C-type shock modelling -- the effect of new H$_2$-H collisional rate coefficients

Research paper by A. V. Nesterenok, D. Bossion, Y. Scribano, F. Lique

Indexed on: 20 Sep '19Published on: 17 Sep '19Published in: arXiv - Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies


We consider collisional excitation of H$_2$ molecules in C-type shocks propagating in dense molecular clouds. New data on collisional rate coefficients for (de-)excitation of H$_2$ molecule in collisions with H atoms and new H$_2$ dissociation rates are used. The new H$_2$-H collisional data are state of the art and are based on the most accurate H$_3$ potential energy surface. We re-examine the excitation of rotational levels of H$_2$ molecule, the para-to-ortho-H$_2$ conversion, and H$_2$ dissociation by H$_2$-H collisions. At cosmic ray ionization rates $\zeta \geq 10^{-16}$ s$^{-1}$ and at moderate shock speeds, the H/H$_2$ ratio at the shock front is mainly determined by the cosmic ray ionization rate. The H$_2$-H collisions play the main role in the para-to-ortho-H$_2$ conversion and, at $\zeta \geq 10^{-15}$ s$^{-1}$, in the excitation of vibrationally excited states of H$_2$ molecule in the shock. The H$_2$ ortho-to-para ratio (OPR) of the shocked gas and column densities of rotational levels of vibrationally excited states of H$_2$ are found to depend strongly on the cosmic ray ionization rate. We discuss the applicability of the presented results to interpretation of observations of H$_2$ emission in supernova remnants.