AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 47. Between the Stars I: The ISM, Galactic and Extragalactic
Display, Tuesday, June 1, 1999, 10:00am-7:00pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[47.09] Infrared and Submillimeter Spectroscopy of Molecular Clouds

C.A. Kulesa (Steward Observatory), J.H. Black (Onsala Space Observatory), C.K. Walker (Steward Observatory)

Through interactions with light and with each other, molecules provide valuable insight into the physical conditions, composition, distribution and evolution of material in interstellar clouds and star-forming regions. Complementary infrared and submillimeter observations of AFGL 2591, AFGL 490 and NGC 2024 are presented as a portion of a larger observational sample of dark star-forming clouds. This comprehensive spectroscopic study allows the direct measurement of H2, H3+, 12CO and 13CO via infrared absorption line spectroscopy along identical pencil-beam lines of sight toward obscured YSO's. Submillimeter-wave emission line techniques permit large scale mapping of the environments of star formation through CO, its rare isotopes, and photodissociated CI emission. Observations of CH3OH, and vibrationally excited HCN and CS make sensitive probes of the hot molecular gas in these regions. Detections of reactive ions such as HCO+, N2H+ and H3O+ are discussed in the light of the measured H3+ abundances and estimated cosmic ray ionization rates in dense clouds. This study highlights the value of multiwavelength studies in deciphering the structure and evolution of molecular clouds and star-forming regions.

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