Astrophys. J., 649, 816-835 (2006/October-1)
Spitzer observations of HH 54 and HH 7-11: mapping the H2Ortho-to-Para ratio in shocked molecular gas.
NEUFELD D.A., MELNICK G.J., SONNENTRUCKER P., BERGIN E.A., GREEN J.D., KIM K.H., WATSON D.M., FORREST W.J. and PIPHER J.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report the results of spectroscopic mapping observations carried out toward the Herbig-Haro objects HH 7-11 and HH 54 over the 5.2-37 µm region using the Infrared Spectrograph on the Spitzer Space Telescope. These observations have led to the detection and mapping of the S(0)-S(7) pure rotational lines of molecular hydrogen, together with emissions in fine-structure transitions of Ne+, Si+, S, and Fe+. The H2rotational emissions indicate the presence of warm gas with a mixture of temperatures in the range 400-1200 K–consistent with the expected temperature behind nondissociative shocks of velocity ∼10-20 km/s–while the fine-structure emissions originate in faster shocks of velocity ∼35-90 km/s that are dissociative and ionizing. The H2ortho-to-para ratio is quite variable, typically falling substantially below the equilibrium value of 3 attained at the measured gas temperatures. The nonequilibrium ortho-to-para ratios are characteristic of temperatures as low as ∼50 K, and are a remnant of an earlier epoch, before the gas temperature was elevated by the passage of a shock. Correlations between the gas temperature and H2ortho-to-para ratio show that ortho-to-para ratios <0.8 are attained only at gas temperatures below ∼900 K; this behavior is consistent with theoretical models in which the conversion of para- to ortho-H2behind the shock is driven by reactive collisions with atomic hydrogen, a process that possesses a substantial activation energy barrier (EA/k∼4000 K) and is therefore very inefficient at low temperature. The lowest observed ortho-to-para ratios of only ∼0.25 suggest that the shocks in HH 54 and HH 7 are propagating into cold clouds of temperature ≲50 K in which the H2ortho-to-para ratio is close to equilibrium.
ISM: Abundances - ISM: Clouds - ISM: Molecules - Molecular Processes - Shock Waves
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