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Research on Nearby Galaxies

The Nearby Galaxies group, led by Prof. Tony Wong, uses CARMA to study molecular gas in nearby galaxies. Line emission from molecular species such as CO (carbon monoxide) are a powerful probe of the gas content and kinematics of galactic disks, providing information about the processes which maintain and trigger star formation. CARMA’s wide field of view and large number of baselines make it the best available instrument for imaging the CO emission in nearby galaxies, which spans a wide range of spatial scales. Recent correlator upgrades will allow for simultaneous imaging of CO, 13CO, and dust continuum emission.

CO image

The CARMA Survey of Edge-on Spirals (CASES) is targeting highly inclined galaxies to study the vertical structure of molecular gas disks and the dependence of star formation rates on average gas volume densities. Above is a CO image (lower panel) and position-velocity map (upper panel) of the edge-on spiral NGC 4013. The p-v map shows that the bright nuclear peak is associated with a fast-rotating disk.

P-V map

The CARMA Survey Towards Infrared-bright Nearby Galaxies (CARMA STING), a collaboration with several other CARMA partners, has imaged 20 nearby galaxies spanning the blue sequence of star-forming galaxies at approximately 3” resolution with CARMA, allowing us to study molecular gas properties as a function of stellar mass. Illinois has been responsible for the pipeline processing of the CARMA data and is compiling a database of HI cubes for the project to study the factors controlling the formation of molecular clouds. A summary plot of CO emission overlaid on infrared 8 micron images from the Spitzer Space Telescope is shown above.

Group Members