Volume 417, Number 2, April II 2004
|421 - 435
|19 March 2004
The WSRT wide-field H I survey*
II. Local Group features
ASTRON, PO Box 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore MD 21218-2695, USA
Corresponding author: R. Braun, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 10 October 2003
We have used the Westerbork array to carry out an unbiased wide-field survey of H i emission features, achieving an rms sensitivity of about 18 mJy/Beam at a velocity resolution of 17 km s-1 over 1800 deg2 and between km s-1. The primary data consists of auto-correlation spectra with an effective angular resolution of 49′ FWHM. The survey region is centered approximately on the position of Messier 31 and is Nyquist-sampled over ° in . In this paper we present our H i detections at negative velocities which could be distinguished from the Galactic foreground. Fully 29% of the entire survey area has high velocity H i emission at a column density exceeding our 3σ limit of about cm-2 over 30 km s-1. We tabulate the properties of 95 discrete HVC components in the field, corresponding to more than an order of magnitude increase in number over that known previously. The distribution of discrete object number with flux density has an inflection point near 12 Jy-km s-1 which may correspond to a characteristic mass and distance for this population. A faint population of discrete HVCs is detected in the immediate vicinity of M 31 which spans a large fraction of the M 31 rotation velocity. This class of features is confined to about 12° (160 kpc) projected radius of M 31 and appears to be physically associated. Independent confirmation of the features within 35 (47 kpc) of M 31 has been obtained in our Green Bank Telescope survey (Thilker et al. [CITE]). We detect a diffuse northern extension of the Magellanic Stream (MS) from at least , which subsequently loops back toward the south. Recent numerical simulations had predicted just such an MS extension corresponding to the apo-galacticon portion of the LMC/SMC orbit at a distance of 125 kpc. A faint bridge of H i emission appears to join the systemic velocities of M 31 with that of M 33 and continues beyond M 31 to the north-west. This may be the first detection of H i associated with the warm-hot intergalactic medium (WHIM). The distribution of peculiar velocity H i associated with M 31 can be described by a projected exponential of 25 kpc scale-length and cm-2 peak column density. We present the distribution function of NHI in the extended M 31 environment, which agrees well with the low red-shift QSO absorption line data over the range log( to . Our data extend this comparison about two orders of magnitude lower than previously possible and provide the first image of the Lyman limit absorption system associated with an L Galaxy.
Key words: galaxies: Local Group / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: formation / galaxies: Magellanic Clouds / galaxies: intergalactic medium / quasars: absorption lines
© ESO, 2004
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