Department of Radio and Space Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Onsala Space Observatory, 439 92 Onsala, Sweden e-mail: email@example.com
2 Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, AlbaNova, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 LERMA, L'Observatoire de Paris, 61 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 5 December 2009
Context. Contrary to theoretical expectation, surprisingly low concentrations of molecular oxygen, O2, have been found in the interstellar medium. Telluric absorption makes ground based O2 observations essentially impossible and observations had to be done from space. Millimetre-wave telescopes on space platforms were necessarily small, which resulted in large, several arcminutes wide, beam patterns. Observations of the (NJ = 11-10) ground state transition of O2 with the Odin satellite resulted in a ≳ 5σ detection toward the dense core . At the frequency of the line, 119 GHz, the Odin telescope has a beam width of 10', larger than the size of the dense core.
Aims. The precise nature of the emitting source and its exact location and extent are therefore unknown. The current investigation is intended to remedy this.
Methods. Although the Earth's atmosphere is entirely opaque to low-lying O2 transitions, it allows ground based observations of the much rarer 16O18O in favourable conditions and at much higher angular resolution with larger telescopes. In addition, exhibits both multiple radial velocity systems and considerable velocity gradients. Extensive mapping of the region in the proxy C18O (J = 3-2) line can be expected to help identify the O2 source on the basis of its line shape and Doppler velocity. Line opacities were determined from observations of optically thin 13C18O (J = 3-2). During several observing periods, two C18O intensity maxima in were searched for O18O in the (21-1 line at 234 GHz with the 12 m APEX telescope. These positions are associated also with peaks in the mm-continuum emission from dust.
Results. Our observations resulted in an upper limit on the integrated O18O intensity of < 0.01 K km s-1 (3 σ) into the 265 beam. Together with the C18O data, this leads to a ratio of N(C18O)/N(O18O) . Combining Odin's O2 with the present O18O observations we infer an O2 abundance 5 10-7 < X(O2) 2.5 10-6.
Conclusions. Examining the evidence, which is based primarily on observations in lines of O18O and C18O, leads us to conclude that the source of observed O2 emission is most likely confined to the central regions of the . In this limited area, implied O2 abundances could thus be higher than inferred on the basis of Odin observations (5 10-8) by up to two orders of magnitude.
Key words: ISM: abundances / ISM: molecules / ISM: lines and bands / ISM: clouds / ISM: individual objects: SM 1 / ISM: individual objects: SM 1N
Data cubes of Figs. 3 and 4 are only available in electronic from at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (18.104.22.168) or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/510/A98
© ESO, 2010