Volume 377, Number 2, October II 2001
|Page(s)||644 - 671|
|Published online||15 October 2001|
Clumpy outer Galaxy molecular clouds and the steepening of the IMF
Istituto di Radioastronomia, CNR, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 Radioastronomisches Institut, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Straße 77, 50937 Köln, Germany
4 Department of Physics, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA 91711, USA
5 Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
6 Astronomy Department, Caltech, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Corresponding author: J. Brand, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 24 July 2001
We report the results of high-resolution (~0.2 pc) CO (1-0) and CS (2-1) observations of the central regions of three star-forming molecular clouds in the far-outer Galaxy (~16 kpc from the Galactic Center): WB89 85 (Sh 2-127), WB89 380, and WB89 437. We used the BIMA array in combination with IRAM 30-m and NRAO 12-m observations. The GMC's in which the regions are embedded were studied by means of KOSMA 3-m CO (2-1) observations (here we also observed WB89 399). We compare the BIMA maps with optical, radio, and near-infrared observations. Using a clumpfind routine, structures found in the CO and CS emission are subdivided in clumps, the properties of which are analyzed and compared with newly derived results of previously published single-dish measurements of local clouds (OrionB South and Rosette). We find that the slopes of the clump mass distributions (-1.28 and -1.49, for WB89 85 and WB89 380, respectively) are somewhat less steep than found for most local clouds, but similar to those of clouds which have been analyzed with the same clumpfind program. We investigate the clump stability by using the virial theorem, including all possible contributions (gravity, turbulence, magnetic fields, and pressure due to the interclump gas). It appears that under reasonable assumptions a combination of these forces would render most clumps stable. Comparing only gravity and turbulence, we find that in the far-outer Galaxy clouds, these forces are in equilibium (virial parameter ) for clumps down to the lowest masses found (a few ). For clumps in the local clouds only for clumps with masses larger than a few tens of . Thus it appears that in these outer Galaxy clumps gravity is the dominant force down to a much lower mass than in local clouds, implying that gravitational collapse and star formation may occur more readily even in the smallest clumps. Although there are some caveats, due to the inhomogeneity of the data used, this might explain the apparently steeper IMF found in the outer Galaxy.
Key words: ISM: clouds / ISM: molecules / radio lines: ISM
© ESO, 2001
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