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OH absorption in the first quadrant of the Milky Way as seen by THOR

Rugel, M.R., Beuther, H., Bihr, S., Wang, Y., Ott, J., Brunthaler, A., Walsh, A., Glover, S.C.O., Goldsmith, P.F., Anderson, L.D., and others. (2018) OH absorption in the first quadrant of the Milky Way as seen by THOR. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 618 . Article Number 159. ISSN 0004-6361. (doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201731872) (KAR id:66293)


Context: The hydroxyl radical (OH) is present in the diffuse molecular and partially atomic phases of the interstellar medium (ISM), but its abundance relative to hydrogen is not clear.

Aims: We aim to evaluate the abundance of OH with respect to molecular hydrogen using OH absorption against cm-continuum sources over the first Galactic quadrant.

Methods: This OH study is part of the Hi/OH/Recombination line survey of the inner Milky Way (THOR). THOR is a Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) large program of atomic, molecular and ionized gas in the range 15? ? l ? 67? and |b| ? 1?. It is the highest-resolution unbiased OH absorption survey to date towards this region. We combine the optical depths derived from these observations with literature 13CO(1-0) and Hi observations to determine the OH abundance. Results. We detect absorption in the 1665 and 1667MHz transitions, that is, the “main” hyperfine structure lines, for continuum sources stronger than Fcont ? 0.1 Jy beam?1. OH absorption is found against approximately 15% of these continuum sources with increasing fractions for stronger sources. Most of the absorption occurs in molecular clouds that are associated with Galactic Hii regions. We find OH and 13CO gas to have similar kinematic properties. The data indicate that the OH abundance decreases with increasing hydrogen column density. The derived OH abundance with respect to the total hydrogen nuclei column density (atomic and molecular phase) is in agreement with a constant abundance for AV < 10 ? 20. Towards the lowest column densities, we find sources that exhibit OH absorption but no 13CO emission, indicating that OH is a well suited tracer of the low column density molecular gas. We also present spatially resolved OH absorption towards the prominent extended Hii-region W43.

Conclusions: The unbiased nature of the THOR survey opens a new window onto the gas properties of the interstellar medium. The characterization of the OH abundance over a large range of hydrogen gas column densities contributes to the understanding of OH as a molecular gas tracer and provides a starting point for future investigations.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1051/0004-6361/201731872
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB460 Astrophysics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Depositing User: James Urquhart
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2018 10:42 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:18 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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