Fr.: molécule CN
The simplest molecule formed by the → cyano radical. The CN molecule is of considerable astrophysical importance, since many of its transition lines/bands are observed in various astronomical objects: interstellar medium, comets, various stars such as late-type F and G-dwarfs, and late-type giants. CN was the second interstellar molecule, after → CH (methylidine), to be identified; toward the bright star → Zeta Ophiuchi at ultraviolet wavelengths (A. McKellar, 1940 ASP Conf. Ser. 52, 187). CN was also one of the earliest molecules to be detected in other galaxies (Henkel et al. 1988, A&A 201L, 23).