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Published 1984 | public
Book Section - Chapter

Molecular Gas Distribution in Spiral Galaxies


One of the major factors influencing both the morphology and evolution of spiral galaxies is the abundance and distribution of dense interstellar matter. Young stars formed from the gas clouds are responsible for the appearance and perhaps even the maintenance of the spiral pattern. Since these stars also generate a disproportionate share of the galactic luminosity, the long term evolution of galaxies is directly related to the exhaustion of this matter (i.e., its absorption into low mass stars). The ability to probe all three gas components (molecular, atomic, and ionic) in addition to the luminosity from the young stars is a unique capability of the far infrared.

Additional Information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1984. This research is partially supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation AST 82-12252. This is contribution #543 of the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory. It is a pleasure to acknowledge Sally Rule for preparation of this manuscript.

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August 22, 2023
January 15, 2024