Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • William M. Irvine
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1812-4



This diatomic radical, containing nitrogen and hydrogen, has been detected in both the diffuse interstellar medium, where it is seen in absorption against the light of background stars, and in denser gas toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. In the latter case the relative abundances of NH3, NH2, and NH have been interpreted in terms of low-velocity shock activity (Goicoechea et al. 2004).


NH was first detected at near ultraviolet wavelengths in 1991 by D. M. Meyer and K. C. Roth. The subsequent observations of the Galactic center were made with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). It has been recently observed using the Herschel satellite towards other molecular clouds (Persson et al. 2010, 2012).

See Also


Relative Abundance Bioorganic Chemistry Interstellar Medium Molecular Cloud Galactic Center 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Goicoechea JR, Rodríguez-Fernández NJ, Cernicharo J (2004) The far-infrared spectrum of the sagittarius B2 region: extended molecular absorption, photodissociation, and photoionization. Astrophys J 600:214–233CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  2. Persson CM, Black JH, Cernicharo J et al (2010) Nitrogen hydrides in interstellar gas: Herschel/HIFI observations towards G10.6-0.4 (W31C). Astron Astrophys 521:L45CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  3. Persson CM, De Luca M, Mookerjea B et al (2012) Nitrogen hydrides in interstellar gas. II. Analysis of Herschel/HIFI observations towards W49N and G10.6-0.4 (W31C). Astron Astrophys 543:145CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AstronomyUniversity of Massachusetts, Lederle Graduate Research Tower B 619EAmherstUSA