Rotationally warm molecular hydrogen in the orion bar

Gargi Shaw, G. J. Ferland, W. J. Henney, P. C. Stancil, N. P. Abel, E. W. Pellegrini, J. A. Baldwin, P. A.M. Van Hoof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The Orion Bar is one of the nearest and best-studied photodissociation or photon-dominated regions (PDRs). Observations reveal the presence of H 2 lines from vibrationally or rotationally excited upper levels that suggest warm gas temperatures (400-700 K). However, standard models of PDRs are unable to reproduce such warm rotational temperatures. In this paper, we attempt to explain these observations with new comprehensive models which extend from the H+ region through the Bar and include the magnetic field in the equation of state. We adopt the model parameters from our previous paper which successfully reproduced a wide variety of spectral observations across the Bar. In this model, the local cosmic ray density is enhanced above the galactic background, as is the magnetic field, and which increases the cosmic ray heating elevating the temperature in the molecular region. The pressure is further enhanced above the gas pressure in the H+ region by the momentum transferred from the absorbed starlight. Here, we investigate whether the observed H2 lines can be reproduced with standard assumptions concerning the grain photoelectric emission. We also explore the effects due to the inclusion of recently computed H2 + H2, H2 + H, and H2 + He collisional rate coefficients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-685
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • ISM: individual (Orion Bar)
  • ISM: molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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