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Title: A high-dispersion molecular gas component in nearby galaxies

We present a comprehensive study of the velocity dispersion of the atomic (H I) and molecular (H{sub 2}) gas components in the disks (R ≲ R {sub 25}) of a sample of 12 nearby spiral galaxies with moderate inclinations. Our analysis is based on sensitive high-resolution data from the THINGS (atomic gas) and HERACLES (molecular gas) surveys. To obtain reliable measurements of the velocity dispersion, we stack regions several kiloparsecs in size, after accounting for intrinsic velocity shifts due to galactic rotation and large-scale motions. We stack using various parameters: the galactocentric distance, star formation rate surface density, H I surface density, H{sub 2} surface density, and total gas surface density. We fit single Gaussian components to the stacked spectra and measure median velocity dispersions for H I of 11.9 ± 3.1 km s{sup –1} and for CO of 12.0 ± 3.9 km s{sup –1}. The CO velocity dispersions are thus, surprisingly, very similar to the corresponding ones of H I, with an average ratio of σ{sub HI}/σ{sub CO}= 1.0 ± 0.2 irrespective of the stacking parameter. The measured CO velocity dispersions are significantly higher (factor of ∼2) than the traditional picture of a cold molecular gas disk associated withmore » star formation. The high dispersion implies an additional thick molecular gas disk (possibly as thick as the H I disk). Our finding is in agreement with recent sensitive measurements in individual edge-on and face-on galaxies and points toward the general existence of a thick disk of molecular gas, in addition to the well-known thin disk in nearby spiral galaxies.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ; ;  [4]
  1. Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg (Germany)
  2. Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, MC 249-17, 1200 E California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  3. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903 (United States)
  4. Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity Centre (ACGC), Department of Astronomy, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701 (South Africa)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22340071
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online); Journal Volume: 146; Journal Issue: 6; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ATOMS; CARBON MONOXIDE; DENSITY; DISPERSIONS; DISTANCE; GALAXIES; GASES; HYDROGEN; INCLINATION; MOLECULES; RESOLUTION; ROTATION; SPECTRA; SPIRAL CONFIGURATION; STARS; SURFACES; VELOCITY