Structure and composition of molecular clouds with CN Zeeman detections I: W3(OH)

Nicholas S. Hakobian, Richard M. Crutcher

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We have carried out a multi-species study of a region which has had previous measurements of strong magnetic fields through the CN Zeeman effect in order to explore the relationship between CN and N2H+, both of which have evidence that they remain in the gas phase at densities of 105-106cm-3. To achieve this, we map the 1 arcmin2 region around the UCHII region of W3(OH) using the Combined Array for Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA). Approximately 105 hr of data were collected in multiple array configurations to produce maps with an effective resolution of ∼2″.5 at high signal-to-noise ratios (S/Ns) in CN, C18O, HCN, HCO+, N2H+, and two continuum bands (91.2GHz and 112GHz). These data allow us to compare tracer molecules associated with both low- and high-density regions to infer gas properties. We determine that CARMA resolves out approximately 35% of the CN emission around W3(OH) when compared with spectra obtained from the IRAM 30 m telescope. The presence of strong absorption lines toward the continuum source in three of the molecular transitions infers the presence of a cold, dark, optically thick region in front of the continuum source. In addition, the presence of high-velocity emission lines near the continuum source shows the presence of hot clumpy emission behind the continuum source. These data determine that future high-resolution interferometric CN Zeeman measurements which cannot currently be performed (due to technical limitations of current telescopes) are feasible. We confirm that CN is indeed a good tracer for high-density regions; with certain objects such as W3(OH) it appears to be a more accurate tracer than N2H+.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 20 2011


  • magnetic fields
  • molecular data
  • stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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