skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: THE GREEN BANK TELESCOPE MAPS THE DENSE, STAR-FORMING GAS IN THE NEARBY STARBURST GALAXY M82

Observations of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies show that dense molecular gas correlates with recent star formation, suggesting that the formation of this gas phase may help regulate star formation. A key test of this idea requires wide-area, high-resolution maps of dense molecular gas in galaxies to explore how local physical conditions drive dense gas formation, but these observations have been limited because of the faintness of dense gas tracers like HCN and HCO{sup +}. Here we demonstrate the power of the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT)—the largest single-dish millimeter radio telescope—for mapping dense gas in galaxies by presenting the most sensitive maps yet of HCN and HCO{sup +} in the starburst galaxy M82. The HCN and HCO{sup +} in the disk of this galaxy correlates with both recent star formation and more diffuse molecular gas and shows kinematics consistent with a rotating torus. The HCO{sup +} emission extending to the north and south of the disk is coincident with the outflow previously identified in CO and traces the eastern edge of the hot outflowing gas. The central starburst region has a higher ratio of star formation to dense gas than the outer regions, pointing to themore » starburst as a key driver of this relationship. These results establish that the GBT can efficiently map the dense molecular gas at 90 GHz in nearby galaxies, a capability that will increase further with the 16 element feed array under construction.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, P.O. Box 2, Green Bank, WV 24944-0002 (United States)
  2. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2475 (United States)
  3. Observatorio Astronómico Nacional, C/Alfonso XII, 3, E-28014 Madrid (Spain)
  4. Department of Physics, New Mexico Tech., 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801 (United States)
  5. Max Planck Institute fur Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, D-69117 Heidelberg (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364065
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 780; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; CARBON MONOXIDE; EMISSION; GHZ RANGE; HYDROCYANIC ACID; MAPPING; MILKY WAY; MOLECULES; RADIO TELESCOPES; RESOLUTION; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS