The cyanide anion, CN–, was discovered by
Agúndez et al. in 2010 toward
IRC +10216 (a source so well-known
that a least one
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