The 15 273 Å diffuse interstellar band in the dark cloud Barnard 68⋆
1 GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France
2 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Received: 23 June 2017
Accepted: 4 September 2017
High obscuration of background stars behind dark clouds precludes the detection of optical diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) and hence our knowledge of DIB carriers in these environments. Taking advantage of the reduced obscuration of starlight in the near-infrared (NIR) we used one of the strongest NIR DIBs at 15 273 Å to probe the presence and properties of its carrier throughout the nearby interstellar dark cloud Barnard 68. We measured equivalent widths (EW) for different ranges of visual extinction AV, using VLT/KMOS H-band (1.46–1.85 μm) moderate-resolution (R ~ 4000) spectra of 43 stars situated behind the cloud. To do so, we fitted the data with synthetic stellar spectra from the APOGEE project and TAPAS synthetic telluric transmissions appropriate for the observing site and time period. The results show an increase of DIB EW with increasing AV. However, the rate of increase is much flatter than expected from the EW-AV quasi-proportionality established for this DIB in the Galactic diffuse interstellar medium. Based on a simplified inversion assuming sphericity, it is found that the volume density of the DIB carrier is 2.7 and 7.9 times lower than this expected average value in the external and central regions of the cloud, which have nH≃ 0.4 and 3.5 × 105 cm-3, respectively. Further measurements with multiplex NIR spectrographs should allow detailed modeling of such an edge effect of this DIB and other bands and help clarify its actual origin.
Key words: line: profiles / ISM: lines and bands / ISM: clouds / dust, extinction
© ESO, 2017