skip to main content

Title: The dense gas mass fraction of molecular clouds in the Milky Way

The mass fraction of dense gas within giant molecular clouds (GMCs) of the Milky Way is investigated using {sup 13}CO data from the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory Galactic Plane Surveys and the Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey (BGPS) of 1.1 mm dust continuum emission. A sample of 860 compact dust sources are selected from the BGPS catalog and kinematically linked to 344 clouds of extended (>3') {sup 13}CO J = 1-0 emission. Gas masses are tabulated for the full dust source and subregions within the dust sources with mass surface densities greater than 200 M {sub ☉} pc{sup –2}, which are assumed to be regions of enhanced volume density. Masses of the parent GMCs are calculated assuming optically thin {sup 13}CO J = 1-0 emission and local thermodynamic equilibrium conditions. The mean fractional mass of dust sources to host GMC mass is 0.11{sub −0.06}{sup +0.12}. The high column density subregions comprise 0.07{sub −0.05}{sup +0.13} of the mass of the cloud. Owing to our assumptions, these values are upper limits to the true mass fractions. The fractional mass of dense gas is independent of GMC mass and gas surface density. The low dense gas mass fraction suggests that the formation ofmore » dense structures within GMCs is the primary bottleneck for star formation. The distribution of velocity differences between the dense gas and the low density material along the line of sight is also examined. We find a strong, centrally peaked distribution centered on zero velocity displacement. This distribution of velocity differences is modeled with radially converging flows toward the dense gas position that are randomly oriented with respect to the observed line of sight. These models constrain the infall velocities to be 2-4 km s{sup –1} for various flow configurations.« less
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Department of Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348203
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 780; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTRONOMY; CATALOGS; CONFIGURATION; DENSITY; DISTRIBUTION; DUSTS; EMISSION; GASES; LTE; MASS; MILKY WAY; MOLECULES; RANDOMNESS; STARS; SURFACES; VELOCITY