Complex molecules in the hot core of the low-mass protostar NGC 1333 IRAS 4A

S. Bottinelli*, C. Ceccarelli, B. Lefloch, J. P. Williams, A. Castets, S. Cazaux, S. Maret, B. Parise, A. G.G.M. Tielens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)


We report the detection of complex molecules (HCOOCH3, HCOOH, and CH3CN), signposts of a hot core-like region, toward the low-mass Class 0 source NGC 1333 IRAS 4A. This is the second low-mass protostar in which such complex molecules have been searched for and reported, the other source being IRAS 16293-2422. It is therefore likely that compact (a few tens of AU) regions of dense and warm gas, where the chemistry is dominated by the evaporation of grain mantles and where complex molecules are found, are common in low-mass Class 0 sources. Given that the chemical formation timescale is much shorter than the gas hot-core crossing time, it is not clear whether the reported complex molecules are formed on the grain surfaces (first-generation molecules) or in the warm gas by reactions involving the evaporated mantle constituents (second-generation molecules). We do not find evidence for large differences in the molecular abundances, normalized to the formaldehyde abundance, between the two solar-type protostars, suggesting perhaps a common origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-358
Number of pages5
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal: an international review of astronomy and astronomical physics
Issue number1 I
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • ISM: abundances
  • ISM: individual (NGC 1333 IRAS 4a)
  • ISM: molecules
  • Stars: formation


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