AAS 197, January 2001
Session 38. Gas in External Galaxies
Display, Tuesday, January 9, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[38.11] The Small-Scale Structure of High-Velocity Na I Absorption Toward M81

K.C. Roth (Gemini Observatory), D.M. Meyer, J.T. Lauroesch (Northwestern University)

We present high-resolution (R=20,000) integral field spectra of the Na I absorption toward the nucleus of the nearby spiral galaxy M81 (NGC 3031) obtained in April 2000 with the WIYN 3.5-m telescope and the DensePak fiber optic bundle. Our DensePak map covers the central 27 x 43 arcsec of M81 at a spatial resolution of 4 arcsec which corresponds to a projected length scale of 63 pc at the distance of the galaxy (3.25 Mpc). These data were intended to explore the spatial extent of high-velocity (v = 110-130 km/s) gas seen in Na I, Mg I and Mg II absorption toward SN 1993J by Bowen et al.\ (1994), which they proposed is due to tidal material associated with interactions between M81 and nearby M82 (Yun, Ho & Lo 1993). No H I gas at these velocities has been detected in 21 cm interferometry maps near the position of SN 1993J (2.6 arcmin SW of the M81 nucleus).

Our Na I map of the M81 core shows no evidence of the strong absorption seen at v = 110-130 km/s toward SN 1993J. However, our map does reveal a strong Na I component at v = 220 km/s in several fibers that appears to trace a filamentary structure running from the SW to the NE across the M81 nuclear region. The origin and distance of this filament are unknown. No H I gas at v = 220 km/s has previously been detected in 21 cm studies of the core. At the location of SN 1993J, Bowen et al.\ measured weak Mg II absorption at this velocity but found no evidence of corresponding Na I absorption. The only known H I gas that corresponds to this velocity in the M81 group are the H I streamers found around M82 by Yun, Ho, & Lo that they interpreted as tidally disrupted M82 disk material.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: kroth@gemini.edu

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