Konovalenko and Sodin1 recently reported the detection of an absorption line at a frequency of 26.131 MHz towards Cassiopeia A and attributed the line to the 26.127 MHz F = 5/2 → 3/2 hyperfine transition of 14N. The difference in frequency corresponds to a radial velocity of -40 km s-1, which is compatible with the mean velocity of the Perseus arm H I absorption lines seen towards Cas A. However, to explain the strength of the line, Konovalenko and Sodin require (N/H) = 8 × 10-3 compared with the cosmic ratio of 1.2 × 10-4. An anomalous abundance of this magnitude would have substantial impact on ideas about galactic nucleosynthesis. We suggest here that the line is a 631α recombination line due to neutral atoms of heavy elements - either carbon atoms in the H I clouds or possibly heavier atoms (Mg, Ca, Fe) in hot (∼104 K) ionized gas along the line of sight to Cas A.
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