Journal Article

Carbon recombination lines towards the Riegel–Crutcher cloud and other cold H <span class="smallCaps">i</span> regions in the inner Galaxy

D. Anish Roshi and N. G. Kantharia

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 414, issue 1, pages 519-528
Published in print June 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Carbon recombination lines towards the Riegel–Crutcher cloud and other cold H i regions in the inner Galaxy

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In the first paper of the series, Roshi, Kantharia & Anantharamaiah published the Galactic plane survey of carbon recombination lines (CRRLs) at 327 MHz. CRRLs were extensively detected from the inner Galaxy (longitudes <20°). We report here, for the first time, the association of low-frequency CRRLs with H i self-absorbing clouds in the inner Galaxy and that the CRRLs from the innermost ∼10° of the Galaxy arise in the Riegel–Crutcher (R–C) cloud. The R–C cloud is amongst the most well known of H i self-absorbing (HISA) regions located at a distance of about 125 pc in the Galactic Centre direction. Taking the R–C cloud as an example, we demonstrate that the physical properties of the HISA can be constrained by combining multifrequency CRRLs and H i observations. The derived physical properties of the HISA cloud are used to determine the cooling and heating rates. The dominant cooling process is emission of the C ii 158 μm line whereas the dominant heating process in the cloud interior is photoelectric emission. Constraints on the far-ultraviolet flux (G0 ∼ 4–7) falling on the R–C cloud are obtained by assuming thermal balance between the dominant heating and cooling processes. The H2 formation rate per unit volume in the cloud interior is ∼10−10–10−12 s−1 cm−3, which far exceeds the H2 dissociation rate per unit volume. We conclude that the self-absorbing cold H i gas in the R–C cloud may be in the process of converting to the molecular form. The cold H i gas observed as HISA features is ubiquitous in the inner Galaxy and forms an important part of the interstellar medium. Our analysis shows that combining CRRLs and H i data can give important insights into the nature of this cold gas. We also estimate the integration times required to image the CRRL-forming region with the upcoming Square Kilometre Array Pathfinders. Imaging with the Murchison Widefield Array telescope is feasible with reasonable observing times.

Keywords: ISM: atoms; ISM: general; ISM: molecules; photodissociaiton region (PDR); Galaxy: general; radio lines: ISM

Journal Article.  8689 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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