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Detection of hydrogen fluoride absorption in diffuse molecular clouds with Herschel/HIFI: an ubiquitous tracer of molecular gas

P. Sonnentrucker ; D. A. Neufeld ; T. G. Phillips ; M. Gerin ; D. C. Lis ; M. de Luca ; J. R. Goicoechea ; John H. Black (Institutionen för rymd- och geovetenskap, Radioastronomi och astrofysik) ; T. A. Bell ; F. Boulanger ; J. Cernicharo ; A. Coutens ; E. Dartois ; M. Kazmierczak ; P. Encrenaz ; E. Falgarone ; T. R. Geballe ; T. Giesen ; B. Godard ; P. F. Goldsmith ; C. Gry ; H. Gupta ; P. Hennebelle ; E. Herbst ; P. Hily-Blant ; C. Joblin ; R. Kolos ; J. Krelowski ; J. Martin-Pintado ; K. M. Menten ; R. Monje ; B. Mookerjea ; J. Pearson ; M. Perault ; Carina M. Persson (Institutionen för rymd- och geovetenskap, Radioastronomi och astrofysik) ; R. Plume ; M. Salez ; S. Schlemmer ; M. Schmidt ; J. Stutzki ; D. Teyssier ; C. Vastel ; S. Yu ; E. Caux ; R. Gusten ; W. A. Hatch ; T. Klein ; I. Mehdi ; P. Morris ; J. S. Ward
Astronomy & Astrophysics (0004-6361). Vol. 521 (2010), p. Article Number: L12.
[Artikel, refereegranskad vetenskaplig]

We discuss the detection of absorption by interstellar hydrogen fluoride (HF) along the sight line to the submillimeter continuum sources W49N and W51. We have used Herschel's HIFI instrument in dual beam switch mode to observe the 1232.4762 GHz J = 1-0 HF transition in the upper sideband of the band 5a receiver. We detected foreground absorption by HF toward both sources over a wide range of velocities. Optically thin absorption components were detected on both sight lines, allowing us to measure - as opposed to obtain a lower limit on - the column density of HF for the first time. As in previous observations of HF toward the source G10.6-0.4, the derived HF column density is typically comparable to that of water vapor, even though the elemental abundance of oxygen is greater than that of fluorine by four orders of magnitude. We used the rather uncertain N(CH) - N(H-2) relationship derived previously toward diffuse molecular clouds to infer the molecular hydrogen column density in the clouds exhibiting HF absorption. Within the uncertainties, we find that the abundance of HF with respect to H-2 is consistent with the theoretical prediction that HF is the main reservoir of gas-phase fluorine for these clouds. Thus, hydrogen fluoride has the potential to become an excellent tracer of molecular hydrogen, and provides a sensitive probe of clouds of small H-2 column density. Indeed, the observations of hydrogen fluoride reported here reveal the presence of a low column density diffuse molecular cloud along the W51 sight line, at an LSR velocity of similar to 24 km s(-1), that had not been identified in molecular absorption line studies prior to the launch of Herschel.

Nyckelord: molecular processes, astrochemistry, ISM: molecules, submillimeter: ISM, line-of-sight, astronomy, abundance, regions, w49n, w51, h2o, co

Denna post skapades 2010-12-27. Senast ändrad 2014-09-02.
CPL Pubid: 131845


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