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Published July 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

Mapping the interstellar medium in galaxies with Herschel/SPIRE


The standard method of mapping the interstellar medium in a galaxy, by observing the molecular gas in the CO 1-0 line and the atomic gas in the 21-cm line, is largely limited with current telescopes to galaxies in the nearby universe. In this letter, we use SPIRE observations of the galaxies M99 and M100 to explore the alternative approach of mapping the interstellar medium using the continuum emission from the dust. We have compared the methods by measuring the relationship between the star-formation rate and the surface density of gas in the galaxies using both methods. We find the two methods give relationships with a similar dispersion, confirming that observing the continuum emission from the dust is a promising method of mapping the interstellar medium in galaxies.

Additional Information

© 2010 ESO. Received 29 March 2010, Accepted 19 April 2010, Published online 16 July 2010. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA. SPIRE has been developed by a consortium of institutes led by Cardiff Univ. (UK) and including Univ. Lethbridge (Canada); NAOC (China); CEA, LAM (France); IFSI, Univ. Padua (Italy); IAC (Spain); Stockholm Observatory (Sweden); Imperial College London, RAL, UCL-MSSL, UKATC, Univ. Sussex (UK); Caltech, JPL, NHSC, Univ. Colorado (USA). This development has been supported by national funding agencies: CSA (Canada); NAOC (China); CEA, CNES, CNRS (France); ASI (Italy); MCINN (Spain); Stockholm Observatory (Sweden); STFC (UK); and NASA (USA).

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