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CO aperture synthesis of NGC 4038/39 (ARP 244)
Stanford, S. A.; Sargent, A. I.; Sanders, D. B.; Scoville, N. Z.
AA(Wisconsin, University, Madison), AB(California Institute of Technology, Pasadena), AC(California Institute of Technology, Pasadena), AD(California Institute of Technology, Pasadena)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 349, Feb. 1, 1990, p. 492-496. Research supported by NASA IRAS Extended Mission Program. (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Carbon Monoxide, Emission Spectra, Interacting Galaxies, Star Formation, Astronomical Maps, Interstellar Matter, Synthetic Apertures
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High-resolution CO observations of the merging galaxies NGC 4038/39 (the 'Antennae') have been made with the Owens Valley Millimeter Wave Interferometer. Three concentrations of CO emission were detected. In addition to masses of a few x 100 million solar masses at each nucleus, approximately 1.2 x 10 to the 9th solar masses of molecular gas was discovered in a 32 arcsec x 22 arcsec region where the two galaxies overlap. Within this region are four distinct clumps. These coincide with H-alpha, 10 microns, and radio continuum peaks, suggesting that they are extremely active sites of star formation. The galaxy interaction appears to have concentrated gas at the nuclei of NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 and to have engendered enhanced star formation activity in the region where their disks overlap. From estimates of the SFR in this overlap region, it is suggested that the gas will be completely depleted in 240 million yr.

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