The ALMA view of GMCs in NGC 300: Physical Properties and Scaling Relations at 10 pc Resolution

Christopher M. Faesi, Charles J. Lada, Jan Forbrich

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We have conducted a 12CO(2-1) survey of several molecular gas complexes in the vicinity of H ii regions within the spiral galaxy NGC 300 using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). Our observations attain a resolution of 10 pc and 1 , sufficient to fully resolve giant molecular clouds (GMCs) and the highest obtained to date beyond the Local Group. We use the CPROPS algorithm to identify and characterize 250 GMCs across the observed regions. GMCs in NGC 300 appear qualitatively and quantitatively similar to those in the Milky Way disk: they show an identical scaling relationship between size R and linewidth ΔV (ΔV ∝ R 0.48±0.05), appear to be mostly in virial equilibrium, and are consistent with having a constant surface density of about 60 pc -2. The GMC mass spectrum is similar to those in the inner disks of spiral galaxies (including the Milky Way). Our results suggest that global galactic properties such as total stellar mass, morphology, and average metallicity may not play a major role in setting GMC properties, at least within the disks of galaxies on the star-forming main sequence. Instead, GMC properties may be more strongly influenced by local environmental factors such as the midplane disk pressure. In particular, in the inner disk of NGC 300, we find this pressure to be similar to that in the local Milky Way but markedly lower than that in the disk of M51, where GMCs are characterized by systematically higher surface densities and a higher coefficient for the size-linewidth relation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Number of pages39
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2018


  • ISM: molecules
  • galaxies: ISM ISM: clouds
  • galaxies: individual (NGC 300)
  • radio lines: galaxies
  • techniques: interferometric


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