Publication Abstract

Complex Organic Molecules at High Spatial Resolution toward ORION-KL. I. Spatial Scales

S. L. Widicus Weaver and D. N. Friedel

Here we present high spatial resolution (<1'') observations of molecular emission in Orion-KL conducted using the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy. This work was motivated by recent millimeter continuum imaging studies of this region conducted at a similarly high spatial resolution, which revealed that the bulk of the emission arises from numerous compact sources, rather than the larger-scale extended structures typically associated with the Orion Hot Core and Compact Ridge. Given that the spatial extent of molecular emission greatly affects the determination of molecular abundances, it is important to determine the true spatial scale for complex molecules in this region. Additionally, it has recently been suggested that the relative spatial distributions of complex molecules in a source might give insight into the chemical mechanisms that drive complex chemistry in star-forming regions. In order to begin to address these issues, this study seeks to determine the spatial distributions of ethyl cyanide [C2H5CN], dimethyl ether [(CH3)2O], methyl formate [HCOOCH3], formic acid [HCOOH], acetone [(CH3)2CO], SiO, methanol [CH3OH], and methyl cyanide [CH3CN] in Orion-KL at ? = 3 mm. We find that for all observed molecules, the molecular emission arises from multiple components of the cloud that include a range of spatial scales and physical conditions. Here, we present the results of these observations and discuss the implications for studies of complex molecules in star-forming regions.

Published in the The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, vol. 201

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© 2015, D. N. Friedel