Dense gas tracing the collisional past of Andromeda⋆
An atypical inner region?
1 LERMA, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 6, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, 75000 Paris, France
2 Observatoire de Paris, LERMA, Collège de France, PSL, CNRS, Sorbonne Univ., UPMC, 75000 Paris, France
Received: 3 April 2015
Accepted: 12 October 2015
The central kiloparsec region of the Andromeda galaxy is relatively gas poor, while the interstellar medium appears to be concentrated in a ring-like structure at about 10 kpc radius. The central gas depletion has been attributed to a possible head-on collision 200 Myr ago, supported by the existence of an offset inner ring of warm dust. We present new IRAM 30 m radio telescope observations of the molecular gas in the central region, and the detection of CO and its isotopes 13CO(2−1) and C18O(2−1), together with the dense gas tracers, HCN(1−0) and HCO+(1−0). A systematic study of the observed peak temperatures with non-local thermal equilibrium simulations shows that the detected lines trace dense regions with nH2 in the range 2.5 × 104−5.6 × 105 cm-3, while the gas is very clumpy with a beam filling factor of 0.5−2 × 10-2. This is compatible with the dust mass derived from the far-infrared emission, assuming a dust-to-gas mass ratio of 0.01 with a typical clump size of 2 pc. We also show that the gas is optically thin in all lines except for 12CO(1–0) and 12CO(2–1), CO lines are close to their thermal equilibrium condition at 17–20 K, the molecular hydrogen density is larger than critical, and HCN and HCO+ lines have a subthermal excitation temperature of 9 K with a density smaller than critical. The average 12CO/13CO line ratio is high (~21), and close to the 12CO/C18O ratio (~30) that was measured in the north-western region and estimated in the south-east stacking. The fact that the optically thin 13CO and C18O lines have comparable intensities means that the secondary element 13C is depleted with respect to the primary 12C, as is expected just after a recent star formation. This suggests that there has been a recent starburst in the central region, supporting the head-on collision scenario.
Key words: galaxies: abundances / galaxies: individual: M31 / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / submillimeter: ISM / molecular data
© ESO, 2015