Rotational excitation of CO in a cool, mixed atomic and molecular hydrogen gas
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2475, USA e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 4 August 2006
Context.Rate constants for rotational excitation of CO by atomic hydrogen have recently been recalculated and found to be much larger than was previously believed, larger even than for excitation by H2.
Aims.To clarify the effect upon CO rotational excitation of an admixture of atomic hydrogen in diffuse molecule-bearing gas.
Methods.The equations of statistical equilibrium in the CO rotation ladder are solved under a variety of conditions typical of CO-bearing gas in the diffuse ISM.
Results. Atomic hydrogen, if present, substantiantially increases the brightness and excitation temperatures of the CO rotational transitions, and increases the /, /, etc. line brightness ratios. A modest admixture of atomic hydrogen mimics a pure H2-gas of substantially higher ambient thermal pressure.
Conclusions.Rotational excitation of CO by atomic hydrogen is important if even a few percent of the hydrogen is in atomic form.
Key words: molecular processes / radio lines: ISM / ISM: atoms / ISM: molecules / ISM: clouds
© ESO, 2006