Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

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

Vinyl Cyanide

  • William M. Irvine
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1830-4



Under standard conditions in the laboratory, vinyl cyanide is a colorless liquid that is highly flammable and toxic. It is commonly observed by radio astronomers in the “hot cores” of interstellar clouds, which are the sites of the formation of massive stars, and it has also been detected at lower abundance in cold interstellar clouds and in the envelopes of evolved, carbon-rich stars. Observations at millimeter wavelengths detect the pure rotational transitions in the ground vibrational state and in low-lying vibrational states; 13-carbon isotopic species have also been detected in molecular clouds (Müller et al. 2008).


Interstellar vinyl cyanide was first detected by Gardner and Winnewisser (1975).

See Also


Standard Condition Bioorganic Chemistry Lower Abundance Vinyl Cyanide Interstellar Medium 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Gardner FF, Winnewisser G (1975) The detection of interstellar vinyl cyanide (Acrylonitrile). Astrophys J 195:L127–L130CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  2. Müller HSP, Belloche A, Menten KM, Comito C, Schilke P (2008) Rotational spectroscopy of isotopic vinyl cyanide, H2C = CH-C ≡ N, in the laboratory and in space. J Mol Spectrosc 251:319–325CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

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