Very High Excitation Lines of H$_{2}$ in the Orion Molecular Cloud Outflow [GA]

Vibration-rotation lines of H$_{2}$ from highly excited levels approaching the dissociation limit have been detected at a number of locations in the shocked gas of the Orion Molecular Cloud (OMC-1), including in a Herbig-Haro object near the tip of one of the OMC-1 “fingers.” Population diagrams show that while the excited H$_{2}$ is almost entirely at a kinetic temperature of $\sim$1,800 K, (typical for vibrationally shock-excited H$_{2}$), as in the previously reported case of Herbig-Haro object HH 7 up to a few percent of the H$_{2}$ is at a kinetic temperature of $\sim$5,000~K. The location with the largest fraction of hot H$_{2}$ is the Herbig-Haro object, where the outflowing material is moving at a higher speed than at the other locations. Although theoretical work is required for a better understanding of the 5,000 K H$_{2}$, (including how it cools), its existence and the apparent dependence of its abundance relative to that of the cooler component on the relative velocities of the outflow and the surrounding ambient gas appear broadly consistent with it having recently reformed. The existence of this high temperature H$_{2}$ appears to be a common characteristic of shock-excited molecular gas.

Read this paper on arXiv…

T. Geballe, M. Burton and R. Pike
Wed, 22 Feb 17

Comments: 20 pages, 5 figures, accepted by ApJ 2017 Feb. 18