A basic model for the formation of non-equilibrium rotational energy distributions is described for reactive, homo-polar diatomic molecules and ions in the interstellar medium. Kinetic models were constructed to calculate the rotational populations of C2+ under the conditions it would experience in the diffuse interstellar medium. As the non-polar ion reacts with molecular hydrogen, but not atomic hydrogen, the thermalization of a hot nascent rotational population will be arrested by chemical reaction when the H2 density begins to be significant. Populations that deviate strongly from the local thermodynamic equilibrium are predicted for2+ in environments where it may be detectable. Consequences of this are discussed and a new optical spectrum is calculated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science