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2020A&A...638A..66P - Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 638A, 66-66 (2020/6-1)

Theoretical modelling of two-component molecular discs in spiral galaxies.


Abstract (from CDS):

As recent observations of the molecular discs in spiral galaxies point to the existence of a diffuse, low-density thick molecular disc along with the prominent thin one, we investigate the observational signatures of this thick disc by theoretically modelling two-component molecular discs in a sample of eight nearby spiral galaxies. Assuming a prevailing hydrostatic equilibrium, we set up and solved the joint Poisson's-Boltzmann equation to estimate the three-dimensional distribution of the molecular gas and the molecular scale height in our sample galaxies. The molecular scale height in a two-component molecular disc is found to vary between 50 and 300pc, which is higher than what is found in a single-component disc. We find that this scale height can vary significantly depending on the assumed thick disc molecular gas fraction. We also find that the molecular gas flares as a function of the radius and follows a tight exponential law with a scale length of (0.48±0.01)r25. We used the density solutions to produce the column density maps and spectral cubes to examine the ideal observing conditions to identify a thick molecular disc in galaxies. We find that unless the molecular disc is an edge-on system and imaged with a high spatial resolution (≤100pc), it is extremely hard to identify a thick molecular disc in a column density map. The spectral analysis further reveals that at moderate to high inclination (i≥40°), spectral broadening can fictitiously introduce the signatures of a two-component disc into the spectral cube of a single-component disc. Hence, we conclude that a low inclination molecular disc imaged with high spatial resolution would serve as the ideal site for identifying the thick molecular disc in galaxies.

Abstract Copyright: © ESO 2020

Journal keyword(s): molecular data - ISM: molecules - galaxies: kinematics and dynamics - galaxies: spiral - galaxies: structure

Simbad objects: 13

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