Current Views on Astrochemistry
Astrochemistry is the study of the formation and destruction of interstellar and circumstellar molecules. Such molecules have been a major field of astrophysical investigation for about 17 years. As of 1987 January, 66 species are identified, and the discovery rate is about three per year. The known species are listed in Table 1 along with the type of region in which they are found. Important areas of study are the distribution and abundances of molecules in external galaxies, the morphology and evolution of galactic molecular clouds and their relation to star formation, interstellar chemistry, and the distribution of isotopes throughout the galaxy and their implications for cosmology and the nucleosynthesis history of the galaxy. Here, we shall discuss the current status of interstellar (and circumstellar) chemistry. For this purpose, a brief summary of the physical conditions characterizing the several morphological regimes of the interstellar medium (ISM) is useful.
KeywordsMolecular Cloud Interstellar Cloud Warm Cloud Cold Cloud Diffuse Cloud
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