December 2020
Cyanide anion

The cyanide anion, CN, was discovered by Agúndez et al. in 2010 toward IRC +10216 (a source so well-known that a least one stock photograph of it is available). The detection is one of a plethora of detections made with the IRAM 30m telescope over three decades. CN was identified via its J = 2–1 and J = 3–2 rotational transitions. While found to be comparably abundant in IRC +10216, the cyanide anion has evidently not been identified in other sources to date. While ambiguous due to the nature of mass spectrometry, CN appears to also be present in the atmosphere of Titan, as reported by Desai et al. in 2017.

CN is the most recently detected interstellar anions, following the detection of C6H in 2006, C4H in 2007, C8H in 2007, C3N in 2008, and C5N in 2008. The cyanide ion is present in a number of inorganic salts that are quite toxic.

Researcher Links
M Agúndez
J Cernicharo
M Guélin
C Kahane
E Roueff
J Kłos
FJ Aoiz
F Lique
N Marcelino
JR Goicoechea
M González-García
CA Gottlieb
MC McCarthy
P Thaddeus

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