[C II] 158 μm line emission from Orion A. II. Photodissociation region physics - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A Year : 2022

[C II] 158 μm line emission from Orion A. II. Photodissociation region physics

C. H. M. Pabst
  • Function : Author
J. R. Goicoechea
  • Function : Author
A. Hacar
  • Function : Author
D. Teyssier
M. G. Wolfire
  • Function : Author
R. D. Higgins
  • Function : Author
E. T. Chambers
  • Function : Author
S. Kabanovic
  • Function : Author
R. Güsten
  • Function : Author
J. Stutzki
  • Function : Author
C. Kramer
  • Function : Author
A. G. G. M. Tielens
  • Function : Author


Context. The [C II] 158 μm fine-structure line is the dominant cooling line of moderate-density photodissociation regions (PDRs) illuminated by moderately bright far-ultraviolet (FUV) radiation fields. This makes this line a prime diagnostic for extended regions illuminated by massive stars.
Aims: We aim to understand the origin of [C II] emission and its relation to other tracers of gas and dust in PDRs. One focus is a study of the heating efficiency of interstellar gas as traced by the [C II] line to test models of the photoelectric heating of neutral gas by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules and very small grains.
Methods: We make use of a one-square-degree map of velocity-resolved [C II] line emission toward the Orion Nebula complex, and split this out into the individual spatial components, the expanding Veil Shell, the surface of OMC4, and the PDRs associated with the compact H II region of M43 and the reflection nebula NGC 1977. We employed Herschel far-infrared photometric images to determine dust properties. Moreover, we compared with Spitzer mid-infrared photometry to trace hot dust and large molecules, and velocity-resolved IRAM 30m CO(2-1) observations of the molecular gas.
Results: The [C II] intensity is tightly correlated with PAH emission in the IRAC 8 μm band and far-infrared emission from warm dust, with small variations between the four studied subregions (Veil Shell, OMC4, M43, and NGC 1977). The correlation between [C II] and CO(2-1) is very different in the four subregions and is very sensitive to the detailed geometry of the respective regions. Constant-density PDR models are able to reproduce the observed [C II], CO(2-1), and integrated far-infrared (FIR) intensities. The physical conditions in the Veil Shell of the Orion Nebula, M43, and NGC 1977 reveal a constant ratio of thermal pressure pth over incident FUV radiation field measured by G0. We observe strong variations in the photoelectric heating efficiency in the Veil Shell behind the Orion Bar and these variations are seemingly not related to the spectral properties of the PAHs.
Conclusions: The [C II] emission from the Orion Nebula complex stems mainly from moderately illuminated PDR surfaces. The correlations of the different tracers ([C II], FIR, CO, 70 μm, and 8 μm emission) show small variations that are not yet understood. Future observations with the James Webb Space Telescope can shine light on the PAH properties that may be linked to these variations.
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Dates and versions

insu-03672056 , version 1 (19-05-2022)



C. H. M. Pabst, J. R. Goicoechea, A. Hacar, D. Teyssier, O. Berné, et al.. [C II] 158 μm line emission from Orion A. II. Photodissociation region physics. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2022, 658, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202140805⟩. ⟨insu-03672056⟩
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