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2008ApJ...686..948B - Astrophys. J., 686, 948-965 (2008/October-3)

The resolved properties of extragalactic giant molecular clouds.


Abstract (from CDS):

We use high spatial resolution observations of CO to systematically measure the resolved size-line width, luminosity-line width, luminosity-size, and mass-luminosity relations of GMCs in a variety of extragalactic systems. Although the data are heterogeneous, we analyze them in a consistent manner to remove the biases introduced by limited sensitivity and resolution, thus obtaining reliable sizes, velocity dispersions, and luminosities. We compare the results obtained in dwarf galaxies with those from the Local Group spiral galaxies. We find that extragalactic GMC properties measured across a wide range of environments are very much compatible with those in the Galaxy. The property that shows the largest variability is their resolved brightness temperature, although even that is similar to the average Galactic value in most sources. We use these results to investigate metallicity trends in the cloud average column density and virial CO-to-H2factor. We find that these measurements do not accord with simple predictions from photoionization-regulated star formation theory, although this could be due to the fact that we do not sample small enough spatial scales or the full gravitational potential of the molecular cloud. We also find that the virial CO-to-H2conversion factor in CO-bright GMCs is very similar to Galactic and that the excursions do not show a measurable metallicity trend. We contrast these results with estimates of molecular mass based on far-infrared measurements obtained for the Small Magellanic Cloud, which systematically yield larger masses, and interpret this discrepancy as arising from large H2 envelopes that surround the CO-bright cores. We conclude that GMCs identified on the basis of their CO emission are a unique class of objects that exhibit a remarkably uniform set of properties from galaxy to galaxy.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxies: Dwarf - Galaxies: Individual: Alphanumeric: IC 10 - Galaxies: Individual: Messier Number: M31 - Galaxies: Individual: Messier Number: M33 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 185 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 205 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 1569 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 2976 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 3077 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 4214 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 4449 - Galaxies: Individual: NGC Number: NGC 4605 - Galaxies: ISM - ISM: Clouds - Galaxies: Magellanic Clouds

VizieR on-line data: <Available at CDS (J/ApJ/686/948): table1.dat table3.dat>

Nomenclature: Table 3: [BLR2008] NGC NNNN NN, [BLR2008] IC 10 NN, [BLR2008] SMC LIRSNN N, [BLR2008] SMC N83 N, [BLR2008] LMC N159 N, [BLR2008] MNN NN, N=172.

Simbad objects: 193

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