AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 49. Starburst Galaxies
Display, Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[49.01] Far Ultraviolet Absorption from Molecular Hydrogen in Starburst Galaxies

C. G. Hoopes (JHU), K. R. Sembach (STScI), T. M. Heckman (JHU)

Information on the conditions within starburst galaxies can be obtained by studying the molecular hydrogen content. The ability of H2 to survive can provide insight into the radiation field and gas pressure in the starburst environment. We have used the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) to search for H2 absorption in five starburst galaxies: M83, NGC4214, NGC1705, NGC5253, and NGC 3310. The spectral region covered by FUSE (900 to 1200 Å) contains numerous transitions of molecular hydrogen, which we use to detect or set sensitive upper limits on the amount of H2 present in the starburst region. In galaxies where H2 is detected, we investigate the rotational and vibrational level populations, as well as the kinematics of the gas, including the presence of H2 in starburst-powered outflows. We also discuss the molecular fraction in starbursts and the implications for future star formation in these galaxies.

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

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