The Relationship between the Dense Neutral and Diffuse Ionized Gas in the Thick Disks of Two Edge-on Spiral Galaxies
The Astronomical Journal, Volume 145, Issue 3, article id. 62, 18 pp. (2013).
Published in Mar 2013
We present high-resolution, optical images (BVI + Hα) of the multiphase interstellar medium (ISM) in the thick disks of the edge-on spiral galaxies NGC 4013 and NGC 4302. Our images from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Large Binocular Telescope, and WIYN 3.5 m telescope reveal an extensive population of filamentary dust absorption seen to z ~2-2.5 kpc. Many of these dusty thick disk structures have characteristics reminiscent of molecular clouds found in the Milky Way disk. Our Hα images show that the extraplanar diffuse ionized gas (DIG) in these galaxies is dominated by a smooth, diffuse component. The strongly filamentary morphologies of the dust absorption have no counterpart in the smoothly distributed Hα emission. We argue that the thick disk DIG and dust-bearing filaments trace physically distinct phases of the thick disk ISM, the latter tracing a dense, warm or cold neutral medium. The dense, dusty matter in the thick disks of spiral galaxies is largely tracing matter ejected from the thin disk via energetic feedback from massive stars. The high densities of the gas may be a result of converging gas flows. This dense material fuels some thick disk star formation, as evidenced by the presence of thick disk H II regions.Based on observations obtained with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope operated at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. Also, based on data acquired using the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). The LBT is an international collaboration among institutions in the US, Italy, and Germany. LBT Corporation partners are the University of Arizona, on behalf of the Arizona University System; Instituto Nazionale do Astrofisica, Italy; LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Germany, representing the Max Planck Society, the Astrophysical Institute of Potsdam, and Heidelberg University; Ohio State University, and the Research Corporation, on behalf of the University of Notre Dame, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Virginia. Also, based on observations obtained by the WIYN Observatory which is a joint facility of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Yale University, Indiana University, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories.
ISM: clouds; dust; extinction; galaxies: ISM; galaxies: individual: NGC 4013 NGC 4302; galaxies: spiral; galaxies: structure
Astrophysics - Galaxy Astrophysics