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Preprint typeset using L ATEX style emulateapj v. 14/09/00 MOLECULAR GAS IN M 82: RESOLVING THE OUTFLOW AND STREAMERS

By Walter F, Weiß A and Scoville N


We present a high–resolution (3.6 ′ ′ , 70pc) 12 CO(J = 1 → 0) mosaic of the molecular gas in M 82 covering an area of 2.5 ′ ×3.5 ′ (2.8kpc×3.9kpc) obtained with the OVRO millimeter interferometer. The observations reveal the presence of huge amounts of molecular gas (> 70 % of the total molecular mass, Mtot ≈ 1.3 × 10 9 M⊙) outside the central 1kpc disk. Molecular streamers are detected in and below M 82’s disk out to distances from the center of ∼1.7kpc. Some of these streamers are well correlated with optical absorption features; they form the basis of some of the prominent tidal HI features around M 82. This provides evidence that the molecular gas within M 82’s optical disk is disrupted by the interaction with M 81. Molecular gas is found in M 82’s outflow/halo, reaching distances up to 1.2kpc below the plane; CO line–splitting has been detected for the first time in the outflow. The maximum outflow velocity is ∼ 230kms −1; we derive an opening angle of ∼ 55 ◦ for the molecular outflow cone. The total amount of gas in the outflow is> 3 × 10 8 M ⊙ and its kinetic energy is of order 10 55 erg, about one percent of the estimated total mechanical energy input of M 82’s starburst. Our study implies that extreme starburst environments can move significant amounts of molecular gas in to a galaxy’s halo (and even to the intergalactic medium)

Year: 2002
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