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Corrections to virial estimates of molecular cloud masses
MacLaren, I.; Richardson, K. M.; Wolfendale, A. W.
AA(Durham, University, England), AB(Durham, University, England), AC(Durham, University, England)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 333, Oct. 15, 1988, p. 821-825. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Gamma Rays, Mass Distribution, Molecular Clouds, Virial Theorem, Abundance, Carbon Monoxide, Density Distribution, Hydrogen, Milky Way Galaxy, Spectral Line Width
Bibliographic Code:


The authors have examined the applicability of the virial theorem to 12CO data on Giant Molecular Clouds in the inner Galaxy from the Massachusetts-Stoney Brook survey. It is argued that it is necessary to transform the results to equivalent velocity widths for the optically thin line of 13CO rather than that of 12CO. When this is done, and when allowance is made for helium, there is good agreement between the GMC masses derived in this way and earlier conclusions from cosmic gamma-rays and other techniques. The results show that the total mass of H2 in the inner Galaxy is significantly less than that of atomic hydrogen: specifically H2/H I is ≡60%.

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