AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 6. Early Results from the FUSE Mission
Display, Wednesday, January 12, 2000, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[6.08] FUSE Observations of Interstellar Molecular Hydrogen

J. Tumlinson, J.M. Shull, B. Rachford, T.P. Snow (CU/CASA), E.B. Jenkins (Princeton), B.D. Savage (U. Wisc.), K.R. Sembach (JHU), G. Sonneborn (NASA/GSFC), D.G. York (U. Chicago), FUSE Science Team

We describe a moderate-resolution FUSE mini-survey of H2 throughout the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds, using hot stars and AGN as background sources. FUSE spectra of nearly every stellar and extragalactic source exhibit numerous absorption lines from the H2 Lyman and Werner bands between 912 and 1120 Å. We measure H2 column densities in low rotational states (J = 0 and 1) to derive kinetic temperatures of diffuse interstellar gas. The observed higher-J abundances constrain models of the UV radiation fields and gas densities. The FUSE Diffuse H2 team will probe these basic physical parameters of diffuse molecular gas in the disk and halo of the Milky Way, and in the lower-metallicity environs of the LMC and SMC. We also introduce techniques for removal of these ubiquitous molecular lines from FUSE spectra, so that analysis can focus on the stellar and interstellar atomic lines.

This work was supported by NASA and the FUSE PI Team Contract.

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