EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 365, Number 3, January III 2001
Page(s) 571 - 587
Section Diffuse matter in space
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20000145

A&A 365, 571-587 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20000145

The effect of violent star formation on the state of the molecular gas in M 82

A. Weiß, N. Neininger, S. Hüttemeister and U. Klein

Radioastronomisches Institut der Universität Bonn (RAIUB), Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany

(Received 27 July 2000 / Accepted 11 October 2000 )

We present the results of a high angular resolution, multi-transition analysis of the molecular gas in M 82. The analysis is based on the two lowest transitions of $^{12}{\rm CO}$ and the ground transition of the rare isotopes $^{13}{\rm CO}$ and ${\rm C}^{18}{\rm O}$ measured with the PdBI, the BIMA array and the IRAM 30 m telescope. In order to address the question of how the intrinsic molecular cloud properties are influenced by massive star formation we have carried out radiative transfer calculations based on the observed CO line ratios. The calculations suggest that the kinetic temperature of the molecular gas is high in regions with strong star formation and drops towards the outer molecular lobes with less ongoing star formation. The location of the highest kinetic temperature is coincident with that of the mid infrared (MIR) peaks which trace emission from hot dust. The hot gas is associated with low H2 densities while the cold gas in the outer molecular lobes has high H2 densities. We find that CO intensities do not trace H2, column densities well. Most of the molecular gas is distributed in a double-lobed distribution which surrounds the starburst. A detailed analysis of the conversion factor from CO intensity to H2 column density shows that $X_{\rm CO}$ depends on the excitation conditions. We find $X_{\rm CO} \sim
T_{\rm kin}^{-1} n(H_2)^{1/2}$, as expected for virialized clouds.

Key words: ISM: evolution -- ISM: molecules -- ISM: structure -- galaxies: individual: M 82 -- galaxies: ISM -- galaxies: starburst

Offprint request: A. Weiß, aweiss@astro.uni-bonn.de

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© ESO 2001

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