Letter | Published:

A galactic vacuum cleaner?

Naturevolume 266pages607608 (1977) | Download Citation



A REMARKABLE feature of the distributions of CO, H2, HI, HII and dust in the Galaxy is that their most dense regions form a broad ring-like structure surrounding the galactic centre, along with a dense nuclear disk located at the centre1–4. Between the ring and the nuclear disk there exists a region of very low density. The radius of the nuclear disk is approximately 600 pc, and the ring extends from an inner radius of 2–4 kpc out to a radius greater than 15 kpc for HI, but to only 8–10 kpc for the interstellar components expected to be generated by spiral shocks (namely CO, H2 and HII). We point out here that this structure is a possible consequence of a postulated stellar bar at the centre of the galaxy.

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  1. Department of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy, University College, Cardiff, UK

    • T. MATSUDA
    •  & A. H. NELSON


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