skip to main content

Title: First Detection of the Molecular Cloud Population in the Extended Ultraviolet Disk of M83

We report a CO(J= 3−2) detection of 23 molecular clouds in the extended ultraviolet (XUV) disk of the spiral galaxy M83 with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. The observed 1 kpc2region is at about 1.24 times the optical radius (R25) of the disk, where CO(J= 2–1) was previously not detected. The detection and nondetection, as well as the level of star formation (SF) activity in the region, can be explained consistently if the clouds have the mass distribution common among Galactic clouds, such as Orion A—with star-forming dense clumps embedded in thick layers of bulk molecular gas, but in a low-metallicity regime where their outer layers are CO-deficient and CO-dark. The cloud and clump masses, estimated from CO(3−2), range from 8.2 × 102to 2.3 × 104Mand from 2.7 × 102to 7.5 × 103M, respectively. The most massive clouds appear similar to Orion A in star formation activity as well as in mass, as expected if the cloud mass structure is common. The overall low SF activity in the XUV disk could be due to the relative shortage of gas in the molecular phase. The clouds are distributed like chains up to 600 pc (or longer) in length, suggesting that the trigger of cloud formation is on large scales. The common cloud mass structure also justifies the use of high-JCO transitions to trace the total gas mass of clouds, or galaxies, even in the high-zuniverse. This study is the first demonstration that CO(3−2) is an efficient tracer of molecular clouds even in low-metallicity environments.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 3
["Article No. 3"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Water vapor (H2O) is one of the brightest molecular emitters after carbon monoxide (CO) in galaxies with high infrared (IR) luminosity, allowing us to investigate the warm and dense phase of the interstellar medium (ISM) where star formation occurs. However, due to the complexity of its radiative spectrum, H2O is not frequently exploited as an ISM tracer in distant galaxies. Therefore, H2O studies of the warm and dense gas at high-zremain largely unexplored. In this work, we present observations conducted with the Northern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA) toward threez > 6 IR-bright quasarsJ2310+1855,J1148+5251, andJ0439+1634targeted in their multiple para- and ortho-H2O transitions (312 − 303, 111 − 000, 220 − 211, and 422 − 413), as well as their far-IR (FIR) dust continuum. By combining our data with previous measurements from the literature, we estimated the dust masses and temperatures, continuum optical depths, IR luminosities, and star formation rates (SFR) from the FIR continuum. We modeled the H2O lines using the MOLPOP-CEP radiative transfer code, finding that water vapor lines in our quasar host galaxies are primarily excited in the warm, dense (with a gas kinetic temperature and density ofTkin = 50 K,nH2 ∼ 104.5 − 105 cm−3) molecular medium with a water vapor column density ofNH2O ∼ 2 × 1017 − 3 × 1018 cm−3. High-JH2O lines are mainly radiatively pumped by the intense optically-thin far-IR radiation field associated with a warm dust component at temperatures ofTdust ∼ 80 − 190 K that account for < 5 − 10% of the total dust mass. In the case of J2310+1855, our analysis points to a relatively high value of the continuum optical depth at 100 μm (τ100 ∼ 1). Our results are in agreement with expectations based on the H2O spectral line energy distribution of local and high-zultra-luminous IR galaxies and active galactic nuclei (AGN). The analysis of the Boltzmann diagrams highlights the interplay between collisions and IR pumping in populating the high H2O energy levels and it allows us to directly compare the excitation conditions in the targeted quasar host galaxies. In addition, the observations enable us to sample the high-luminosity part of the H2O–total-IR (TIR) luminosity relations (LH2O − LTIR). Overall, our results point to supralinear trends that suggest H2O–TIR relations are likely driven by IR pumping, rather than the mere co-spatiality between the FIR continuum- and line-emitting regions. The observedLH2O/LTIRratios in ourz > 6 quasars do not show any strong deviations with respect to those measured in star-forming galaxies and AGN at lower redshifts. This supports the notion that H2O can be likely used to trace the star formation activity buried deep within the dense molecular clouds.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    We present Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) + Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) continuum and spectral-line polarization data on the massive molecular cloud BYF 73, revealing important details about the magnetic field morphology, gas structures, and energetics in this unusual massive star formation laboratory. The 154μm HAWC+ polarization map finds a highly organized magnetic field in the densest, inner 0.55 × 0.40 pc portion of the cloud, compared to an unremarkable morphology in the cloud’s outer layers. The 3 mm continuum ALMA polarization data reveal several more structures in the inner domain, including a parsec-long, ∼500M“Streamer” around the central massive protostellar object MIR 2, with magnetic fields mostly parallel to the east–west Streamer but oriented north–south across MIR 2. The magnetic field orientation changes from mostly parallel to the column density structures to mostly perpendicular, at thresholdsNcrit= 6.6 × 1026m−2,ncrit= 2.5 × 1011m−3, andBcrit= 42 ± 7 nT. ALMA also mapped Goldreich–Kylafis polarization in12CO across the cloud, which traces, in both total intensity and polarized flux, a powerful bipolar outflow from MIR 2 that interacts strongly with the Streamer. The magnetic field is also strongly aligned along the outflow direction; energetically, it may dominate the outflow near MIR 2, comprising rare evidence for a magnetocentrifugal origin to such outflows. A portion of the Streamer may be in Keplerian rotation around MIR 2, implying a gravitating mass 1350 ± 50Mfor the protostar+disk+envelope; alternatively, these kinematics can be explained by gas in free-fall toward a 950 ± 35Mobject. The high accretion rate onto MIR 2 apparently occurs through the Streamer/disk, and could account for ∼33% of MIR 2's total luminosity via gravitational energy release.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    We report a NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA) and Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array search for redshifted CO emission from the galaxies associated with seven high-metallicity ([M/H] ≥ −1.03) damped Lyαabsorbers (DLAs) atz≈ 1.64–2.51. Our observations yielded one new detection of CO(3–2) emission from a galaxy atz= 2.4604 using NOEMA, associated with thez= 2.4628 DLA toward QSO B0201+365. Including previous searches, our search results in detection rates of CO emission of5624+38% and119+26%, respectively, in the fields of DLAs with [M/H] > −0.3 and [M/H] < −0.3. Further, the Hi–selected galaxies associated with five DLAs with [M/H] > −0.3 all have high molecular gas masses, ≳5 × 1010M. This indicates that the highest-metallicity DLAs atz≈ 2 are associated with the most massive galaxies. The newly identifiedz≈ 2.4604 Hi–selected galaxy, DLA0201+365g, has an impact parameter of ≈7 kpc to the QSO sightline, and an implied molecular gas mass of (5.04 ± 0.78) × 1010× (αCO/4.36) × (r31/0.55)M. Archival Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 imaging covering the rest-frame near-ultraviolet (NUV) and far-ultraviolet (FUV) emission from this galaxy yield nondetections of rest-frame NUV and FUV emission, and a 5σupper limit of 2.3Myr−1on the unobscured star formation rate (SFR). The low NUV-based SFR estimate, despite the very high molecular gas mass, indicates that DLA0201+365g either is a very dusty galaxy, or has a molecular gas depletion time that is around 2 orders of magnitude larger than that of star-forming galaxies at similar redshifts.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Observations of12COJ= 1 – 0 and HCNJ= 1 – 0 emission from NGC 5194 (M51) made with the 50 m Large Millimeter Telescope and the SEQUOIA focal plane array are presented. Using the HCN-to-CO ratio, we examine the dense gas mass fraction over a range of environmental conditions within the galaxy. Within the disk, the dense gas mass fraction varies along the spiral arms but the average value over all spiral arms is comparable to the mean value of interarm regions. We suggest that the near-constant dense gas mass fraction throughout the disk arises from a population of density-stratified, self-gravitating molecular clouds and the required density threshold to detect each spectral line. The measured dense gas fraction significantly increases in the central bulge in response to the effective pressure,Pe, from the weight of the stellar and gas components. This pressure modifies the dynamical state of the molecular cloud population and, possibly, the HCN-emitting regions in the central bulge from self-gravitating to diffuse configurations in whichPeis greater than the gravitational energy density of individual clouds. Diffuse molecular clouds comprise a significant fraction of the molecular gas mass in the central bulge, which may account for the measured sublinear relationships between the surface densities of the star formation rate and molecular and dense gas.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract The stellar cluster environment is expected to play a central role in the evolution of circumstellar disks. We use thermochemical modeling to constrain the dust and gas masses, disk sizes, UV and X-ray radiation fields, viewing geometries, and central stellar masses of 20 class II disks in the Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC). We fit a large grid of disk models to 350 GHz continuum, CO J = 3 − 2, and HCO + J = 4 − 3 Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations of each target, and we introduce a procedure for modeling interferometric observations of gas disks detected in absorption against a bright molecular cloud background. We find that the ONC disks are massive and compact, with typical radii <100 au, gas masses ≥10 −3 M ⊙ , and gas-to-dust ratios ≥100. The interstellar‐medium‐like gas-to-dust ratios derived from our modeling suggest that compact, externally irradiated disks in the ONC are less prone to gas-phase CO depletion than the massive and extended gas disks that are commonly found in nearby low-mass star-forming regions. The presence of massive gas disks indicates that external photoevaporation may have only recently begun operating in the ONC; though it remains unclear whether other cluster members are older and more evaporated than the ones in our sample. Finally, we compare our dynamically derived stellar masses with the stellar masses predicted from evolutionary models and find excellent agreement. Our study has significantly increased the number of dynamical mass measurements in the mass range ≤0.5 M ⊙ , demonstrating that the ONC is an ideal region for obtaining large samples of dynamical mass measurements toward low-mass M-dwarfs. 
    more » « less