Volume 466, Number 2, May I 2007
|Page(s)||467 - 479|
|Published online||05 February 2007|
The interstellar medium of the Antennae galaxies
Institut für Physik und ihre Didaktik, Universität zu Köln, Gronewaldstr. 2, 50931 Köln, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
4 Purple Mountain Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 210008 Nanjing, PR China
5 I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Universitätsstr. 17, 50937 Köln, Germany
6 Instituto de Radioastronomía Milimétrica (IRAM), Avenida Divina Pastora 7, Local 20, 18012 Granada, Spain
Accepted: 24 October 2006
To study the properties of the interstellar medium in the prototypical merging system of the Antennae galaxies (NGC 4038 and NGC 4039), we have obtained 12CO (1–0), (2–1) and (3–2) line maps, as well as a map of the 870 μm continuum emission. Our results are analysed in conjunction with data from X-ray to radio wavelengths. In order to distinguish between exact coincidence and merely close correspondence of emission features, we compare the morphological structure of the different emission components at the highest available angular resolution. To constrain the physical state of the molecular gas, we apply models of photon dominated regions (PDRs) that allow us to fit CO and [Cii] data, as well as other indicators of widespread PDRs in the Antennae system, particularly within the super giant molecular cloud (SGMC) complexes of the interaction region (IAR) between the two galaxies. The modeled clouds have cores with moderately high gas densities up to cm-3 and rather low kinetic temperatures (≤25 K). At present, all these clouds, including those near the galactic nuclei, show no signs of intense starburst activity. Thermal radio or mid-infrared emission are all observed to peak slightly offset from the molecular peaks. The total molecular gas mass of the Antennae system adds up to ~1010 . In the vicinity of each galactic nucleus, the molecular gas mass, , exceeds that of the Galactic centre region by a factor of almost 100. Furthermore, the gas does not seem to deviate much from the /ICO ratio typical of the disk of our Galaxy rather than our Galactic centre. Alternative heating mechanisms with respect to PDR heating are discussed.
Key words: galaxies: individual: NGC 4038/39 / galaxies: spiral / galaxies: ISM / radio lines: galaxies
© ESO, 2007
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