BRITTAIN S.D., SIMON T., KULESA C. and RETTIG T.W.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a detection of three lines of the H+3ion in the near-infrared spectrum of the Herbig Be star LkHα 101. H+3is the principal initiator of gas-phase chemistry in interstellar clouds and can be used to constrain the ionization rate or the path length through interstellar material along the line of sight. Essentially all of the observed H+3column of (2.2±0.3)x1014/cm2 toward LkHα 101 originates in the same dense, dark cloud; less than 1 mag of the ∼11 total magnitudes of visual extinction is attributable to diffuse material. Constraints on the density [1x104/cm3<n(H2)<4x104/cm3], along with estimates of distances to the obscuring cloud, imply H2ionization rates of 6.7x10–17/s<ζ<2.7x10–16/s. The nondetection of fluorescent H2emission at the cloud surface implies that the obscuring dark cloud is located at least 20 pc from LkHα 101 and is therefore decoupled from its evolution. The confirmation of significant H+3in dense material addresses earlier concerns that H+3may originate in diffuse material surrounding dense clouds.