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Published 1979 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

CO observations of spiral structure and the lifetime of giant molecular clouds


Observations of CO emission at ℓ=0 to 70°, |b| ≤ 1° are analyzed to give a map of the molecular cloud distribution in the galaxy as viewed from the galactic pole. From the fact that this distribution shows no obvious spiral pattern we conclude that the giant molecular clouds sampled in the CO line are situated in both arm and interarm regions and they must last more than 10^8 years. A similar age estimate is deduced from the large mass fraction of H_2 in the interstellar medium in the interior of the galaxy. An implication of this longevity is that the great masses of these clouds may be accumulated through cloud-cloud collisions of originally smaller clouds.

Additional Information

© 1979 by the IAU. This is contribution number 279 of the Five College Observatories. This research is supported by National Science Foundation grant AST76-24610.

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Published - co_observations_of_spiral_structure_and_the_lifetime_of_giant_molecular_clouds.pdf



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August 19, 2023
January 14, 2024