The distribution and origin of C2H in NGC 253 from ALCHEMI

J. Holdship, S. Viti, S. Martín, N. Harada, J. Mangum, K. Sakamoto, S. Muller, K. Tanaka, Y. Yoshimura, K. Nakanishi, R. Herrero-Illana, S. Mühle, R. Aladro, L. Colzi, K. L. Emig, S. García-Burillo, C. Henkel, P. Humire, D. S. Meier, V. M. RivillaP. Van Der Werf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Context. Observations of chemical species can provide insights into the physical conditions of the emitting gas however it is important to understand how their abundances and excitation vary within different heating environments. C2H is a molecule typically found in PDR regions of our own Galaxy but there is evidence to suggest it also traces other regions undergoing energetic processing in extragalactic environments. Aims. As part of the ALCHEMI ALMA large program, we map the emission of C2H in the central molecular zone of the nearby starburst galaxy NGC 253 at 1.6″ (28 pc) resolution and characterize it to understand its chemical origins. Methods. We used spectral modeling of the N = 1-0 through N = 4-3 rotational transitions of C2H to derive the C2H column densities towards the dense clouds in NGC 253. We then use chemical modeling, including photodissociation region (PDR), dense cloud, and shock models to investigate the chemical processes and physical conditions that are producing the molecular emission. Results. We find high C2H column densities of ∼1015 cm-2 detected towards the dense regions of NGC 253. We further find that these column densities cannot be reproduced if it is assumed that the emission arises from the PDR regions at the edge of the clouds. Instead, we find that the C2H abundance remains high even in the high visual extinction interior of these clouds and that this is most likely caused by a high cosmic-ray ionization rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA55
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 1


  • Astrochemistry
  • Galaxies: individual: NGC 253
  • Radiative transfer
  • Submillimeter: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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