Document Detail

Exploring the central molecular zone of the Galaxy using spectroscopy of H3+ and CO.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23028162     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
The central 400 parsecs of the Milky Way, a region known as the central molecular zone (CMZ), contains interstellar gas in a wide range of physical environments, from ultra-hot, rarified and highly ionized to warm, dense and molecular. The combination of infrared spectroscopy of H(3)(+) and CO is a powerful way to determine the basic properties of molecular interstellar gas, because the abundance ratio of H(3)(+) to CO in 'dense' clouds is quite different from that in 'diffuse' clouds. Moreover, the energy-level structure and the radiative properties of H(3)(+) combined with the unusually warm temperatures of molecular gas in the CMZ make H(3)(+) a unique probe of the physical conditions there. This paper describes how, using infrared absorption spectroscopy of H(3)(+) and CO, it has been discovered that a large fraction of the volume of the CMZ is filled with warm, diffuse and partially molecular gas moving at speeds of up to approximately 200 km s(-1) and that the mean cosmic ray ionization rate in the CMZ exceeds by roughly an order of magnitude values found in diffuse molecular clouds elsewhere in the Galaxy.
T R Geballe
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences     Volume:  370     ISSN:  1364-503X     ISO Abbreviation:  Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-02     Completed Date:  2012-11-13     Revised Date:  2013-04-24    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101133385     Medline TA:  Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  5151-61     Citation Subset:  -    
Gemini Observatory, 670 N. A'ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720, USA.
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