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Interstellar clouds containing optically thick H2
Jura, M.
AA(Princeton University, New Observatory, Princeton, N.J.)
Astrophysical Journal, vol. 197, May 1, 1975, pt. 1, p. 581-586. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Interstellar Matter, Molecular Spectra, Optical Thickness, Astronomical Models, Cosmic Dust, H Ii Regions, Hydrogen Ions, Lyman Spectra, Mathematical Models, Molecular Rotation, Optical Pumping, Population Theory, Pressure Distribution, Ultraviolet Radiation
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Interstellar clouds containing optically thick H2 are investigated on the basis of the hypothesis that the population of the H2 rotational levels can be understood in terms of optical pumping in the Lyman and Werner bands. The observed populations are used to infer the densities and radiation fields within the clouds. The theoretical model adopted for an interstellar cloud and the analytical procedure are described. It is found that, of the 10 clouds studied, five are illuminated by a UV field appropriate to within a factor of two to that in the solar neighborhood, four appear to be near the stars against which they are observed, and one is irradiated by a very low intensity field. The results suggest that there are substantial pressure variations in the interstellar gas, even among those clouds not located near H II regions.

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