On the Detection of Benzonitrile, c-C6H5CN, in the ISM

B. A. McGuire, A. M. Burkhardt, S. V. Kalenskii, C. N. Shingledecker, A. J. Remijan, E. Herbst, and M. C. McCarthy
reported on the
Detection of the Aromatic Molecule Benzonitrile, c-C6H5CN, in the Interstellar Medium
Science 359, 202–205 (2018).
The molecule, also known as phenyl cyanide, was detected first by stacking of rotational transitions observed in archival Nobeyama 45 m data. It was the only molecule out of a dozen cyclic molecules searched for that was detected by this method. Subsequently, attempts were made to detect individual transitions with the GBT 100 m telescope by covering a total of 1.875 GHz in the 18 to 23 GHz region. Nine transitions with J' = 7 to 9 and Ka =  0 to 2 were detected with modest to fairly good signal-to-noise ratios. Some of these transitions displayed partially resolved 14N hyperfine structure. The inferred column density is somewhat lower than that of HC9N, the largest unambigously detected cyanopolyyne thus far.
NRAO issued a press release which was also issued by the CfA.
The molecule was the most promising candidate for the detection of a benzene derived aromatic molecule by means of radio astronomy. Was it surprising that it was found in TMC-1 ?

Contributor(s): H. S. P. Müller; 01, 2018