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Published June 10, 2017 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Origin of [C II] 157 μm Emission in a Five-component Interstellar Medium: The Case of NGC 3184 and NGC 628


With its relatively low ionization potential, C+ can be found throughout the interstellar medium (ISM) and provides one of the main cooling channels of the ISM via the [C II] 157 μm emission. While the strength of the [C II] line correlates with the star formation rate, the contributions of the various gas phases to the [C II] emission on galactic scales are not well established. In this study we establish an empirical multi-component model of the ISM, including dense H II regions, dense photon dissociation regions (PDRs), the warm ionized medium (WIM), low density and G_0 surfaces of molecular clouds (SfMCs), and the cold neutral medium (CNM). We test our model on ten luminous regions within the two nearby galaxies NGC 3184 and NGC 628 on angular scales of 500–600 pc. Both galaxies are part of the Herschel key program KINGFISH, and are complemented by a large set of ancillary ground- and space-based data. The five modeled phases together reproduce the observed [C II] emission quite well, overpredicting the total flux slightly (about 45%) averaged over all regions. We find that dense PDRs are the dominating component, contributing 68% of the [C II] flux on average, followed by the WIM and the SfMCs, with mean contributions of about half of the contribution from dense PDRs, each. CNM and dense H II regions are only minor contributors with less than 5% each. These estimates are averaged over the selected regions, but the relative contributions of the various phases to the [C II] flux vary significantly between these regions.

Additional Information

© 2017 The American Astronomical Society. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2016 July 8; revised 2017 April 3; accepted 2017 April 24; published 2017 June 6. We thank Fabian Rosales-Ortega, who provided unpublished PINGS data on NGC 3184 and helpful explanations on the reduction steps performed on NGC 3184. B.G. gratefully acknowledges the support of the Australian Research Council as the recipient of a Future Fellowship (FT140101202). PACS has been developed by a consortium of institutes led by MPE (Germany) and including UVIE (Austria); KU Leuven, CSL, IMEC (Belgium); CEA, LAM (France); MPIA (Germany); INAF-IFSI/OAA/OAP/OAT, LENS, SISSA (Italy); IAC (Spain). This development has been supported by the funding agencies BMVIT (Austria), ESA-PRODEX (Belgium), CEA/CNES (France), DLR (Germany), ASI/INAF (Italy), and CICYT/MCYT (Spain).

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