Astrophys. J., 540, 863-868 (2000/September-2)
Small-scale structure in galactic H I absorption toward GRS 1915+105.
DHAWAN V., GOSS W.M. and RODRIGUEZ L.F.
Abstract (from CDS):
The existence of small-scale variations in the interstellar medium, between sight lines separated by 10-100 AU, is well established from pulsar, VLBI, MERLIN, and VLA observations. The angular resolutions are in the range 10-100 mas. During an outburst of the microquasar GRS 1915+105, the proper motion of the approaching component is ∼250 AU(23mas).day–1. Using the VLA to observe the H I line at 21 cm, we have measured the time-variable H I absorption along the changing line of sight during such an outburst. We detect opacity changes of Δτ∼0.67±0.16 in gas at vLSR of 55 km.s–1, near the velocity of the tangent point at 65 km.s–1, over ∼6 days, for lines of sight ∼1000 AU apart. Another detection at vLSR of 5 km.s–1 has Δτ∼0.24±0.06, on lines of sight ∼40 AU (or 440 AU) apart, depending on the near (or far) distance to the absorbing gas. From the several days of spectra, 3 σ upper limits are derived: Δτ≤0.5 for gas at 55 km.s–1, on scales ∼150-900 AU; and Δτ≤0.25 at 5 km.s–1, on scales ∼25-150 AU (gas at 1 kpc) or ∼275-1650 AU (gas at 11 kpc). We thus probe the H I structure in distant Galactic material, using a Galactic background source with rapid structural changes. Our approach complements those using extragalactic sources and nearby pulsars. Our results are consistent with extrapolation of the power-law index of 0.375 for the structure function of H I opacity (equivalent to an index of 2.75 for the power spectrum of H I), as measured by others from 4 pc to 0.02 pc toward Cassiopeia A.
ISM: Atoms - ISM: Clouds - Radio Lines: ISM - stars: individual (GRS 1915+105)
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