Thursday, June 27, 2013

1306.6077 (Kevin France et al.)

H2 Excitation Structure on the Sightlines to delta Scorpius and zeta Ophiucus - First Results from the Sub-orbital Local Interstellar Cloud Experiment    [PDF]

Kevin France, Nicholas Nell, Robert Kane, Eric B. Burgh, Matthew Beasley, James C. Green
We present the first science results from the Sub-orbital Local Interstellar Cloud Experiment (SLICE): moderate resolution 1020-1070A spectroscopy of four sightlines through the local interstellar medium. High signal-to-noise (S/N) spectra of eta Uma, alpha Vir, delta Sco, and zeta Oph were obtained during a 21 April 2013 rocket flight. The SLICE observations constrain the density, molecular photoexcitation rates, and physical conditions present in the interstellar material towards delta Sco and zeta Oph. Our spectra indicate a factor of two lower total N(H2) than previously reported for delta Sco, which we attribute to higher S/N and better scattered light control in the new SLICE observations. We find N(H2) = 1.5 x 10^{19} cm^{-2} on the delta Sco sightline, with kinetic and excitation temperatures of 67 and 529 K, respectively, and a cloud density of n_{H} = 56 cm^{-3}. Our observations of the bulk of the molecular sightline toward zeta Oph are consistent with previous measurements (N(H2) ~ 3 x 10^{20} cm^{-2} at T_{01} = 66 K and T_{exc} = 350 K). However, we detect significantly more rotationally excited H2 towards zeta Oph than previously observed. We infer a cloud density in the rotationally excited component of n_{H} ~ 7600 cm^{-3} and suggest that the increased column densities of excited H2 are a result of the ongoing interaction between zeta Oph and its environment; also manifest as the prominent mid-IR bowshock observed by WISE and the presence of vibrationally-excited H2 molecules observed by HST.
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