CH 3 GHz Observations of Molecular Clouds along the Galactic Plane

Loris Magnani, Samantha Lugo, T. M. Dame
2005 Astronomical Journal  
Spectra in the CH $^2\Pi_{1/2}$, J=1/2, F=1-1 transition at 3335 MHz were obtained in three 5-point crosses centered on the Galactic plane at $\ell =$ 50$\arcdeg$, 100$\arcdeg$, and 110$\arcdeg$. The lines of sight traverse both Giant Molecular Clouds (GMCs) and local, smaller entities. This transition is a good tracer of low-density molecular gas and the line profiles are very similar to CO(1-0) data at nearly the same resolution. In addition, the CH 3335 MHz line can be used to calibrate the
more » ... d to calibrate the CO-H$_2$ conversion factor (X$_{\rm CO}$) in low-density molecular gas. Although this technique underestimates X$_{\rm CO}$ in GMCs, our results are within a factor of two of X$_{\rm CO}$ values calibrated for GMCs by other techniques. The similarity of CH and CO line profiles, and that of X$_{\rm CO}$ values derived from CH and more traditional techniques, implies that most of the molecular gas along the observed lines of sight is at relatively low densities ($n \le$ 10$^3$ cm$^{-3}$).
doi:10.1086/497538 fatcat:pnzypqpr3vdclhrqveuhredqgq