by Antonette Romero last modified Apr 25, 2012

NRAO/Socorro Colloquium Series

Eva Schinnerer


A Cloud-Scale View on Molecular Gas and Star Formation in a Grand-Design Spiral Galaxy

The formation of molecular clouds and the subsequent onset of star formation has been an important area of research for decades. While distance ambiguity prevents such studies in our Milky Way, the importance of large-scale galactic structure for these formation processes could not be easily assessed in nearby galaxies due to sensitivity and resolution limitations of previous instruments. Nearby galaxies would provide ideal laboratories to study the influence of large-scale physics for the molecular gas-star formation cycle. With this in mind we have embarked on a study of the molecular cloud and star formation in the central 9 kpc disk of the nearby grand-design spiral galaxy M51a using the up-graded IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer. Our survey (PAWS – PdBI Arcsecond Whirlpool Survey) mapped the molecular gas in its CO(1−0) line emission at ~40 pc resolution down to a mass limit of about 200,000 solar masses - comparable to the size of an average Giant Molecular Cloud (GMC) in the Milky Way. Using this unique dataset in conjunction with existing data at similar angular resolution across the electro-magnetic spectrum new insights into the relation between galactic structures and the formation of GMCs and stars can be gained. I will present new results on the GMC population (in comparison to other nearby galaxies), its relation to star formation and the importance of the galactic structure for both molecular cloud and star formation.

May 25, 2012
11:00 am

Array Operations Center Auditorium

All NRAO employees are invited to attend via video, available in Charlottesville Room 230, Green Bank Room 137 and Tucson N525.

Local Host: Juergen Ott