Spectral line survey toward the spiral arm of M51 in the 3 and 2 mm bands

Yoshimasa Watanabe, Nami Sakai, Kazuo Sorai, Satoshi Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


We have conducted a spectral line survey in the 3 and 2 mm bands toward two positions in a spiral arm of M51 (NGC 5194) with the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique 30 m telescope. In this survey, we have identified 13 molecular species, including CN, CCH, N2H+, HNCO, and CH3OH. Furthermore, six isotopologues of the major species have been detected. On the other hand, SiO, HC3N, CH3CN, and deuterated species such as DCN and DCO+ were not detected. The deuterium fractionation ratios are evaluated to be less than 0.8% and 1.2% for DCN/HCN and DCO+/HCO +, respectively. By comparing the results of the two positions with different star formation activities, we have found that the observed chemical compositions do not strongly depend on star formation activities. They seem to reflect a chemical composition averaged over the 1 kpc scale region including many giant molecular clouds. Among the detected molecules CN, CCH, and CH3OH are found to be abundant. High abundances of CN and CCH are consistent with the above picture of a widespread distribution of molecules because they can be produced by photodissociation. On the other hand, it seems likely that CH3OH is liberated in the gas phase by shocks associated with large-scale phenomena such as cloud-cloud collisions and/or by nonthermal desorption processes such as photoevaporation due to cosmic-ray-induced UV photons. The present result demonstrates a characteristic chemical composition of a giant molecular cloud complex in the spiral arm, which can be used as a standard reference for studying chemistry in active galactic nuclei and starbursts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun 10
Externally publishedYes


  • ISM: abundances
  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: molecules
  • astrochemistry
  • galaxies: ISM
  • galaxies: individual (M51)
  • galaxies: spiral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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