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Published September 1991 | public
Journal Article

Molecular Gas in Galaxies


Molecular gas is critical in determining both the morphology and evolution of galactic disks. It is within the giant molecular clouds that interstellar gas is cycled into the next generation of stars, and the most massive of these young stars produce a major part of the galactic luminosity. In addition, the dense interstellar medium, as it is highly dissipative, probably plays a fundamental part in determining the outcome of galactic interactions. Over the last two decades, CO observations have been used to probe the molecular component of hundreds of galaxies from the Local Group to the Virgo cluster, and in luminous galaxies with recession velocities up to cz = 45,000 km s^(-1).

Additional Information

© 1991 Annual Reviews. It is a pleasure to acknowledge the extensive work of Leona Kershaw in preparation of this manuscript. The authors wish to thank Drs. Nick Devereux and Dave Sanders for helpful discussions. This work is supported in part by NSF Grants AST 88-15406 (J. Y) and AST 87-14405 (N. S.). J. Y. also wishes to thank the JCMT and University of Hawaii for generous support during the completion of this manuscript.

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