We present the revised "Meudon" model of Photon Dominated Region (PDR code), presently available on the web under the Gnu Public Licence at: http://aristote.obspm.fr/MIS. General organisation of the code is described down to a level that should allow most observers to use it as an interpretation tool with minimal help from our part. Two grids of models, one for low excitation diffuse clouds and one for dense highly illuminated clouds, are discussed, and some new results on PDR modelisation highlighted.
Aims. We present a comparison between independent computer codes, modeling the physics and chemistry of interstellar photon dominated regions (PDRs). Our goal was to understand the mutual differences in the PDR codes and their effects on the physical and chemical structure of the model clouds, and to converge the output of different codes to a common solution. Methods. A number of benchmark models have been created, covering low and high gas densities n = 10 3 , 10 5.5 cm −3 and far ultraviolet intensities χ = 10, 10 5 in units of the Draine field (FUV: 6 < h ν < 13.6 eV). The benchmark models were computed in two ways: one set assuming constant temperatures, thus testing the consistency of the chemical network and photo-processes, and a second set determining the temperature self consistently by solving the thermal balance, thus testing the modeling of the heating and cooling mechanisms accounting for the detailed energy balance throughout the clouds. Results. We investigated the impact of PDR geometry and agreed on the comparison of results from spherical and plane-parallel PDR models. We identified a number of key processes governing the chemical network which have been treated differently in the various codes such as the effect of PAHs on the electron density or the temperature dependence of the dissociation of CO by cosmic ray induced secondary photons, and defined a proper common treatment. We established a comprehensive set of reference models for ongoing and future PDR model bench-marking and were able to increase the agreement in model predictions for all benchmark models significantly. Nevertheless, the remaining spread in the computed observables such as the atomic fine-structure line intensities serves as a warning that there is still a considerable uncertainty when interpreting astronomical data with our models.
Context. Molecular lines and line ratios are commonly used to infer properties of extra-galactic star forming regions. The new generation of millimeter receivers almost turns every observation into a line survey. Full exploitation of this technical advancement in extra-galactic study requires detailed bench-marking of available line diagnostics. Aims. We aim to develop the Orion B giant molecular cloud (GMC) as a local template for interpreting extra-galactic molecular line observations. Methods. We use the wide-band receiver at the IRAM-30 m to spatially and spectrally resolve the Orion B GMC. The observations cover almost 1 square degree at 26 resolution with a bandwidth of 32 GHz from 84 to 116 GHz in only two tunings. Results. We introduce the molecular anatomy of the Orion B GMC, including relationships between line intensities and gas column density or far-UV radiation fields, and correlations between selected line and line ratios. We also obtain a dust-traced gas mass that is less than approximately one third the CO-traced mass, using the standard X CO conversion factor. The presence of over-luminous CO can be traced back to the dependence of the CO intensity on UV illumination. As a matter of fact, while most lines show some dependence on the UV radiation field, CN and C 2 H are the most sensitive. Moreover, dense cloud cores are almost exclusively traced by N 2 H + . Other traditional high-density tracers, such as HCN(1−0), are also easily detected in extended translucent regions at a typical density of ∼500 H 2 cm −3 . In general, we find no straightforward relationship between line critical density and the fraction of the line luminosity coming from dense gas regions. Conclusions. Our initial findings demonstrate that the relationships between line (ratio) intensities and environment in GMCs are more complicated than often assumed. Sensitivity (i.e., the molecular column density), excitation, and, above all, chemistry contribute to the observed line intensity distributions, and they must be considered together when developing the next generation of extra-galactic molecular line diagnostics of mass, density, temperature, and radiation field.
We present new analytic theory and radiative transfer computations for the atomic to molecular (HI-to-H 2 ) transitions, and the build-up of atomic-hydrogen (HI) gas columns, in optically thick interstellar clouds, irradiated by far-ultraviolet photodissociating radiation fields. We derive analytic expressions for the total HI column densities for (one-dimensional (1D)) planar slabs, for beamed or isotropic radiation fields, from the weak-to strong-field limits, for gradual or sharp atomic to molecular transitions, and for arbitrary metallicity. Our expressions may be used to evaluate the HI column densities as functions of the radiation field intensity and the H 2 -dust-limited dissociation flux, the hydrogen gas density, and the metallicity-dependent H 2 formation rate-coefficient and far-UV dustgrain absorption cross-section. We make the distinction between "HI-dust" and "H 2 -dust" opacity, and we present computations for the "universal H 2 -dust-limited effective dissociation bandwidth". We validate our analytic formulae with Meudon PDR code computations for the HI-to-H 2 density profiles, and total HI column densities. We show that our general 1D formulae predict HI columns and H 2 mass fractions that are essentially identical to those found in more complicated (and approximate) spherical (shell/core) models. We apply our theory to compute H 2 mass fractions and star-formation thresholds for individual clouds in self-regulated galaxy disks, for a wide range of metallicities. Our formulae for the HI columns and H 2 mass fractions may be incorporated into hydrodynamics simulations for galaxy evolution.
Context. Pure gas-phase chemistry models do not succeed in reproducing the measured abundances of small hydrocarbons in the interstellar medium. Information on key gas-phase progenitors of these molecules sheds light on this problem. Aims. We aim to constrain the chemical content of the Horsehead mane with a millimeter unbiased line survey at two positions, namely the photo-dissociation region (PDR) and the nearby shielded core. This project revealed a consistent set of eight unidentified lines toward the PDR position. We associate them to the l-C 3 H + hydrocarbon cation, which enables us to constrain the chemistry of small hydrocarbons. We observed the lowest detectable J line in the millimeter domain along a cut toward the illuminating direction to constrain the spatial distribution of the l-C 3 H + emission perpendicular to the photo-dissociation front. Methods. We simultaneously fit 1) the rotational and centrifugal distortion constants of a linear rotor; and 2) the Gaussian line shapes located at the eight predicted frequencies. A rotational diagram is then used to infer the excitation temperature and the column density. We finally compare the abundance to the results of the Meudon PDR photochemical model. Results. Six out of the eight unidentified lines observable in the millimeter bands are detected with a signal-to-noise ratio from 6 to 19 toward the Horsehead PDR, while the two last ones are tentatively detected. Mostly noise appears at the same frequency toward the dense core, located less than 40 away. Moreover, the spatial distribution of the species integrated emission has a shape similar to radical species such as HCO, and small hydrocarbons such as C 2 H, which show enhanced abundances toward the PDR. The observed lines can be accurately fitted with a linear rotor model, implying a 1 Σ ground electronic state. The deduced rotational constant value is B = 11 244.9512 ± 0.0015 MHz, close to that of l-C 3 H. Conclusions. This is the first detection of the l-C 3 H + hydrocarbon in the interstellar medium. Laboratory spectroscopy is underway to confirm these results. Interferometric imaging is needed to firmly constrain the small hydrocarbon chemistry in the Horsehead.
Context. The abundances of interstellar CH + and SH + are not well understood as their most likely formation channels are highly endothermic. Several mechanisms have been proposed to overcome the high activation barriers, including shocks, turbulence, and H 2 vibrational excitation. Aims. Using data from the Herschel Space Observatory, we studied the formation of ions, in particular CH + and SH + in a typical high UV-illumination warm and dense photon-dominated region (PDR), the Orion Bar. Methods. The HIFI instrument on board Herschel provides velocity-resolved line profiles of CH + 1-0 and 2-1 and three hyperfine transitions of SH + 1 2 −0 1 . The PACS instrument provides information on the excitation and spatial distribution of CH + by extending the observed CH + transitions up to J = 6-5. We compared the observed line intensities to the predictions of radiative transfer and PDR codes. Results. All CH + , SH + , and CF + lines analyzed in this paper are seen in emission. The widths of the CH + 2-1 and 1-0 transitions are of ∼5 km s −1 , significantly broader than the typical width of dense gas tracers in the Orion Bar (∼2-3 km s −1 ) and are comparable to the width of species that trace the interclump medium such as C + and HF. The detected SH + transitions are narrower compared to CH + and have line widths of ∼3 km s −1 , indicating that SH + emission mainly originates in denser condensations. Non-LTE radiative transfer models show that electron collisions affect the excitation of CH + and SH + and that reactive collisions need to be taken into account to calculate the excitation of CH + . Comparison to PDR models shows that CH + and SH + are tracers of the warm surface region (A V < 1.5) of the PDR with temperatures between 500 and 1000 K. We have also detected the 5-4 transition of CF + at a width of ∼1.9 km s −1 , consistent with the width of dense gas tracers. The intensity of the CF + 5-4 transition is consistent with previous observations of lower-J transitions toward the Orion Bar.Conclusions. An analytic approximation and a numerical comparison to PDR models indicate that the internal vibrational energy of H 2 can explain the formation of CH + for typical physical conditions in the Orion Bar near the ionization front. The formation of SH + is also likely to be explained by H 2 vibrational excitation. The abundance ratios of CH + and SH + trace the destruction paths of these ions, and indirectly, the ratios of H, H 2 , and electron abundances as a function of depth into the cloud.
Context. It has been found from ISO, Spitzer, and Herschel observations that molecular hydrogen, H 2 , can form on warm grains. Numerical models of interstellar chemistry have failed to reproduce the observed formation rates of H 2 , which remains a difficulty when interpreting observations of photon-dominated regions (PDRs). Aims. We attempt to include as much experimental and theoretical information as possible to describe H 2 formation in astrophysical environments to solve this problem. Methods. We modified our "Meudon PDR code" to include a detailed treatment of H 2 formation mechanisms including: i) the Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism taking into account the contribution of the different sizes of dust grains in the diffusion processes; and ii) the Eley-Rideal mechanism. Results. We are able to form H 2 even in regions where the dust temperature is higher than 25 K. We also show that formation by the Eley-Rideal mechanism can be a significant source of gas heating. We derive line intensities for various astrophysical conditions. Conclusions. Our approach results in a higher H 2 formation rate than for the "standard" 3 × 10 −17 n H n(H) cm 3 s −1 expression.
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