EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 371, Number 2, May IV 2001
Page(s) 433 - 444
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010354

A&A 371, 433-444 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010354

CI and CO in the spiral galaxies NGC 6946 and M 83

F. P. Israel1 and F. Baas1, 2

1  Sterrewacht Leiden, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
2  Joint Astronomy Centre, 660 N. A'ohoku Pl., Hilo, Hawaii, 96720, USA

(Received 29 September 2000 / Accepted 1 March 2001 )

We present J=2-1, J=3-2, J=4-3 12CO and 492 GHz [CI] maps as well as J=2-1 and J=3-2 13CO measurements of the late type spiral galaxies NGC 6946 and M 83 (NGC 5236). Both galaxies contain a pronounced molecular gas concentration in rapid solid-body rotation within a few hundred parsec from their nucleus. NGC 6946 and M 83 have nearly identical relative intensities in the 12CO, 13CO and [CI] transitions, but very different [CII] intensities, illustrating the need for caution in interpreting CO observations alone. The slow decrease of velocity-integrated 12CO intensities with increasing rotational level implies the presence of significant amounts of warm and dense molecular gas in both galaxy centers. Detailed modelling of the observed line ratios indicates that the molecular medium in both galaxies consists of at least two separate components. These are a warm and dense component ( $T_{\rm kin}$ = 30-60 K, $n({\rm H_{2}})$ = 3000-10 000 ${\rm cm^{-3}}$) and a much more tenuous hot component ( $T_{\rm kin}$ = 100-150 K, $n({\rm H_{2}}) \leq 1000 {\rm cm^{-3}}$). Total atomic carbon column densities exceed CO column densities by a factor of about 1.5 in NGC 6946 and about 4 in M 83. Unlike NGC 6946, M 83 contains a significant amount of molecular hydrogen associated with ionized carbon rather than CO. The centers of NGC 6946 and M 83 contain nearly identical total (atomic and molecular) gas masses of about 3107 $M_{\odot}$. Despite their prominence, the central gas concentrations in these galaxies represent only a few per cent of the stellar mass in the same volume. The peak face-on gas mass density is much higher in M 83 (120 $M_{\odot}$ pc-2) than in NGC 6946 (45 $M_{\odot}$ pc-2). The more intense starburst in M 83 is associated with a more compact and somewhat hotter PDR zone than the milder starburst in NGC 6946.

Key words: galaxies -- individual (NGC 6946; M 83) -- ISM -- centers; radio lines -- galaxies; ISM -- molecules

Offprint request: F. P. Israel, israel@strw.leidenuniv.nl

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