Galactic center molecular clouds. II - Distribution and kinematics

  • Bally J
  • Stark A
  • Wilson R
 et al. 
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This is a study of the kinematics and distribution of molecular gas near the Galactic center, observed in a variety of millimeter-wave spectral lines. The molecular component is asymmetric with respect to the dynamical center of the Galaxy; about three-fourths of the 13CO and CS emission is produced at positive longitudes and a different three-fourths of the gas is at positive velocities with respect to vLSR = 0 km s-1. The velocity field of the gas is highly chaotic, with some clouds having large (>100 km s-1) departures from the velocity pattern expected from purely circular orbits; however, most of the gas (70%) lies in a thin sheet in the Galactic plane. The rotation curve of the gas varies from vrot ≈ 200 km s-1 at l = 5° to no less than vrot ≈ 120 km s-1 near l = 0°. Simple models of the mass distribution within the inner Galaxy are used to compare the observed scale height of the gas with the predicted scale height as a function of galactocentric radius.

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  • John Bally

  • Antony A. Stark

  • Robert W. Wilson

  • Christian Henkel

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