Regularly spaced Infrared peaks in the dusty spirals of Messier 100.
ELMEGREEN B.G., ELMEGREEN D.M. and EFREMOV Y.N.
Abstract (from CDS):
Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) images of M100 show numerous long filaments with regularly spaced clumps, suggesting the associated cloud complexes formed by large-scale gravitational instabilities in shocked and accumulated gas. Optical images give no hint of this underlying regularity. The typical spacing between near-infrared clumps is ∼410 pc, which is ∼3 times the clump diameter, consistent with the fastest growing mode in a filament of critical line density. The IRAC magnitudes and colors of several hundred clumps are measured in the most obvious 27 filaments and elsewhere. The clump colors suggest that the dust is associated with diffuse gas, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emission, and local heating from star formation. Neighboring clumps on the same filament have similar magnitudes. The existence of many clumps all along the filament lengths suggests that the ages of the filaments are uniform. The observations support a model where interstellar gas is systematically accumulated over lengths exceeding several kpc, forming spiral-like filaments that spontaneously collapse into giant clouds and stellar complexes. Optical wavelengths show primarily the irregular dust debris, H II regions, and lingering star formation downstream from these primal formation sites.