AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 117. Star Formation and the ISM at Galactic Scales
Oral, Wednesday, January 9, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, Jefferson West

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[117.03] A 12CO J=6-5 Map of M82: The significance of warm molecular gas

J. S. Ward, J. Zmuidzinas (Caltech), A. I. Harris, K. G. Isaak (University of Maryland)

We present a 12CO J=6-5 map of the nuclear regions of the starburst galaxy M82 at a resolution of 14" taken at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO). Hot spots were found on either side of the dynamic center. We compare our results with a high-resolution 12CO J=2-1 interferometer map, and present a 12CO J=6-5 / 12CO J=2-1 line ratio map obtained using a novel deconvolution technique. This line ratio is highest at the two J=6-5 integrated intensity peaks, reaching 0.4 and 0.5 in the NE and SW peaks, respectively, and is typically 0.2 elsewhere in the nuclear region. We also present measurements of 12CO J=4-3, 12CO J=3-2, and 13CO J=3-2, and an upper limit for 13CO J=6-5. We analyze these observations in the context of a two-component large velocity gradient (LVG) excitation model. Likelihood curves were calculated for each of the model parameters and a variety of related physical quantities for the NE and SW peaks based on the measured line intensities and their associated uncertainties. This approach reveals in an unbiased way how well various quantities can be constrained by the CO observations. We find that the beam-averaged 12CO and 13CO column densities, the isotopic abundance ratio, and the area filling factors are among the best constrained quantities, while the cool component H2 density and pressure are less well constrained. The results of this analysis suggest that the warm gas is less dense than the cool gas, and that over half of the total molecular gas mass in these nuclear regions is much warmer than 50 K.

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

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