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Gas phase Elemental abundances in Molecular cloudS (GEMS) V. Methanol in Taurus

Abstract : Context. Methanol, one of the simplest complex organic molecules in the interstellar medium, has been shown to be present and extended in cold environments such as starless cores. Studying the physical conditions at which CH3OH starts its efficient formation is important to understand the development of molecular complexity in star-forming regions.
Aims: We aim to study methanol emission across several starless cores and investigate the physical conditions at which methanol starts to be efficiently formed, as well as how the physical structure of the cores and their surrounding environment affect its distribution.
Methods: Methanol and C18O emission lines at 3 mm have been observed with the IRAM 30 m telescope within the large programme Gas phase Elemental abundances in Molecular CloudS towards 66 positions across 12 starless cores in the Taurus Molecular Cloud. A non-LTE (local thermodynamic equilibrium) radiative transfer code was used to compute the column densities in all positions. We then used state-of-the-art chemical models to reproduce our observations.
Results: We have computed N(CH3OH)/N(C18O) column density ratios for all the observed offsets, and the following two different behaviours can be recognised: the cores where the ratio peaks at the dust peak and the cores where the ratio peaks with a slight offset with respect to the dust peak (~10 000 AU). We suggest that the cause of this behaviour is the irradiation on the cores due to protostars nearby which accelerate energetic particles along their outflows. The chemical models, which do not take irradiation variations into account, can reproduce the overall observed column density of methanol fairly well, but they cannot reproduce the two different radial profiles observed.
Conclusions: We confirm the substantial effect of the environment on the distribution of methanol in starless cores. We suggest that the clumpy medium generated by protostellar outflows might cause a more efficient penetration of the interstellar radiation field in the molecular cloud and have an impact on the distribution of methanol in starless cores. Additional experimental and theoretical work is needed to reproduce the distribution of methanol across starless cores.

Based on observations carried out with the IRAM NOEMA interferometer. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany), and IGN (Spain).

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Submitted on : Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 9:57:16 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 3:37:49 PM

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S. Spezzano, A. Fuente, P. Caselli, A. Vasyunin, D. Navarro-Almaida, et al.. Gas phase Elemental abundances in Molecular cloudS (GEMS) V. Methanol in Taurus. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2022, 657, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202141971⟩. ⟨insu-03672069⟩

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