Magnesium (mono)cyanide (MgCN) was identified in IRC +10216 in 1995 by
Ziurys et al. using the
12 meter telescope at
Kitt Peak near Tuscon, Arizona. There has apparently
been no subsequent work confirming the initial detection, in which three consecutive pairs of
rotational transitions were found to match the prior laboratory spectrum reported by
Anderson, Steimle, & Ziurys.
MgCN is slightly less stable than the isocyanic isomer MgNC, by less than
2 kcal/mol at the
RCCSD(T)/aug-cc-pVTZ level of theory. MgNC was
observed in IRC +10216
about a decade prior to the MgCN identification. The bonding between Mg and CN in both MgCN and MgNC is
very ionic, resulting in large dipole moments of about 5.3 D for both specis at the level of theory cited above.