The search for H- in astrophysical environments

Teresa Ross, Emily J. Baker, Theodore P. Snow, Joshua D. Destree, Brian L. Rachford, Meredith M. Drosback, Adam G. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The negative ion H- is widely understood to be important in many astrophysical environments, including the atmospheres of late-type stars like the Sun. However, the ion has never been detected spectroscopically outside the laboratory. A search for the far-ultraviolet autodetaching transitions of H - in interstellar and circumstellar matter seems to be the best hope for directly detecting this ion. We undertook a highly sensitive search using data from the FUSE instalment. We concentrated on two types of sight lines: planetary nebulae, where model calculations suggest a sufficient abundance of H- to be determined, and translucent clouds, where H- might form on dust grains as an intermediate step in molecular hydrogen formation. Upper limits on H- abundances were set.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-363
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • ISM: AbundancesISM: Atoms
  • ISM: Lines and bands
  • Planetary nebulae: General

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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