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A comparative study of giant molecular clouds in M51, M33, and the Large Magellanic Cloud

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Abstract
We compare the properties of giant molecular clouds (GMCs) in M51 identified by the Plateau de Bure Interferometer Whirlpool Arcsecond Survey with GMCs identified in wide-field, high-resolution surveys of CO emission in M33 and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We find that GMCs in M51 are larger, brighter, and have higher velocity dispersions relative to their sizes than equivalent structures in M33 and the LMC. These differences imply that there are genuine variations in the average mass surface density <Sigma(H2)> of the different GMC populations. To explain this, we propose that the pressure in the interstellar medium surrounding the GMCs plays a role in regulating their density and velocity dispersion. We find no evidence for a correlation between size and linewidth in M51, M33, or the LMC when the CO emission is decomposed into GMCs, although moderately robust correlations are apparent when regions of contiguous CO emission (with no size limitation) are used. Our work demonstrates that observational bias remains an important obstacle to the identification and study of extragalactic GMC populations using CO emission, especially in molecule-rich galactic environments.
Keywords
CO-TO-H-2 CONVERSION FACTOR, DWARF SEYFERT NUCLEI, ON SPIRAL GALAXIES, ALL-DISK SURVEY, STAR-FORMATION, NEARBY GALAXIES, VELOCITY DISPERSION, INTERSTELLAR-MEDIUM, H-I, LOCAL GROUP, galaxies: individual (M51, M33, Large Magellanic Cloud), galaxies: ISM, ISM: clouds, ISM: molecules, ISM: structure

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MLA
Hughes, Annie, et al. “A Comparative Study of Giant Molecular Clouds in M51, M33, and the Large Magellanic Cloud.” ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, vol. 779, no. 1, 2013.
APA
Hughes, A., van der Wel, S. M., Colombo, D., Schinnerer, E., Pety, J., Leroy, A. K., … Kramer, C. (2013). A comparative study of giant molecular clouds in M51, M33, and the Large Magellanic Cloud. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 779(1).
Chicago author-date
Hughes, Annie, Sharon Meidt van der Wel, Dario Colombo, Eva Schinnerer, Jerome Pety, Adam K Leroy, Clare L Dobbs, et al. 2013. “A Comparative Study of Giant Molecular Clouds in M51, M33, and the Large Magellanic Cloud.” ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 779 (1).
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Hughes, Annie, Sharon Meidt van der Wel, Dario Colombo, Eva Schinnerer, Jerome Pety, Adam K Leroy, Clare L Dobbs, Santiago Garcia-Burillo, Todd A Thompson, Gaelle Dumas, Karl F Schuster, and Carsten Kramer. 2013. “A Comparative Study of Giant Molecular Clouds in M51, M33, and the Large Magellanic Cloud.” ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 779 (1).
Vancouver
1.
Hughes A, van der Wel SM, Colombo D, Schinnerer E, Pety J, Leroy AK, et al. A comparative study of giant molecular clouds in M51, M33, and the Large Magellanic Cloud. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL. 2013;779(1).
IEEE
[1]
A. Hughes et al., “A comparative study of giant molecular clouds in M51, M33, and the Large Magellanic Cloud,” ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, vol. 779, no. 1, 2013.
@article{8622315,
  abstract     = {We compare the properties of giant molecular clouds (GMCs) in M51 identified by the Plateau de Bure Interferometer Whirlpool Arcsecond Survey with GMCs identified in wide-field, high-resolution surveys of CO emission in M33 and the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We find that GMCs in M51 are larger, brighter, and have higher velocity dispersions relative to their sizes than equivalent structures in M33 and the LMC. These differences imply that there are genuine variations in the average mass surface density <Sigma(H2)> of the different GMC populations. To explain this, we propose that the pressure in the interstellar medium surrounding the GMCs plays a role in regulating their density and velocity dispersion. We find no evidence for a correlation between size and linewidth in M51, M33, or the LMC when the CO emission is decomposed into GMCs, although moderately robust correlations are apparent when regions of contiguous CO emission (with no size limitation) are used. Our work demonstrates that observational bias remains an important obstacle to the identification and study of extragalactic GMC populations using CO emission, especially in molecule-rich galactic environments.},
  articleno    = {46},
  author       = {Hughes, Annie and van der Wel, Sharon Meidt and Colombo, Dario and Schinnerer, Eva and Pety, Jerome and Leroy, Adam K and Dobbs, Clare L and Garcia-Burillo, Santiago and Thompson, Todd A and Dumas, Gaelle and Schuster, Karl F and Kramer, Carsten},
  issn         = {0004-637X},
  journal      = {ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL},
  keywords     = {CO-TO-H-2 CONVERSION FACTOR,DWARF SEYFERT NUCLEI,ON SPIRAL GALAXIES,ALL-DISK SURVEY,STAR-FORMATION,NEARBY GALAXIES,VELOCITY DISPERSION,INTERSTELLAR-MEDIUM,H-I,LOCAL GROUP,galaxies: individual (M51,M33,Large Magellanic Cloud),galaxies: ISM,ISM: clouds,ISM: molecules,ISM: structure},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {20},
  title        = {A comparative study of giant molecular clouds in M51, M33, and the Large Magellanic Cloud},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/779/1/46},
  volume       = {779},
  year         = {2013},
}

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