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  Ubiquitous velocity fluctuations throughout the molecular interstellar medium

Henshaw, J. D., Kruijssen, J. M. D., Longmore, S. N., Riener, M., Leroy, A. K., Rosolowsky, E., et al. (2020). Ubiquitous velocity fluctuations throughout the molecular interstellar medium. Nature Astronomy, 2020. doi:10.1038/s41550-020-1126-z.

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Henshaw, Jonathan D., Author
Kruijssen, J. M. Diederik, Author
Longmore, Steven N., Author
Riener, Manuel, Author
Leroy, Adam K., Author
Rosolowsky, Erik, Author
Ginsburg, Adam, Author
Battersby, Cara, Author
Chevance, Mélanie, Author
Meidt, Sharon E., Author
Glover, Simon C. O., Author
Hughes, Annie, Author
Kainulainen, Jouni, Author
Klessen, Ralf S., Author
Schinnerer, Eva, Author
Schruba, Andreas1, Author              
Beuther, Henrik, Author
Bigiel, Frank, Author
Blanc, Guillermo A., Author
Emsellem, Eric, Author
Henning, Thomas, AuthorHerrera, Cynthia N., AuthorKoch, Eric W., AuthorPety, Jérôme, AuthorRagan, Sarah E., AuthorSun, Jiayi, Author more..
Affiliations:
1Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society, ou_159889              

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 Abstract: The density structure of the interstellar medium determines where stars form and release energy, momentum and heavy elements, driving galaxy evolution. Density variations are seeded and amplified by gas motion, but the exact nature of this motion is unknown across spatial scales and galactic environments. Although dense star-forming gas probably emerges from a combination of instabilities, convergent flows and turbulence, establishing the precise origin is challenging because it requires gas motion to be quantified over many orders of magnitude in spatial scale. Here we measure the motion of molecular gas in the Milky Way and in nearby galaxy NGC 4321, assembling observations that span a spatial dynamic range 10−1–103 pc. We detect ubiquitous velocity fluctuations across all spatial scales and galactic environments. Statistical analysis of these fluctuations indicates how star-forming gas is assembled. We discover oscillatory gas flows with wavelengths ranging from 0.3–400 pc. These flows are coupled to regularly spaced density enhancements that probably form via gravitational instabilities. We also identify stochastic and scale-free velocity and density fluctuations, consistent with the structure generated in turbulent flows. Our results demonstrate that the structure of the interstellar medium cannot be considered in isolation. Instead, its formation and evolution are controlled by nested, interdependent flows of matter covering many orders of magnitude in spatial scale.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-06-06
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-1126-z
Other: LOCALID: 3252170
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Title: Nature Astronomy
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London : Springer Nature
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 2020 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: - Identifier: Other: 2397-3366
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2397-3366