A 500 pc filamentary gas wisp in the disk of the Milky Way


Star formation occurs in molecular gas. In previous studies, the structure of the molecular gas has been studied in terms of molecular clouds, but has been overlooked beyond the cloud scale. We present an observational study of the molecular gas at 49.5 degree <l<52.5 degree and -5.0 km/s <v_lsr <17.4 km/s. The molecular gas is found in the form of a huge (>= 500 pc) filamentary gas wisp. This has a large physical extent and a velocity dispersion of ~5 km/s. The eastern part of the filamentary gas wisp is located ~130 pc above the Galactic disk (which corresponds to 1.5-4 e-folding scale-heights), and the total mass of the gas wisp is >= 1 X 10^5 M_sun. It is composed of two molecular clouds and an expanding bubble. The velocity structure of the gas wisp can be explained as a smooth quiescent component disturbed by the expansion of a bubble. That the length of the gas wisp exceeds by much the thickness of the molecular disk of the Milky Way is consistent with the cloud-formation scenario in which the gas is cold prior to the formation of molecular clouds. Star formation in the filamentary gas wisp occurs at the edge of a bubble (G52L nebula), which is consistent with some models of triggered star formation.

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Date added: Mon, 14 Oct 13