NEWFIRM Discovery of Warm Molecular Hydrogen in the Wind of M82
30 November 2009
Using NEWFIRM on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak, Veilleux, Rupke and Swaters have reported the discovery of warm H2 gas in the prototypical galactic wind of M82. They report filaments extending above and below the disk, roughly coincident with the location of the galactic wind in this galaxy.
The warm H2 material is not found to be a dynamically important component of the outflow: however, a comparison between the H2 emission and the distribution of the CO emission reveals that most of the features seen in CO are detected in H2 but not the converse. Deep H2 2.12 μm observations such as these represent a promising new method to study the elusive but potentially important molecular component of galactic winds. In the accompanying figure the new data are compared with published H-α and PAH emission images (left) and H2-to-PAH emission ratio map in the brightest filaments.
The published results can be found in Veilleux, S., Rupke, D.N.S., & Swaters, R. 2009, ApJ, 700, L149