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Interstellar C2, CH, and CN in translucent molecular clouds
van Dishoeck, Ewine F.; Black, John H.
AA(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge; Princeton University Observatory, NJ), AB(Steward Observatory, Tucson, AZ)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 340, May 1, 1989, p. 273-297. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Chemical Composition, Interstellar Chemistry, Interstellar Matter, Molecular Clouds, Absorption Spectroscopy, Astronomical Spectroscopy, Carbon, Interstellar Extinction
Bibliographic Code:


Optical absorption-line techniques have been applied to the study of a number of translucent molecular clouds in which the total column densities are large enough that substantial molecular abundances can be maintained. Results are presented for a survey of absorption lines of interstellar C2, CH, and CN. Detections of CN through the A 2Pi-X 2Sigma(+) (1,O) and (2,O) bands of the red system are reported and compared with observations of the violet system for one line of sight. The population distributions in C2 provide diagnostic information on temperature and density. The measured column densities of the three species can be used to test details of the theory of molecule formation in clouds where photoprocesses still play a significant role. The C2 and CH column densities are strongly correlated with each other and probably also with the H2 column density. In contrast, the CN column densities are found to vary greatly from cloud to cloud. The observations are discussed with reference to detailed theoretical models.

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