The standard method of mapping the interstellar medium in a galaxy, by observing the molecular gas in the CO 1-0 line and the atomic gas in the 21-cm line, is largely limited with current telescopes to galaxies in the nearby universe. In this letter, we use SPIRE observations of the galaxies M 99 and M 100 to explore the alternative approach of mapping the interstellar medium using the continuum emission from the dust. We have compared the methods by measuring the relationship between the star-formation rate and the surface density of gas in the galaxies using both methods. We find the two methods give relationships with a similar dispersion, confirming that observing the continuum emission from the dust is a promising method of mapping the interstellar medium in galaxies.
- galaxies: ISM, galaxies: spiral, dust, extinction, ISM: abundances