Discovery Of Thionylimide, HNSO, In Space: The First N-, S- and O-bearing Interstellar Molecule

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
April 2, 2024
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Discovery Of Thionylimide, HNSO, In Space: The First N-, S- and O-bearing Interstellar Molecule
thionylimide (HNSO) — astro-ph.GA

We present the first detection in space of thionylimide (HNSO) toward the Galactic Center molecular cloud G+0.693-0.027, thanks to the superb sensitivity of an ultradeep molecular line survey carried out with the Yebes 40m and IRAM 30m telescopes.

This molecule is the first species detected in the interstellar medium containing, simultaneously, N, S and O. We have identified numerous Ka = 0, 1 and 2 transitions belonging to HNSO covering from Jup = 2 to Jup = 10, including several completely unblended features.

We derive a molecular column density of N = (8 ± 1)×1013 cm−2, yielding a fractional abundance relative to H2 of ∼6×10−10, which is about ∼37 and ∼4.8 times less abundant than SO and SO2, respectively. Although there are still many unknowns in the interstellar chemistry of NSO-bearing molecules, we propose that HNSO is likely formed through the reaction of the NSO radical and atomic H on the surface of icy grains, with alternative routes also deserving exploration.

Finally, HNSO appears as a promising link between N- , S- and O- interstellar chemistry and its discovery paves the route to the detection of a new family of molecules in space.

Miguel Sanz-Novo, Víctor M. Rivilla, Holger S. P. Müller, Izaskun Jiménez-Serra, Jesús Martín-Pintado, Laura Colzi, Shaoshan Zeng, Andrés Megías, Álvaro López-Gallifa, Antonio Martínez-Henares, Belén Tercero, Pablo de Vicente, David San Andrés, Sergio Martín, Miguel A. Requena-Torres

Comments: Forthcoming paper in The Astrophysical Journal Letters (in press)
Subjects: Astrophysics of Galaxies (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:2404.01044 [astro-ph.GA] (or arXiv:2404.01044v1 [astro-ph.GA] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Miguel Sanz-Novo
[v1] Mon, 1 Apr 2024 10:57:08 UTC (3,465 KB)
Astrobiology, Astronomy, Astrochemistry,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻