Volume 627, July 2019
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Published online||26 June 2019|
A population of high-velocity absorption-line systems residing in the Local Group
Institut für Physik und Astronomie, Universität Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24/25, 14476 Golm, Germany
Accepted: 22 April 2019
Aims. We investigated the ionisation conditions and distances of Galactic high-velocity clouds (HVCs) in the Galactic halo and beyond in the direction of the Local Group (LG) barycentre and anti-barycentre, by studying spectral data of 29 extragalactic background sources obtained with the Cosmic Origins Spectropgraph (COS) installed on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).
Methods. We model column-densities of low, intermediate, and high ions such as Si II, C II, Si III, Si VI, and C IV, and use these data to construct a set of Cloudy ionisation models.
Results. In total, we found 69 high-velocity absorption components along the 29 lines of sight. The components in the direction of the LG barycentre span the entire range of studied velocities, 100 ≲ |vLSR| ≲ 400 km s−1, while those in the anti-barycentre sample have velocities up to about 300 km s−1. For 49 components, we infer the gas densities. In the direction of the LG barycentre, the gas densities exhibit a wide range from log nH = −3.96 to −2.55, while in the anti-barycentre direction the densities are systematically higher, log nH > −3.25. The barycentre absorbers can be split into two groups based on their density: a high-density group with log nH > −3.54, which can be affected by the Milky Way radiation field, and a low-density group (log nH ≤ −3.54). The latter has very low thermal pressures of P/k < 7.3 K cm−3.
Conclusions. Our study shows that part of the absorbers in the LG barycentre direction trace gas at very low gas densities and thermal pressures. These properties indicate that the absorbers are located beyond the virial radius of the Milky Way. Our study also confirms results from earlier, single-sightline studies, suggesting the presence of a metal-enriched intragroup medium filling the LG near its barycentre.
Key words: Galaxy: halo / Galaxy: structure / Galaxy: evolution / ISM: kinematics and dynamics / techniques: spectroscopic / ultraviolet: ISM
© ESO 2019
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