High-angular-resolution NIR view of the Orion Bar revealed by Keck/NIRC2 - CY Cergy Paris Université Access content directly
Journal Articles Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A Year : 2023

High-angular-resolution NIR view of the Orion Bar revealed by Keck/NIRC2


Context. Nearby photo-dissociation regions (PDRs), where the gas and dust are heated by the far-ultraviolet (FUV) irradiation emitted from stars, are ideal templates with which to study the main stellar feedback processes.
Aims: With this study, we aim to probe the detailed structures at the interfaces between ionized, atomic, and molecular gas in the Orion Bar. This nearby prototypical strongly irradiated PDR are among the first targets of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) within the framework of the PDRs4All Early Release Science program.
Methods: We employed the subarcsecond resolution accessible with Keck-II NIRC2 and its adaptive optics system to obtain images of the vibrationally excited line H2 1−0 S(1) at 2.12 µm that are more detailed and complete than ever before. H2 1−0 S(1) traces the dissociation front (DF), and the [FeII] and Brγ lines, at 1.64 and 2.16 µm, respectively, trace the ionization front (IF). The former is a powerful tracer of the FUV radiation field strength and gas density distribution at the PDR edge, while the last two trace the temperature and density distribution from the ionized gas to the PDR. We obtained narrow-band filter images in these key gas line diagnostics over ~40″ at spatial scales of ~0.1″ (~0.0002 pc or ~40 AU at 414 pc).
Results: The Keck/Near Infrared Camera 2 (NIRC2) observations spatially resolve a plethora of irradiated substructures such as ridges, filaments, globules, and proplyds. This portends what JWST should accomplish and how it will complement the highest resolution Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) maps of the molecular cloud. We observe a remarkable spatial coincidence between the H2 1−0 S(1) vibrational and HCO+ J = 4−3 rotational emission previously obtained with ALMA. This likely indicates the intimate link between these two molecular species and highlights that in high-pressure PDRs, the H/H2 and C+/C/CO transitions zones come closer than in a typical layered structure of a constant density PDR. The H/H2 dissociation front appears as a highly structured region containing substructures with a typical thickness of a few ~10−3 pc.

Images in FITS format are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.cds.unistra.fr ( or via https://cdsarc.cds.unistra.fr/viz-bin/cat/J/A+A/673/A149

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Dates and versions

insu-04473202 , version 1 (23-02-2024)



Emilie Habart, Romane Le Gal, Carlos Alvarez, Els Peeters, Olivier Berné, et al.. High-angular-resolution NIR view of the Orion Bar revealed by Keck/NIRC2. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2023, 673, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202244034⟩. ⟨insu-04473202⟩
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