination of 7 beams covering approximately 10' X 14'. In a brief (1.3 hour integration time) and partial covering of the SWAS region (approximate to65% if we exclude their central position), we did not detect the corresponding 119 GHz line. Our 3 sigma upper limit on the O-2 column density is 7.3 X 10(15) cm(-2). We presently cannot exclude the possibility that the SWAS signal lies mostly outside of the 9' Odin beam and has escaped our sensitive detector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L77-L81
Number of pages5
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


  • radio lines : ISM
  • ISM : molecules
  • Galaxy : abundances
  • (CO)-O-18(J=1->0) SURVEY

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