CO and C2 absorption toward W40 IRS 1a

R. Young Shuping, Theodore P. Snow, Richard Crutcher, Barry L. Lutz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The H II region W40 harbors a small group of young, hot stars behind roughly 9 mag of visual extinction. We have detected gaseous carbon monoxide (CO) and diatomic carbon (C2) in absorption toward the star W40 IRS 1a. The J = 2-0 R0, R1, and R2 lines of 12CO at 2.3 μm were measured using the CSHELL on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (with upper limits placed on R3, R4, and R5) yielding an NCO of (1.1 ± 0.2) × 1018 cm-2. Excitation analysis indicates Tkin > 7 K. The Phillips system of C2 transitions near 8775 Å was measured using the Kitt Peak 4 m telescope and echelle spectrometer. Radiative pumping models indicate a total C2 column density of (7.0 ± 0.4) × 1014 cm-2, two excitation temperatures (39 and 126 K), and a total gas density of n ∼ 250 cm-3. The CO ice band at 4.7 μm was not detected, placing an upper limit on the CO depletion of δ < 1%. We postulate that the sight line has multiple translucent components and is associated with the W40 molecular cloud. Our data for W40 IRS 1a, coupled with other sight lines, shows that the ratio of CO/C2 increases from diffuse through translucent environs. Finally, we show that the hydrogen-to-dust ratio seems to remain constant from diffuse to dense environments, whereas the CO-to-dust ratio apparently does not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Jul 20 1999


  • Dust, extinction
  • ISM: abundances
  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: individual (W40)
  • ISM: molecules
  • Infrared: ISM: lines and bands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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