A CH3CN and HCO+ survey towards southern methanol masers associated with star formation

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We present the initial results of a 3-mm spectral-line survey towards 83 methanol maserselected massive star-forming regions. Here, we report observations of the J=5-4 and 6-5 rotational transitions of methyl cyanide (CH3CN) and the J=1-0 transition of HCO+ and (HCO+)-C-13. CH3CN emission is detected in 58 sources (70 per cent of our sample). We estimate the temperature and column density for 37 of these using the rotational diagram (RD) method. The temperatures we derive range from 28-166 K, and are lower than previously reported temperatures, derived from higher J transitions. We find that CH3CN is brighter and more commonly detected towards ultracompact HII (UCHII) regions than towards isolated maser sources. Detection of CH3CN towards isolated maser sources strongly suggests that these objects are internally heated and that CH3CN is excited prior to the UCHII phase of massive star formation. HCO+ is detected towards 82 sources (99 per cent of our sample), many of which exhibit asymmetric line profiles compared to (HCO+)-C-13. Skewed profiles are indicative of inward or outward motions, however, we find approximately equal numbers of red- and blue-skewed profiles among all classes. Column densities are derived from an analysis of the HCO+ and (HCO+)-C-13 line profiles. 80 sources have mid-infrared (mid-IR) counterparts: 68 seen in emission and 12 seen in absorption as `dark clouds`. Seven of the 12 dark clouds exhibit asymmetric HCO+ profiles, six of which are skewed to the blue, indicating infalling motions. CH3CN is also common in dark clouds, where it has a 90 per cent detection rate.
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Purcell, Cormac
Balasubramanyam, Ramesh
Burton, Michael
Walsh, Andrew
Minier, Vincent
Kedziora-Chudczer, Lucyna
Longmore, Steven
Hill, Tracey
Bains, Indra
Barnes, P
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty
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