Volume 525, January 2011
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Published online||03 December 2010|
CS, HC3N, and CH3CCH multi-line analyses toward starburst galaxies
The evolution of cloud structures in the central regions of galaxies⋆,⋆⋆
1 Instituto de Radioastronomía Milimétrica (IRAM)Avda. Divina Pastora, 7, Local 20 18012 Granada Spain
2 Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Ctra. de Torrejón Ajalvir km 4, 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain
3 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
4 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St. 02138, Cambridge, MA, USA
5 Joint ALMA Observatory, Av. Alonso de Córdova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
6 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Received: 18 January 2010
Accepted: 8 September 2010
Aims. We aim to study the properties of the dense molecular gas towards the inner few 100 pc of four nearby starburst galaxies dominated both by photo dissociation regions (M 82) and large-scale shocks (NGC 253, IC 342, and Maffei 2), and to connect the chemical and physical properties of the molecular clouds with the evolutionary stage of the nuclear starbursts.
Methods. We have carried out multi-transitional observations and analyses of three dense gas molecular tracers, CS, HC3N (cyanoacetylene), and CH3CCH (methyl acetylene), using Boltzmann diagrams in order to determine the rotational temperatures and column densities of the dense gas, and using a large velocity gradients model to calculate the H2 density structure in the molecular clouds.
Results. The CS and HC3N data indicate the presence of density gradients in the molecular clouds. These two molecules show similar excitation conditions, suggesting that they arise from the same gas components. In M 82, CH3CCH has the highest fractional abundance determined in an extragalactic source (1.1 × 10-8).
Conclusions. The density and the chemical gradients we found in all galaxies can be explained in the framework of the starburst evolution, which affects the chemistry and the structure of molecular clouds around the galactic nuclei. The young shock-dominated starburst galaxies, like presumably Maffei 2, show a cloud structure with a fairly uniform density and chemical composition that suggests low star formation activity. Molecular clouds in galaxies with starburst in an intermediate stage of evolution, such as NGC 253 and IC 342, show clouds with a high density contrast (two orders of magnitude) between the denser regions (cores) and the less dense regions (halos) of the molecular clouds and relatively constant chemical abundance. Finally, the galaxy with the most evolved starburst, M 82, has clouds with a fairly uniform density structure, large envelopes of atomic/molecular gas subjected to UV photodissociating radiation from young star clusters, and very different chemical abundances of HC3N and CH3CCH.
Key words: ISM: molecules / galaxies: starburst / galaxies: groups: individual: NGC 253 / galaxies: groups: individual: M 82 / galaxies: groups: individual: IC 342 / galaxies: groups: individual: Maffei 2
This work is based on observations with the IRAM 30-m telescope. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany) and IGN (Spain).
Appendix is only available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2010
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