Deep search for glycine conformers in Barnard 5

Tadeus Carl*, E. S. Wirström, P. Bergman, S. B. Charnley, Y. L. Chuang, Y. J. Kuan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


One of the most fundamental hypotheses in astrochemistry and astrobiology states that crucial biotic molecules like glycine (NH2CH2COOH) found in meteorites and comets are inherited from early phases of star formation. Most observational searches for glycine in the interstellar medium have focused on warm high-mass molecular cloud sources. However, recent studies suggest that it might be appropriate to shift the observational focus to cold low-mass sources. We aim to detect glycine towards the so-called methanol hotspot in the Barnard 5 dark cloud. The hotspot is a cold source (Tgas ≈ 7.5 K) with yet high abundances of complex organic molecules (COMs) and water in the gas phase. We carried out deep pointed observations with the Onsala 20 m telescope, targeting several transitions of glycine conformers I and II (Gly-I and Gly-II) in the frequency range 70.2-77.9 GHz. No glycine lines are detected towards the targeted position, but we use a line stacking procedure to derive sensitive abundance upper limits w.r.t. H2 for Gly-I and Gly-II, i.e. ≤(2-5) × 10-10 and ≤(0.7-3) × 10-11, respectively. The obtained Gly-II upper limits are the most stringent for a cold source, while the Gly-I upper limits are mostly on the same order as previously measured limits. The measured abundances w.r.t. H2 of other COMs at the B5 methanol hotspot range from 2 × 10-10 (acetaldehyde) to 2 × 10-8 (methanol). Hence, based on a total glycine upper limit of (2-5) × 10-10, we cannot rule out that glycine is present but undetected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5993-6003
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Oct


  • ISM: abundances
  • ISM: molecules
  • astrobiology
  • astrochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Deep search for glycine conformers in Barnard 5'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this