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  1. ABSTRACT

    The low-J rotational transitions of 12CO are commonly used to trace the distribution of molecular gas in galaxies. Their ratios are sensitive to excitation and physical conditions in the molecular gas. Spatially resolved studies of CO ratios are still sparse and affected by flux calibration uncertainties, especially since most do not have high angular resolution or do not have short-spacing information and hence miss any diffuse emission. We compare the low-J CO ratios across the disc of two massive, star-forming spiral galaxies NGC 2903 and NGC 3627 to investigate whether and how local environments drive excitation variations at GMC scales. We use Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) observations of the three lowest-J CO transitions at a common angular resolution of 4 arcsec (190 pc). We measure median line ratios of $R_{21}=0.67^{+0.13}_{-0.11}$, $R_{32}=0.33^{+0.09}_{-0.08}$, and $R_{31}=0.24^{+0.10}_{-0.09}$ across the full disc of NGC 3627. We see clear CO line ratio variation across the galaxy consistent with changes in temperature and density of the molecular gas. In particular, towards the centre, R21, R32, and R31 increase by 35  per cent, 50  per cent, and 66  per cent, respectively, compared to their average disc values. The overall line ratio trends suggest that CO(3–2) is more sensitive to changes in the excitation conditions than the two lower J transitions. Furthermore, we find a similar radial R32 trend in NGC 2903, albeit a larger disc-wide average of $\langle R_{32}\rangle =0.47^{+0.14}_{-0.08}$. We conclude that the CO low-J line ratios vary across environments in such a way that they can trace changes in the molecular gas conditions, with the main driver being changes in temperature.

     
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  2. Nitrogen hydrides such as NH3 and N2H+ are widely used by Galactic observers to trace the cold dense regions of the interstellar medium. In external galaxies, because of limited sensitivity, HCN has become the most common tracer of dense gas over large parts of galaxies. We provide the first systematic measurements of N2H+ (1-0) across different environments of an external spiral galaxy, NGC 6946. We find a strong correlation (r > 0.98, p < 0.01) between the HCN (1-0) and N2H+ (1-0) intensities across the inner ∼8 kpc of the galaxy, at kiloparsec scales. This correlation is equally strong between the ratios N2H+ (1-0)/CO (1-0) and HCN (1-0)/CO (1-0), tracers of dense gas fractions (fdense). We measure an average intensity ratio of N2H+ (1-0)/HCN (1-0) = 0.15 ± 0.02 over our set of five IRAM-30m pointings. These trends are further supported by existing measurements for Galactic and extragalactic sources. This narrow distribution in the average ratio suggests that the observed systematic trends found in kiloparsec-scale extragalactic studies of fdense and the efficiency of dense gas (SFEdense) would not change if we employed N2H+ (1-0) as a more direct tracer of dense gas. At kiloparsec scales our results indicate that the HCN (1-0) emission can be used to predict the expected N2H+ (1-0) over those regions. Our results suggest that, even if HCN (1-0) and N2H+ (1-0) trace different density regimes within molecular clouds, subcloud differences average out at kiloparsec scales, yielding the two tracers proportional to each other. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. ABSTRACT

    We report the results of long-term reverberation mapping campaigns of the nearby active galactic nuclei (AGNs) NGC 4151, spanning from 1994 to 2022, based on archived observations of the FAST Spectrograph Publicly Archived Programs and our new observations with the 2.3 m telescope at the Wyoming Infrared Observatory. We reduce and calibrate all the spectra in a consistent way, and derive light curves of the broad H β line and 5100 Å continuum. Continuum light curves are also constructed using public archival photometric data to increase sampling cadences. We subtract the host galaxy contamination using Hubble Space Telescope imaging to correct fluxes of the calibrated light curves. Utilizing the long-term archival photometric data, we complete the absolute flux-calibration of the AGN continuum. We find that the H β time delays are correlated with the 5100 Å luminosities as $\tau _{\rm H\beta }\propto L_{5100}^{0.46\pm 0.16}$. This is remarkably consistent with Bentz et al. (2013)’s global size–luminosity relationship of AGNs. Moreover, the data sets for five of the seasons allow us to obtain the velocity-resolved delays of the H β line, showing diverse structures (outflows, inflows, and discs). Combining our results with previous independent measurements, we find the measured dynamics of the H β broad-line region (BLR) are possibly related to the long-term trend of the luminosity. There is also a possible additional ∼1.86 yr time lag between the variation in BLR radius and luminosity. These results suggest that dynamical changes in the BLR may be driven by the effects of radiation pressure.

     
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  4. Abstract In this third paper of the series reporting on the reverberation mapping campaign of active galactic nuclei with asymmetric H β emission-line profiles, we present results for 15 Palomar–Green quasars using spectra obtained between the end of 2016–2021 May. This campaign combines long time spans with relatively high cadence. For eight objects, both the time lags obtained from the entire light curves and the measurements from individual observing seasons are provided. Reverberation mapping of nine of our targets has been attempted for the first time, while the results for six others can be compared with previous campaigns. We measure the H β time lags over periods of years and estimate their black hole masses. The long duration of the campaign enables us to investigate their broad-line region (BLR) geometry and kinematics for different years by using velocity-resolved lags, which demonstrate signatures of diverse BLR geometry and kinematics. The BLR geometry and kinematics of individual objects are discussed. In this sample, the BLR kinematics of Keplerian/virialized motion and inflow is more common than that of outflow. 
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  5. ABSTRACT The feedback from young stars (i.e. pre-supernova) is thought to play a crucial role in molecular cloud destruction. In this paper, we assess the feedback mechanisms acting within a sample of 5810 H ii regions identified from the PHANGS-MUSE survey of 19 nearby (<20 Mpc) star-forming, main-sequence spiral galaxies [log(M⋆/M⊙) = 9.4–11]. These optical spectroscopic maps are essential to constrain the physical properties of the H ii regions, which we use to investigate their internal pressure terms. We estimate the photoionized gas (Ptherm), direct radiation (Prad), and mechanical wind pressure (Pwind), which we compare to the confining pressure of their host environment (Pde). The H ii regions remain unresolved within our ∼50–100 pc resolution observations, so we place upper (Pmax) and lower (Pmin) limits on each of the pressures by using a minimum (i.e. clumpy structure) and maximum (i.e. smooth structure) size, respectively. We find that the Pmax measurements are broadly similar, and for Pmin the Ptherm is mildly dominant. We find that the majority of H ii regions are overpressured, Ptot/Pde = (Ptherm + Pwind + Prad)/Pde > 1, and expanding, yet there is a small sample of compact H ii regions with Ptot,max/Pde < 1 (∼1 per cent of the sample). These mostly reside in galaxy centres (Rgal < 1 kpc), or, specifically, environments of high gas surface density; log(Σgas/M⊙ pc−2) ∼ 2.5 (measured on kpc-scales). Lastly, we compare to a sample of literature measurements for Ptherm and Prad to investigate how dominant pressure term transitions over around 5 dex in spatial dynamic range and 10 dex in pressure. 
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