Dense gas in nearby galaxies
XVII. The distribution of ammonia in NGC 253, Maffei 2, and IC 342⋆
Department of Physical Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, PO Box 23323, 00931-3323 San Juan, Puerto Rico
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, VA 22903 Charlottesville, USA
4 Joint ALMA Observatory, Av. Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
5 Instituto de Radioastronomía Milimétrica, Avda. Divina Pastora 7, Local 20, 18012 Granada, Spain
6 Astronomy Department, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 80203, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
7 INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Loc. Poggio dei Pini, Strada 54, 09012 Capoterra (CA), Italy
Received: 21 June 2011
Accepted: 24 August 2011
Context. The central few 100 pc of galaxies often contain large amounts of molecular gas. The chemical and physical properties of these extragalactic star formation regions differ from those in galactic disks, but are poorly constrained.
Aims. This study aims to develop a better knowledge of the spatial distribution and kinetic temperature of the dense neutral gas associated with the nuclear regions of three prototypical spiral galaxies, NGC 253, IC 342, and Maffei 2.
Methods. VLA CnD and D configuration measurements have been made of three ammonia (NH3) inversion transitions.
Results. The (J,K) = (1, 1) and (2, 2) transitions of NH3 were imaged toward IC 342 and Maffei 2. The (3, 3) transition was imaged toward NGC 253. The entire flux obtained from single-antenna measurements is recovered for all three galaxies observed. Derived lower limits to the kinetic temperatures determined for the giant molecular clouds in the centers of these galaxies are between 25 and 50 K. There is good agreement between the distributions of NH3 and other H2 tracers, such as rare CO isotopologues or HCN, suggesting that NH3 is representative of the distribution of dense gas. The “Western Peak” in IC 342 is seen in the (6, 6) line but not in lower transitions, suggesting maser emission in the (6, 6) transition.
Key words: galaxies: ISM / galaxies: abundances / galaxies: starburst / radio lines: galaxies / galaxies: general
Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2011