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Context. Ionized interstellar gas is an important component of the interstellar medium and its lifecycle. The recent evidence for a widely distributed highly ionized warm interstellar gas with a density intermediate between the warm ionized medium (WIM) and compact H II regions suggests that there is a major gap in our understanding of the interstellar gas. Aims. Our goal is to investigate the properties of the dense WIM in the Milky Way using spectrally resolved SOFIA GREAT [N II ] 205 μm fine-structure lines and Green Bank Telescope hydrogen radio recombination lines (RRL) data, supplemented by spectrally unresolved Herschel PACS [N II ] 122μm data, and spectrally resolved 12 CO. Methods. We observed eight lines of sight (LOS) in the 20° < l < 30° region in the Galactic plane. We analyzed spectrally resolved lines of [N II ] at 205 μm and RRL observations, along with the spectrally unresolved Herschel PACS 122 μm emission, using excitation and radiative transfer models to determine the physical parameters of the dense WIM. We derived the kinetic temperature, as well as the thermal and turbulent velocity dispersions from the [N II ] and RRL linewidths. Results. The regions with [N II ] 205more »
LEGO – II. A 3 mm molecular line study covering 100 pc of one of the most actively star-forming portions within the Milky Way discABSTRACT The current generation of (sub)mm-telescopes has allowed molecular line emission to become a major tool for studying the physical, kinematic, and chemical properties of extragalactic systems, yet exploiting these observations requires a detailed understanding of where emission lines originate within the Milky Way. In this paper, we present 60 arcsec (∼3 pc) resolution observations of many 3 mm band molecular lines across a large map of the W49 massive star-forming region (∼100 pc × 100 pc at 11 kpc), which were taken as part of the ‘LEGO’ IRAM-30m large project. We find that the spatial extent or brightness of the molecular line transitions are not well correlated with their critical densities, highlighting abundance and optical depth must be considered when estimating line emission characteristics. We explore how the total emission and emission efficiency (i.e. line brightness per H2 column density) of the line emission vary as a function of molecular hydrogen column density and dust temperature. We find that there is not a single region of this parameter space responsible for the brightest and most efficiently emitting gas for all species. For example, we find that the HCN transition shows high emission efficiency at high column density (1022 cm−2) and moderate temperatures (35 K), whilst e.g.more »