AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 53 Star Formation, Interstellar Medium
Oral, Thursday, May 29, 2003, 10:00-11:30am, 209/210

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[53.02] New 3-D maps of the dense interstellar gas surrounding the Local Bubble.

B.Y. Welsh (UC Berkeley), R. Lallement (CNRS/France), J.L. Vergely (ACRI-ST, France), F. Crifo (Observatoire de Paris, Meudon, France), D. Sfeir (Eureka Scientific)

We presentent the highest spatially sampled 3-D maps of the distribution of neutral interstellar gas within 350pc of the Sun, based on measurements of NaI absorption towards 1005 sight lines. Our maps clearly reveal that the 150pc diameter rarefied cavity called the Local Bubble is linked to surrounding interstellar cavities by narrow 'tunnels', as predicted 30 years ago by Cox and Smith (1974). The Local Bubble is also shown to be connected to the overlying galactic halo by two 'chimneys' whose directions are perpendicular to the Gould Belt plane. The new maps show the Local Bubble cavity being 'squeezed' in a complicated pattern which suggests that its pressure is lower than in the surrounding expanding regions.

Our maps also reveal that the dense gas 'wall' which surrounds the Local Bubble cavity contains many molecular molecular cloud complexes (the 'MBM' clouds'), of which only one, G192-67, is clearly located within the rarefied cavity at a distance of 110pc from the Sun. Our new maps will be very useful in the interpretation of UV emission-line data presently being recorded by the NASA FUSE and CHIPS space missions.

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

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.