Publication Date


Journal or Book Title



We have observed six clouds along the line of sight toward W49A using the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite and several ground-based observatories. The ortho-H2O 110 → 101 and OH (1665 and 1667 MHz) transitions are observed in absorption, whereas the low-J CO, 13CO, and C18O lines, as well as the [C I] 3P1-3P0 transition, are seen in emission. The emission lines allow us to determine the gas density (n ~ 1500-3000 cm-3) and CO column densities [N(CO) ~ 7.9 × 1015-2.8 × 1017 cm-2] using a standard large velocity gradient analysis. By using both the o-H218O and o-H2O absorption lines, we are able to constrain the column-averaged o-H2O abundances in each line-of-sight cloud to within about an order of magnitude. Assuming the standard N(H2)/N(CO) ratio of 104, we find N(o-H2O)/N(H2) = 8.1 × 10-8 to 4 × 10-7 for three clouds with optically thin water lines. In three additional clouds, the H2O lines are saturated, so we have used observations of the H218O ground-state transition to find upper limits to the water abundance of 8.2 × 10-8 to 1.5 × 10-6. We measure the OH abundance from the average of the 1665 and 1667 MHz observations and find N(OH)/N(H2) = 2.3 × 10-7 to 1.1 × 10-6. The o-H2O and OH abundances are similar to those determined for line-of-sight water absorption features toward W51 and Sgr B2 but are higher than those seen from water emission lines in molecular clouds. However, the clouds toward W49 have lower ratios of OH relative to H2O column densities than are predicted by simple models, which assume that dissociative recombination is the primary formation pathway for OH and H2O. Building on the 2002 work of Neufeld and coworkers, we present photochemistry models including additional chemical effects, which can also explain the observed OH and H2O column densities, as well as the observed H2O/CO abundance ratios.


This is the pre-published version harvested from ArXiv. The published version is located at