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Fitting Together the H I Absorption and Emission in the Southern Galactic Plane Survey

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 16:45 authored by John DickeyJohn Dickey, McClure-Griffiths, NM, Gaensler, BM, Green, AJ
In this paper we study 21 cm absorption spectra and the corresponding emission spectra toward bright continuum sources in the test region (326° < l < 333°) of the Southern Galactic Plane Survey. This survey combines the high resolution of the Australia Telescope Compact Array with the full brightness temperature information of the Parkes single-dish telescope. In particular, we focus on the abundance and temperature of the cool atomic clouds in the inner Galaxy. The resulting mean opacity of the H I, 〈k〉, is measured as a function of Galactic radius; it increases going in from the solar circle, to a peak in the molecular ring of about 4 times its local value. This suggests that the cool phase is more abundant there, and colder, than it is locally. The distribution of cool-phase temperatures is derived in three different ways. The naive, " spin temperature" technique overestimates the cloud temperatures, as expected. Using two alternative approaches, we get good agreement on a histogram of the cloud temperatures, Tcool, corrected for blending with warm-phase gas. The median temperature is about 65 K, but there is a long tail reaching down to temperatures below 20 K. Clouds with temperatures below 40 K are common though not as common as warmer clouds (40-100 K). Using these results, we discuss two related quantities, the peak brightness temperature seen in emission surveys and the incidence of clouds seen in H I self-absorption. Both phenomena match what would be expected based on our measurements of 〈k〉 and T cool.


Publication title

Astrophysical Journal








School of Natural Sciences


Univ Chicago Press

Place of publication

Chicago, USA

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences

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