We present a series of molecular hydrogen images of the Herbig-Haro 1-2 system in the 1-0 S(1) transition at 2.121 microns, with a spatial resolution of approximately 2 sec. The distribution of H2 is then compared with that of the excitation, given by the (S II) 6717+6731 to H-alpha line ratio. We find that most optical condensations in the HH 1-2 system, including the VLA 1 jet, have H2 counterparts. H2 emission is detected in most low excitation knots, as expected for low velocity shocks (50 km/s less than), but also in high excitation regions, like in HH 1F and HH 2A min. For these latter objects, the H2 emission could be due to the interaction of the preionizing flux, produced by 150-200 km/s shocks, with the surrounding interstellar matter, i.e., fluorescence. The lack fluorescent lines in the ultraviolet (UV), however, suggest a different mechanism. H2 is detected at the tip of the VLA 1 jet, where the knot morphology suggests the presence of a second bow shock. H2 is detected also SE of HH 2E and SW of HH 1F, in regions with known NH3 emission.
The Astronomical Journal (ISSN 0004-6256); 108; 4; p. 1432-1436