Identification of the SiCC radical toward IRC +10216 : the first molecular ring in an astronomical source.
In the radio spectrum of the envelope of the evolved carbon star IRC +10216, the fraction of lines from exotic molecules seldom or never observed in the terrestrial laboratory is exceptionally high. At least 20 lines have not been identified, and it is not known whether one, two, or a number of new molecules are involved. It is shown in the present investigation that nine of the previously unidentified lines in IRC +10216 are produced by SiCC, a radical long known to exist in stellar atmospheres. The true ground-state geometry of this radical has only been obtained recently on the basis of an elegant two-photon ionization experiment in a supersonic molecular beam. Information regarding the molecular geometry and lower rotational levels of SiCC is presented in a graph. The intensities of the SiCC lines confirm the assignments, yield new data on the temperature and density in the envelope of IRC +10216, and indicate that the amount of SiCC there is substantial.