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DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stae227

Sub-kpc scale gas density histogram of the Galactic molecular gas: a new statistical method to characterise galactic-scale gas structures

Ren MatsusakaToshihiro HandaYusuke Fujimoto ...+5 Tomoki Mizoguchi
Feb 2024
To understand physical properties of the interstellar medium (ISM) on various scales, we investigate it at parsec resolution on the kiloparsec scale. Here, we report on the sub-kpc scale Gas Density Histogram (GDH) of the Milky Way. The GDH is a density probability distribution function (PDF) of the gas volume density. Using this method, we are free from an identification of individual molecular clouds and their spatial structures. We use survey data of $^{12}$CO and $^{13}$CO ($J$=1-0) emission in the Galactic plane ($l = 10^{\circ}$-$50^{\circ}$) obtained as a part of the FOREST Unbiased Galactic plane Imaging survey with the Nobeyama 45m telescope (FUGIN). We make a GDH for every channel map of $2^{\circ} \times 2^{\circ}$ area, including the blank sky component, and without setting cloud boundaries. This is a different approach from previous works for molecular clouds. The GDH fits well to a single or double log-normal distribution, which we name the low-density log-normal (L-LN) and high-density log-normal (H-LN) components, respectively. The multi-log-normal components suggest that the L-LN and H-LN components originate from two different stages of structure formation in the ISM. Moreover, we find that both the volume ratios of H-LN components to total ($f_{\mathrm{H}}$) and the width of the L-LN along the gas density axis ($\sigma_{\rm{L}}$) show coherent structure in the Galactic-plane longitude-velocity diagram. It is possible that these GDH parameters are related to strong galactic shocks and other weak shocks in the Milky Way.
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