761 research outputs found

    Physical State of Molecular Gas in High Galactic Latitude Translucent Clouds

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    The rotational transitions of carbon monoxide (CO) are the primary means of investigating the density and velocity structure of the molecular interstellar medium. Here we study the lowest four rotational transitions of CO towards high-latitude translucent molecular clouds (HLCs). We report new observations of the J = (4-3), (2-1), and (1-0) transitions of CO towards eight high-latitude clouds. The new observations are combined with data from the literature to show that the emission from all observed CO transitions is linearly correlated. This implies that the excitation conditions which lead to emission in these transitions are uniform throughout the clouds. Observed 13CO/12CO (1-0) integrated intensity ratios are generally much greater than the expected abundance ratio of the two species, indicating that the regions which emit 12CO (1-0) radiation are optically thick. We develop a statistical method to compare the observed line ratios with models of CO excitation and radiative transfer. This enables us to determine the most likely portion of the physical parameter space which is compatible with the observations. The model enables us to rule out CO gas temperatures greater than 30K since the most likely high-temperature configurations are 1 pc-sized structures aligned along the line of sight. The most probable solution is a high density and low temperature (HDLT) solution. The CO cell size is approximately 0.01 pc (2000 AU). These cells are thus tiny fragments within the 100 times larger CO-emitting extent of a typical high-latitude cloud. We discuss the physical implications of HDLT cells, and we suggest ways to test for their existence.Comment: 19 pages, 13 figures, 2 tables, emulateapj To be published in The Astrophysical Journa

    Gas Density, Stability, and Starbursts Near the Inner Lindblad Resonance of the Milky Way

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    A key project of the Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope and Remote Observatory (AST/RO) reported by Martin et al. (2004) is the mapping of CO J=4-3 and J=7-6 emission from the inner Milky Way, allowing determination of gas density and temperature. Galactic center gas that Binney et al. (1991) identify as being on x_2 orbits has a density near 10^3.5 cm ^-3, which renders it only marginally stable against gravitational coagulation into a few Giant Molecular Clouds, as discussed by Elmegreen (1994). This suggests a relaxation oscillator mechanism for starbursts in the Milky Way, where inflowing gas accumulates in a ring at 150 pc radius for approximately 20 million years, until the critical density is reached, and the resulting instability leads to the sudden formation of giant clouds and the deposition of 4 x 10^7 solar masses of gas onto the Galactic center.Comment: 11 pages, 1 table 1 color figure, submitted to ApJ

    The AST/RO Survey of the Galactic Center Region. I. The Inner 3 Degrees

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    We present fully-sampled maps of 461 GHz CO (4-3), 807 GHz CO (7-6), and 492 GHz [CI] (3P1-3P0) emission from the inner 3 degrees of the Galactic Center region taken with the Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope and Remote Observatory (AST/RO) in 2001--2002. The data cover -1.3 < l < 2, -0.3 < b < 0.2 with 0.5 arcmin spacing, resulting in spectra in 3 transitions at over 24,000 positions on the sky. The CO (4-3) emission is found to be essentially coextensive with lower-J transitions of CO. The CO (7-6) emission is spatially confined to a far smaller region than the lower-J CO lines. The [CI] (3P1-3P0) emission has a spatial extent similar to the low-J CO emission, but is more diffuse. Bright CO (7-6) emission is detected in the well-known Galactic Center clouds Sgr A and Sgr B. We also detect CO (4-3) and CO (7-6) absorption from spiral arms in the galactic disk at velocities near 0 km s^-1 along the line of sight to the Galactic Center. Analyzing our CO (7-6) and CO (4-3) data in conjunction with J = 1 - 0 12CO and 13CO data previously observed with the Bell Laboratories 7-m antenna, we apply a Large Velocity Gradient (LVG) model to estimate the kinetic temperature and density of molecular gas in the inner 200 pc of the Galactic Center region. We show maps of the derived distribution of gas density and kinetic temperature as a function of position and velocity for the entire region. Kinetic temperature was found to decrease from relatively high values (>70K) at cloud edges to low values (<50K) in the interiors. Typical gas pressures in the Galactic Center gas are n(H_2) T_kin approx 10^5.2 K cm^-3. We also present an (l,b) map of molecular hydrogen column density derived from our LVG results.Comment: 41 pages, 29 figures reduced to low resolution for astro-ph, for high resolution figures please go to http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/ASTRO/galcen_1.pdf this version incorporates changes due to accepted erratum (to appear in ApJS 153

    The Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope and Remote Observatory (AST/RO)

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    AST/RO, a 1.7 m diameter telescope for astronomy and aeronomy studies at wavelengths between 200 and 2000 microns, was installed at the South Pole during the 1994-1995 Austral summer. The telescope operates continuously through the Austral winter, and is being used primarily for spectroscopic studies of neutral atomic carbon and carbon monoxide in the interstellar medium of the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. The South Pole environment is unique among observatory sites for unusually low wind speeds, low absolute humidity, and the consistent clarity of the submillimeter sky. Four heterodyne receivers, an array receiver, three acousto-optical spectrometers, and an array spectrometer are installed. A Fabry-Perot spectrometer using a bolometric array and a Terahertz receiver are in development. Telescope pointing, focus, and calibration methods as well as the unique working environment and logistical requirements of the South Pole are described.Comment: 57 pages, 15 figures. Submitted to PAS

    Environmental effects of ozone depletion, UV radiation and interactions with climate change : UNEP Environmental Effects Assessment Panel, update 2017

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