EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 417, Number 3, April III 2004
Page(s) 993 - 1002
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20035629

A&A 417, 993-1002 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20035629

H $\mathsf{_{3}^{+}}$ and other species in the diffuse cloud towards $\mathsf{\zeta}$ Persei: A new detailed model

F. Le Petit1, 2, E. Roueff1 and E. Herbst3

1  Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, LUTH, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France
2  Onsala Space Observatory, 439 92 Onsala, Sweden
3  Departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Astronomy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

(Received 5 November 2003 / Accepted 7 January 2004 )

McCall et al. have recently shown that a large column density for the molecular ion H 3+ of $\approx$$\times$ 10 13 cm -2 exists in the classical diffuse cloud towards $\zeta$ Persei. They have used this observation to infer that the cosmic ray ionization rate  $\zeta$ for this source is approximately 40 times larger than previously assumed. But, although the value of  $\zeta$ they infer ( $\approx$1.2  $\times$ 10 -15 s -1) can explain the abundance of H 3+, it is not at all clear that such a high ionization rate is consistent with the many other detailed atomic and molecular observations made along the same line of sight. In particular, the abundances of the species OH and HD were previously used to determine a much lower ionization rate. In this paper, we report a detailed chemical model of the diffuse cloud towards $\zeta$ Persei which appears to fit to a reasonable extent both the older atomic and molecular observations and the new detection of H 3+. We consider two phases - a long (4 pc) diffuse region at 60 K and a tiny ( $\approx$100 AU) dense region at 20 K, both with an ionization rate  $\zeta$ in between the standard value and that advocated by McCall et al. The model reproduces almost all abundances, including that of H 3+, to within a factor of three or better. To reproduce the CH + abundance and those of the excited rotational populations of H 2, we consider the addition of shocks. This phase has little effect on our calculated abundance for H 3+.

Key words: molecular processes -- ISM: cosmic rays -- ISM: abundances -- ISM: molecules -- ISM: general

Offprint request: F. Le Petit, Franck.LePetit@obspm.fr

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