We present the first detection of complex aldehydes and isomers in three typical molecular clouds located within 200 pc of the center of our Galaxy. We find very large abundances of these complex organic molecules (COMs) in the central molecular zone (CMZ), which we attribute to the ejection of COMs from grain mantles by shocks. The relative abundances of the different COMs with respect to that of CH3OH are strikingly similar for the three sources, located in very different environments in the CMZ. The similar relative abundances point toward a unique grain mantle composition in the CMZ. Studying the Galactic center clouds and objects in the Galactic disk having large abundances of COMs, we find that more saturated molecules are more abundant than the non-saturated ones. We also find differences between the relative abundance between COMs in the CMZ and the Galactic disk, suggesting different chemical histories of the grain mantles between the two regions in the Galaxy for the complex aldehydes. Different possibilities for the grain chemistry on the icy mantles in the GC clouds are briefly discussed. Cosmic rays can play an important role in the grain chemistry. With these new detections, the molecular clouds in the Galactic center appear to be one of the best laboratories for studying the formation of COMs in the Galaxy.
Back to the gcnews home-page.