Transition between atomic and molecular hydrogen in the Galaxy: vertical variation of the molecular fraction
K. Imamura and
Received 28 December 1995 / Accepted 22 June 1996
We derive radial and vertical distributions of H i and H2 gas densities in our Galaxy by using the terminal velocity method. We calculate the molecular fraction () defined as the ratio of the molecular hydrogen to total hydrogen gas density at galactic longitude and galactic latitude . The thickness of the molecular dominant region is approximately constant ( pc) at galactocentric distance 4.7-7.2 kpc. The molecular fraction decreases suddenly at a critical height from the galactic plane, below which the gas disk is almost totally molecular, while it is almost atomic beyond this height. We show that the vertical variation can be reproduced by a model which takes into account the phase transition between H i and H2 gases in the interstellar matter.
Key words: ISM: general; atoms; molecules galaxy: structure
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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997
Online publication: July 3, 1998