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Amazing Light pp 237-244 | Cite as

Radio and Infrared Spectroscopy of Interstellar Molecules

  • Neal J. EvansII
  • John H. Lacy

Abstract

A few diatomic interstellar molecules (CH, CN, and CH+) were detected in 1937–1940 with optical spectroscopy [1, 2, 3]. After a long delay, another diatomic (OH) was discovered at radio wavelengths in 1963 [4]. Despite these early results and the publication of lists of other candidate molecules by Townes [5] and Shklovsky [6], further progress awaited the development of radio telescopes and receivers working at higher frequencies. The discovery of ammonia (NH3) and H20 in 1968–1969 by the group at Berkeley [7, 8], followed by the discovery of formaldehyde (H2CO) [9], opened the floodgates. By 1995, about 100 molecules have been discovered in space, mostly with radio frequency spectroscopy of rotational transitions.

Keywords

Star Formation Massive Star Molecular Cloud Column Density Rotational Transition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neal J. EvansII
  • John H. Lacy

There are no affiliations available

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