Beyond the pseudo-time-dependent approach: chemical models of dense core precursors
Department of Physics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA e-mail: email@example.com
2 Departments of Astronomy and Chemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
3 Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, 825 Dennison Building, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Accepted: 10 March 2010
Context. Chemical models of dense cloud cores often utilize the so-called pseudo-time-dependent approximation, in which the physical conditions are held fixed and uniform as the chemistry occurs. In this approximation, the initial abundances chosen, which are totally atomic in nature except for molecular hydrogen, are artificial. A more detailed approach to the chemistry of dense cold cores should include the physical evolution during their early stages of formation.
Aims. Our major goal is to investigate the initial synthesis of molecular ices and gas-phase molecules as cold molecular gas begins to form behind a shock in the diffuse interstellar medium. The abundances calculated as the conditions evolve can then be utilized as reasonable initial conditions for a theory of the chemistry of dense cores.
Methods. Hydrodynamic shock-wave simulations of the early stages of cold core formation are used to determine the time-dependent physical conditions for a gas-grain chemical network. We follow the cold post-shock molecular evolution of ices and gas-phase molecules as the visual extinction increases with time to AV ≈ 3. (Note that instead of an equal sign, the approximately equal sign should remain.) At higher extinction, self-gravity becomes important.
Results. As the newly condensed gas enters its cool post-shock phase, a large amount of CO is produced in the gas. As the CO forms, water ice is produced on grains, while accretion of CO produces CO ice. The production of CO2 ice from CO occurs via several surface mechanisms, while the production of CH4 ice is slowed by gas-phase conversion of C into CO.
Key words: ISM: clouds / evolution / ISM: molecules / shock waves / stars: formation
© ESO, 2010