Dissecting the molecular structure of the Orion B cloud: insight from principal component analysis⋆
1 Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, B18N, Allée Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 33615 Pessac, France
2 ICMM, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), 28049 Madrid, Spain
3 LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, 92190 Meudon, France
4 LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, École normale supérieure, 75005, Paris, France
5 IRAM, 300 rue de la Piscine, 38406 Saint-Martin d’Hères, France
6 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
7 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
8 School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, Queen’s buildings, Cardiff CF24 3AA, UK
9 Maison de la Simulation, CEA-CNRS-INRIA-UPS-UVSQ, USR 3441, Centre d’étude de Saclay, 91191 Gif-Sur-Yvette, France
Received: 5 October 2016
Accepted: 13 January 2017
Context. The combination of wideband receivers and spectrometers currently available in (sub-)millimeter observatories deliver wide-field hyperspectral imaging of the interstellar medium. Tens of spectral lines can be observed over degree wide fields in about 50 h. This wealth of data calls for restating the physical questions about the interstellar medium in statistical terms.
Aims. We aim to gain information on the physical structure of the interstellar medium from a statistical analysis of many lines from different species over a large field of view, without requiring detailed radiative transfer or astrochemical modeling.
Methods. We coupled a non-linear rescaling of the data with one of the simplest multivariate analysis methods, namely the principal component analysis, to decompose the observed signal into components that we interpret first qualitatively and then quantitatively based on our deep knowledge of the observed region and of the astrochemistry at play.
Results. We identify three principal components, linear compositions of line brightness temperatures, that are correlated at various levels with the column density, the volume density and the UV radiation field.
Conclusions. When sampling a sufficiently diverse mixture of physical parameters, it is possible to decompose the molecular emission in order to gain physical insight on the observed interstellar medium. This opens a new avenue for future studies of the interstellar medium.
Key words: ISM: molecules / ISM: clouds / photon-dominated region (PDR) / ISM: individual objects: Orion B / methods: statistical
© ESO, 2017