Global properties of the H I distribution in the outer Milky Way
Planar and extra-planar gas
Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany e-mail: [pkalberla;ldedes]@astro.uni-bonn.de
Accepted: 31 March 2008
Context. The determination of the global structure of the planar and extra-planar Milky Way disk depends critically on a reliable database but also on reasonable assumptions about the shape of the Milky Way rotation curve.
Aims. We derive the 3D volume density distribution for the Galactic disk out to kpc.
Methods. Our analysis is based on parameters for the warp and rotation curve derived previously. The data are taken from the Leiden/Argentine/Bonn all sky 21 cm line survey.
Results. The Milky Way disk is significantly warped but shows a coherent structure out to kpc. The radial surface density distribution, the densities in the middle of the warped plane, and the scale heights all follow exponential relations. The radial scale length for the surface density distribution of the disk is 3.75 kpc. Gas at the outskirts for kpc is described best by a distribution with an exponential radial scale length of 7.5 kpc and a velocity dispersion of 74 km s-1. Such a highly turbulent medium fits also well with the average shape of the high velocity profile wings observed at high latitudes. The turbulent pressure gradient of such extra-planar gas is on average in balance with the gravitational forces. About 10% of the Milky Way gas is in this state. The large scale distribution is lopsided; for kpc there is more gas in the south. The flaring indicates that this asymmetry is caused by a dark matter wake, located at kpc in direction of the Magellanic System.
Conclusions. The disk is made up of two major components. Most prominent is the normal disk which can be traced to kpc. This is surrounded by a patchy distribution of highly turbulent gas reaching large scale heights but also large radial distances. At the position of the Sun the exponential scale height in the z direction is 3.9 kpc. This component resembles the anomalous gas discovered previously in some galaxies.
Key words: Galaxy: disk / Galaxy: halo / Galaxy: structure / Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics / ISM: structure
© ESO, 2008