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Journal Articles The Astrophysical Journal Letters Year : 2018

Do Spectroscopic Dense Gas Fractions Track Molecular Cloud Surface Densities?

Molly J. Gallagher
  • Function : Author
Adam K. Leroy
  • Function : Author
Frank Bigiel
Diane Cormier
  • Function : Author
María J. Jiménez-Donaire
  • Function : Author
Jérôme Pety
Eva Schinnerer
Jiayi Sun
Antonio Usero
Dyas Utomo
Alberto Bolatto
Mélanie Chevance
Chris Faesi
  • Function : Author
Simon C. O. Glover
  • Function : Author
Amanda A. Kepley
  • Function : Author
J. M. Diederik Kruijssen
  • Function : Author
Mark R. Krumholz
  • Function : Author
Sharon E. Meidt
  • Function : Author
David S. Meier
  • Function : Author
Eric Murphy
Miguel Querejeta
Erik Rosolowsky
Toshiki Saito
Andreas Schruba
  • Function : Author


We use Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and Institute for Radio Astronomy in the Millimeter 30 m telescope data to investigate the relationship between the spectroscopically traced dense gas fraction and the cloud-scale (120 pc) molecular gas surface density in five nearby, star-forming galaxies. We estimate the dense gas mass fraction at 650 and 2800 pc scales using the ratio of HCN (1-0) to CO (1-0) emission. We then use high-resolution (120 pc) CO (2-1) maps to calculate the mass-weighted average molecular gas surface density within 650 or 2770 pc beam where the dense gas fraction is estimated. On average, the dense gas fraction correlates with the mass-weighted average molecular gas surface density. Thus, parts of a galaxy with higher mean cloud-scale gas surface density also appear to have a larger fraction of dense gas. The normalization and slope of the correlation do vary from galaxy to galaxy and with the size of the regions studied. This correlation is consistent with a scenario where the large-scale environment sets the gas volume density distribution, and this distribution manifests in both the cloud-scale surface density and the dense gas mass fraction.

Dates and versions

insu-03678156 , version 1 (25-05-2022)



Molly J. Gallagher, Adam K. Leroy, Frank Bigiel, Diane Cormier, María J. Jiménez-Donaire, et al.. Do Spectroscopic Dense Gas Fractions Track Molecular Cloud Surface Densities?. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2018, 868, ⟨10.3847/2041-8213/aaf16a⟩. ⟨insu-03678156⟩
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