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Journal Article

A search for light hydrides in the envelopes of evolved stars


Shingledecker,  Christopher N.
Center for Astrochemical Studies at MPE, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Siebert, M. A., Simon, I., Shingledecker, C. N., Carroll, P. B., Burkhardt, A. M., Booth, S. T., et al. (2020). A search for light hydrides in the envelopes of evolved stars. The Astrophysical Journal, 901(1): 22. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abac0e.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-85FF-4
We report a search for the diatomic hydrides SiH, PH, and FeH along the line of sight toward the chemically rich circumstellar envelopes of IRC+10216 and VY Canis Majoris. These molecules are thought to form in high-temperature regions near the photospheres of those stars, and may then further react via gas-phase and dust-grain interactions leading to more complex species, but have yet to be constrained by observation. We used the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies spectrometer on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy to search for rotational emission lines of these molecules in four spectral windows ranging from 600 to 1500 GHz. Although none of the targeted species was detected in our search, we report their upper limit abundances in each source and discuss how they influence the current understanding of hydride chemistry in dense circumstellar media. We attribute the nondetections of these hydrides to their compact source sizes, high barriers of formation, and proclivity to react with other molecules in the winds.