Astrochemistry in external galaxies: how to use molecules as probes of their physical conditions

Serena Viti
2015 Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union  
It is now well established that chemistry in external galaxies is rich and complex. In this review I will explore whether one can use molecular emissions to determine their physical conditions. There are several considerations to bear in mind when using molecular emission, and in particular molecular ratios, to determine the densities, temperatures and energetics of a galaxy, which I will briefly summarise here. I will then present an example of a study that uses multiple chemical and radiative
more » ... transfer analyses in order to tackle the too often neglected 'degeneracies' implicit in the interpretation of molecular ratios and show that only via such analyses combined with multi-species and multi-lines high spatial resolution data one can truly make molecules into powerful diagnostics of the evolution and distribution of molecular gas.
doi:10.1017/s1743921316007195 fatcat:vvbsynajgvad5mdd3g7oww5v6m