Molecular and atomic gas in the Local Group galaxy M 33
Journal article, 2010

We present high-resolution large-scale observations of the molecular and atomic gas in the Local Group galaxy M 33. The observations were carried out using the HEterodyne Receiver Array (HERA) at the 30 m IRAM telescope in the CO(2-1) line, achieving a resolution of 12 '' x 2.6 km s(-1), enabling individual giant molecular clouds (GMCs) to be resolved. The observed region is 650 square arcminutes mainly along the major axis and out to a radius of 8.5 kpc, and covers entirely the 2' x 40' radial strip observed with the HIFI and PACS Spectrometers as part of the HERM33ES Herschel key program. The achieved sensitivity in main-beam temperature is 20-50 mK at 2.6 km s(-1) velocity resolution. The CO(2-1) luminosity of the observed region is 1.7 +/- 0.1 x 10(7) K km s(-1) pc(2) and is estimated to be 2.8 +/- 0.3 x 10(7) K km s(-1) pc(2) for the entire galaxy, corresponding to H-2 masses of 1.9 x 10(8) M-circle dot and 3.3 x 10(8) M-circle dot respectively (including He), calculated with N(H-2)/ICO(1-0) twice the Galactic value due to the half-solar metallicity of M 33. The HI 21 cm VLA archive observations were reduced, and the mosaic was imaged and cleaned using the multi-scale task in the CASA software package, yielding a series of datacubes with resolutions ranging from 5 '' to 25 ''. The HI mass within a radius of 8.5 kpc is estimated to be 1.4 x 10(9) M-circle dot. The azimuthally averaged CO surface brightness decreases exponentially with a scale length of 1.9 +/- 0.1 kpc whereas the atomic gas surface density is constant at Sigma(HI) = 6 +/- 2 M-circle dot pc(-2) deprojected to face-on. For an N(H-2)/ICO(1-0) conversion factor twice that of the Milky Way, the central kiloparsec H-2 surface density is Sigma(H2) = 8.5 +/- 0.2 M-circle dot pc(-2). The star formation rate per unit molecular gas (SF efficiency, the rate of transformation of molecular gas into stars), as traced by the ratio of CO to H-alpha and FIR brightness, is constant with radius. The SFE, with a N(H-2)/ICO(1-0) factor twice galactic, appears 2-4 times greater than for large spiral galaxies. A morphological comparison of molecular and atomic gas with tracers of star formation is presented showing good agreement between these maps both in terms of peaks and holes. A few exceptions are noted. Several spectra, including those of a molecular cloud situated more than 8 kpc from the galaxy center, are presented.

spiral galaxies

Local Group

ISM: clouds





stellar population

formation history

stars: formation


galaxies: evolution

galaxies: individual: M 33

co emission

star-formation efficiency

radio-continuum survey



P. Gratier

Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux

J. Braine

Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux

N. J. Rodriguez-Fernandez

Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM)

K. Schuster

Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM)

C. Kramer

Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM)

E. M. Xilouris

National Observatory of Athens

F. Tabatabaei

Max Planck Society

C. Henkel

Max Planck Society

E. Corbelli

Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory

F. P. Israel

Leiden University

P.P. van der Werf

Leiden University

D. Calzetti

University of Massachusetts

S. G. Burillo

Spanish National Observatory (OAN)

A. Sievers

Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM)

F. Combes

Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)

Tommy Wiklind

Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

N. Brouillet

Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux

F. Herpin

Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux

S. Bontemps

Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux

Susanne Aalto

Chalmers, Department of Radio and Space Science, Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics

B. Koribalski

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

F. F. S. van der Tak

Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON)

M. C. Wiedner

Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)

M. Rollig

University of Cologne

B. Mookerjea

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Astronomy and Astrophysics

0004-6361 (ISSN) 1432-0746 (eISSN)

Vol. 522 1 A3

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology



More information

Latest update

7/6/2021 3