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Synthetic observations of molecular clouds in a galactic centre environment - I. Studying maps of column density and integrated intensity

Bertram, Erik, Glover, Simon, Clark, Paul ORCID:, Ragan, Sarah ORCID: and Klessen, Ralf 2016. Synthetic observations of molecular clouds in a galactic centre environment - I. Studying maps of column density and integrated intensity. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 455 (4) , pp. 3763-3778. 10.1093/mnras/stv2619

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We run numerical simulations of molecular clouds, adopting properties similar to those found in the central molecular zone (CMZ) of the Milky Way. For this, we employ the moving mesh code AREPO and perform simulations which account for a simplified treatment of time-dependent chemistry and the non-isothermal nature of gas and dust. We perform simulations using an initial density of n0 = 103 cm-3 and a mass of 1.3 × 105 M⊙. Furthermore, we vary the virial parameter, defined as the ratio of kinetic and potential energy, α = Ekin/|Epot|, by adjusting the velocity dispersion. We set it to α = 0.5, 2.0 and 8.0, in order to analyse the impact of the kinetic energy on our results. We account for the extreme conditions in the CMZ and increase both the interstellar radiation field (ISRF) and the cosmic ray flux (CRF) by a factor of 1000 compared to the values found in the solar neighbourhood. We use the radiative transfer code RADMC-3D to compute synthetic images in various diagnostic lines. These are [C II] at 158 μm, [O I] (145 μm), [O I] (63 μm), 12CO (J = 1 → 0) and 13CO (J = 1 → 0) at 2600 and 2720 μm, respectively. When α is large, the turbulence disperses much of the gas in the cloud, reducing its mean density and allowing the ISRF to penetrate more deeply into the cloud's interior. This significantly alters the chemical composition of the cloud, leading to the dissociation of a significant amount of the molecular gas. On the other hand, when α is small, the cloud remains compact, allowing more of the molecular gas to survive. We show that in each case the atomic tracers accurately reflect most of the physical properties of both the H2 and the total gas of the cloud and that they provide a useful alternative to molecular lines when studying the interstellar medium in the CMZ.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0035-8711
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 November 2017
Date of Acceptance: 4 November 2015
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 02:33

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