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The Polaris Flare - Extensive molecular gas near the north celestial pole
Heithausen, Andreas; Thaddeus, Patrick
AA(Bonn, Universität, Germany; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA), AB(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 353, April 20, 1990, p. L49-L52. (ApJL Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Interstellar Matter, Molecular Clouds, Molecular Gases, Star Formation, Carbon Monoxide, Infrared Astronomy Satellite, Milky Way Galaxy
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CO observations with the CfA 1.2 m telescope reveal an extensive molecular cloud at high Galactiic latitude in the direction of the north celestial pole. The object, the Polaris Flare, covers 80 percent of the 50 sq deg surveyed, making it larger in apparent size by an order of magnitude than previously known cirrus clouds. The Polaris Flare is at a distance of about 240 pc and has a total mass of about 5500 solar masses. Its distance, 100 micron intensity, N(H2)/W(CO) ratio, and gravitational stability are similar to those of other high-latitude clouds. IRAS 100 micron emission over more than 40 percent of the sky is comparable to that toward the Flare, suggesting that very sensitive CO surveys at high latitudes can detect molecular gas in a much larger fraction of the sky than previously suspected.

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