Context. Tens of light hydrides and small molecules have now been detected over several hundreds sightlines sampling the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM) in both the solar neighbourhood and the inner Galactic disk. They provide unprecedented statistics on the first steps of chemistry in the diffuse gas.
Aims: These new data confirm the limitations of the traditional chemical pathways driven by the UV photons and the cosmic rays (CR) and the need for additional energy sources, such as turbulent dissipation, to open highly endoenergetic formation routes. The goal of the present paper is to further investigate the link between specific species and the properties of the turbulent cascade in particular its space-time intermittency.
Methods: We have analysed ten different atomic and molecular species in the framework of the updated model of turbulent dissipation regions (TDR). We study the influence on the abundances of these species of parameters specific to chemistry (density, UV field, and CR ionisation rate) and those linked to turbulence (the average turbulent dissipation rate, the dissipation timescale, and the ion-neutral velocity drift in the regions of dissipation).
Results: The most sensitive tracers of turbulent dissipation are the abundances of CH+ and SH+, and the column densities of the J = 3,4,5 rotational levels of H2. The abundances of CO, HCO+, and the intensity of the 158 μm [CII] emission line are significantly enhanced by turbulent dissipation. The vast diversity of chemical pathways allows the independent determinations of free parameters never estimated before: an upper limit to the average turbulent dissipation rate, ‾∊ ≲ 10-23 erg cm-3 s-1 for nH = 20 cm-3, from the CH+ abundance; an upper limit to the ion-neutral velocity drift, υin ≲ 3.5 km s-1, from the SH+ to CH+ abundance ratio; and a range of dissipation timescales, 100 ≲ τV ≲ 1000 yr, from the CO to HCO+ abundance ratio. For the first time, we reproduce the large abundances of CO observed on diffuse lines of sight, and we show that CO may be abundant even in regions with UV-shieldings as low as 5 × 10-3 mag. The best range of parameters also reproduces the abundance ratios of OH, C2H, and H2O to HCO+ and are consistent with the known properties of the turbulent cascade in the Galactic diffuse ISM.
Conclusions: Our results disclose an unexpected link between the dissipation of turbulence and the emergence of molecular richness in the diffuse ISM. Some species, such as CH+ or SH+, turn out to be unique tracers of the energy trail in the ISM. In spite of some degeneracy, the properties of the turbulent cascade, down to dissipation, can be captured through specific molecular abundances.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- October 2014
- ISM: molecules;
- ISM: kinematics and dynamics;
- ISM: structure;
- ISM: clouds;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies