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Molecular databases for Herschel, ALMA and SOFIA
Unambiguous identification of observed molecular spectral lines is critical for the scientific success of any spectroscopic FIR/Submm mission or facility.
ALMA, Herschel and SOFIA will for the first time open up the FIR/Submm spectral range with unrivalled sensitivity and spectral resolution resulting in a quantum leap in number of detected spectral lines. With the first science flights of the SOFIA airborne facility and the launch of the Herschel Space Observatory scheduled for 2008 and first science observations with ALMA starting in 2009, it is therefore urgent to create a reliable database of FIR/Submm molecular spectral lines, readily accessible for the community.
Reliable, validated, and generally accepted molecular databases are imperative for correct identification of observed lines. Presently the quality, accuracy and completeness of the contents of spectroscopic databases in the frequency range from 500 GHz to 6 THz are highly variable. There are only a few species with accurate line lists. Several have fully validated data, within 1 MHz, but for only a limited frequency range and J and K quantum numbers. Often the validation is with lower accuracy (~10 MHz or more) for some J and K numbers. To obtain an overview of the available molecular data and lines, we have started a working group that will address the validation of molecular spectral line information and will decide on validation categories and which species and frequencies can be included in the validated databases. At the same time, development of adequate software tools that can be applied on the databases for line identification has to be continued.
It is the objective of this workshop to bring together members of the communities in spectroscopy, quantum chemistry, and submm astronomy, to review the status and contents of the validated data basis and discuss the next steps and set priorities (molecules and isotopes) for laboratory work. In addition, this workshop will provide a forum to present the capabilities of the web-based access tools, coordinate the activities of the different groups active in this area and discuss further requirements.
J. Cernicharo (chair)
Th. de Graauw (loc)