S. Huttemeister, C. Henkel, R. Mauersberger, N. Brouillet, T. Wiklind, TJ Millar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ten detections and five tentative detections of hydrogen isocyanide (HNC) J=1-0 emission are reported from a survey including sixteen galaxies. Full maps are presented for the nuclear regions of NGC 253 and IC 342, partial maps for Maffei 2, M 82, and M 83. Toward IC 342, the HNC and HCO+ distributions differ from those observed in 12CO, 13CO, HCN, CS, and NH3. This is likely a consequence of the density structure. Relative HNC abundances are with 10(-10)-10(-9) much smaller than those measured in nearby dark clouds and appear to be slightly smaller than those in regions of massive star formation of the Galactic disk. This is consistent with the presence of dense warm gas or a frequent occurrence of shocks in the nuclear regions of the galaxies observed. As in prominent Galactic star forming regions, 3 mm HNC line emission tends to be weaker than the corresponding emission from HCN and HCO+. Toward Arp 220, however, the 3 mm HNC/HCN line intensity ratio is > 1. HNC/HCO+, HNC/CO, and HNC to 20 cm radio continuum luminosity ratios are also particularly large. A possible interpretation is the presence of cool quiescent gas outside the central region which contains the starburst. In the other ultraluminous galaxy observed, NGC 6240, X(HNC) 10 smaller than in Arp 220, demonstrating that the molecular composition in ultraluminous galaxies is far from being uniform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-584
Number of pages14
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1995


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