H3+ at the interface between astrochemistry and astroparticle physics
Journal article, 2012
The H3+ molecular ion has been used by Oka and collaborators to trace the rate of ionization by cosmic rays in the interstellar medium. More energetic cosmic rays also produce diffuse γ-radiation. Now that several supernova remnants (SNRs) have been identified as γ-ray sources, it is possible to use spectroscopy of molecular ions to search for enhanced ionization rates that would pinpoint the SNRs as the accelerators of cosmic rays. It is proposed that the warm, dilute molecular gas revealed by Graphic absorption in the central molecular zone of the Galaxy can also be investigated via radio recombination lines of atoms and possibly triatomic hydrogen.