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Molecular Hydrogen

Abstract

Observations of H2 line emission in galactic and extragalactic environments obtained with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) are reviewed. The diagnostic capability of H2 observations is illustrated. We discuss what one has learned about such diverse astrophysical sources as photon-dominated regions, shocks, young stellar objects, planetary nebulae and starburst galaxies from ISO observations of H2 emission. In this context, we emphasise use of measured H2 line intensities to infer important physical quantities such as the gas temperature, gas density and radiation field and we discuss the different possible excitation mechanisms of H2. We also briefly consider future prospects for observation of H2 from space and from the ground.

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Correspondence to Emilie Habart.

Additional information

Based on observations with ISO, an ESA project with instruments funded by ESA Member States (especially the PI countries: France, Germany, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom), and with the participation of ISAS and NASA.

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Habart, E., Walmsley, M., Verstraete, L. et al. Molecular Hydrogen. Space Sci Rev 119, 71–91 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-005-8062-1

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Keywords

  • molecular hydrogen
  • infrared: spectroscopy
  • molecular processes
  • ISM: molecules
  • ISM: clouds
  • star formation
  • circumstellar matter
  • infrared: galaxies