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Paper: The Boston University-FCRAO Galactic Ring Survey
Volume: 317, Milky Way Surveys: The Structure and Evolution of Our Galaxy
Page: 49
Authors: Jackson, J.M.; Simon, R.; Shah, R.; Rathborne, J.; Heyer, M.H.; Clemens, D.P.; Bania, T.M.
Abstract: Using the new SEQUOIA multi-pixel array receiver on the FCRAO 14 m telescope, we are conducting a new molecular line survey of the inner Galaxy, the Boston University-Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory Galactic Ring Survey (GRS). The GRS will map 13CO J = 1 → 0 emission in the inner Galaxy from l = 15° to 52° and b = −1° to 1°. Compared with previous molecular line surveys of the inner Galaxy, the GRS offers excellent sensitivity (0.4 K), better spectral resolution (0.21 km s−1), the same or better angular resolution (46″), better sampling (22″) and the use of 13CO J = 1 → ), a better column density tracer than 12CO.

Theoretical modelling suggests that all molecular clouds contain significant column densities of cold atomic hydrogen. We have found that 21 cm H I self-absorption features toward GRS molecular clouds caused by this cold H I allow us to resolve the long-standing near/far kinematic distance ambiguity. Because we can measure the distances to clouds and their embedded infrared young stellar objects and star clusters, we can establish their masses, sizes, distributions, and luminosities.

We have also studied infrared dark clouds revealed by the Mid--Course Space Experiment (MSX) infrared survey. These clouds are easily detected in 13CO emission. We find that many are in fact cores of larger giant molecular clouds. Because we can establish their kinematic distances, we can deduce their masses, sizes, and distributions. Their masses (∼few thousand solar masses) and sizes (∼few pc) suggest that these are the initial condensations that will ultimately become OB clusters or associations. Their radial Galactic distribution peaks in the 5 kpc ring.

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