EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 403, Number 3, June I 2003
Page(s) 1003 - 1010
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030364

A&A 403, 1003-1010 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030364

Abundant gas-phase H $\mathsf{_2}$O in absorption toward massive protostars

A. M. S. Boonman and E. F. van Dishoeck

Sterrewacht Leiden, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
(Received 17 December 2002 / Accepted 25 February 2003 )

We present infrared spectra of gas-phase H 2O around 6  $\mu$m toward 12 deeply embedded massive protostars obtained with the Short Wavelength Spectrometer on board the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). The $\nu_2$ ro-vibrational band has been detected toward 7 of the sources and the excitation temperatures indicate an origin in the warm gas at $T_{{\rm ex}}\ga 250$ K. Typical derived gas-phase H 2O abundances are ~ $5\times10^{-6}{-}6\times10^{-5}$, with the abundances increasing with the temperature of the warm gas. The inferred gas/solid ratios show a similar trend with temperature and suggest that grain-mantle evaporation is important. The increasing gas/solid ratio correlates with other indicators of increased temperatures. If the higher temperatures are due to a larger ratio of source luminosity to envelope mass, this makes gas-phase H 2O a good evolutionary tracer. Comparison with chemical models shows that three different chemical processes, ice evaporation, high- T chemistry, and shocks, can reproduce the high inferred gas-phase H 2O abundances. In a forthcoming paper each of these processes are investigated in more detail in comparison with data from the Long Wavelength Spectrometer on board ISO and the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS). Comparison with existing SWAS data indicates that a jump in the H 2O abundance is present and that the observed  $\nu_2$ ro-vibrational band traces primarily the warm inner envelope.

Key words: ISM: abundances -- ISM: molecules -- molecular processes -- stars: formation -- stars: circumstellar matter -- infrared: ISM

Offprint request: A. M. S. Boonman, boonman@strw.leidenuniv.nl

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