A Herschel [C ii] Galactic plane survey⋆
II. CO-dark H2 in clouds
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109-8099, USA
Received: 31 July 2013
Accepted: 20 November 2013
Context. H i and CO large scale surveys of the Milky Way trace the diffuse atomic clouds and the dense shielded regions of molecular hydrogen clouds, respectively. However, until recently, we have not had spectrally resolved C+ surveys in sufficient lines of sight to characterize the ionized and photon dominated components of the interstellar medium, in particular, the H2 gas without CO, referred to as CO-dark H2, in a large sample of interstellar clouds.
Aims. We use a sparse Galactic plane survey of the 1.9 THz (158 μm) [C ii] spectral line from the Herschel open time key programme, Galactic Observations of Terahertz C+ (GOT C+), to characterize the H2 gas without CO in a statistically significant sample of interstellar clouds.
Methods. We identify individual clouds in the inner Galaxy by fitting the [C ii] and CO isotopologue spectra along each line of sight. We then combine these spectra with those of H i and use them along with excitation models and cloud models of C+ to determine the column densities and fractional mass of CO-dark H2 clouds.
Results. We identify1804 narrow velocity [C ii] components corresponding to interstellar clouds in different categories and evolutionary states. About 840 are diffuse molecular clouds with no CO, ~510 are transition clouds containing [C ii] and 12CO, but no 13CO, and the remainder are dense molecular clouds containing 13CO emission. The CO-dark H2 clouds are concentrated between Galactic radii of ~3.5 to 7.5 kpc and the column density of the CO-dark H2 layer varies significantly from cloud to cloud with a global average of 9 × 1020 cm-2. These clouds contain a significant fraction by mass of CO-dark H2, that varies from ~75% for diffuse molecular clouds to ~20% for dense molecular clouds.
Conclusions. We find a significant fraction of the warm molecular ISM gas is invisible in H i and CO, but is detected in [C ii]. The fraction of CO-dark H2 is greatest in the diffuse clouds and decreases with increasing total column density, and is lowest in the massive clouds. The column densities and mass fraction of CO-dark H2 are less than predicted by models of diffuse molecular clouds using solar metallicity, which is not surprising as most of our detections are in Galactic regions where the metallicity is larger and shielding more effective. There is an overall trend towards a higher fraction of CO-dark H2 in clouds with increasing Galactic radius, consistent with lower metallicity there.
Key words: ISM: clouds / Galaxy: disk / evolution
© ESO, 2014