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Herschel/HIFI discovery of interstellar chloronium (H2Cl+).
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 521 (L9).
We report the first detection of chloronium, H2Cl+, in the interstellar medium, using the HIFI instrument aboard the Herschel Space Observatory.
The 212−101 lines of ortho-H35
2 Cl+ and ortho-H37
2 Cl+ are detected in absorption towards NGC 6334I, and the 111−000 transition of para-H35
2 Cl+ is
detected in absorption towards NGC 6334I and Sgr B2(S). The H2Cl+ column densities are compared to those of the chemically-related species
HCl. The derived HCl/H2Cl+ column density ratios, ∼1–10, are within the range predicted by models of diffuse and dense photon dominated
regions (PDRs). However, the observed H2Cl+ column densities, in excess of 1013 cm−2, are significantly higher than the model predictions. Our
observations demonstrate the outstanding spectroscopic capabilities of HIFI for detecting new interstellar molecules and providing key constraints
for astrochemical models.
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