The bubbling Galactic disk

E. Churchwell*, M. S. Povich, D. Allen, M. G. Taylor, M. R. Meade, B. L. Babler, R. Indebetouw, C. Watson, B. A. Whitney, M. G. Wolfire, T. M. Bania, R. A. Benjamin, D. P. Clemens, M. Cohen, C. J. Cyganowski, J. M. Jackson, H. A. Kobulnicky, J. S. Mathis, E. P. Mercer, S. R. StolovyB. Uzpen, D. F. Watson, M. J. Wolff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

365 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A visual examination of the images from the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire (GLIMPSE) has revealed 322 partial and closed rings that we propose represent partially or fully enclosed three-dimensional bubbles. We argue that the bubbles are primarily formed by hot young stars in massive star formation regions. We have found an average of about 1.5 bubbles per square degree. About 25% of the bubbles coincide with known radio H II regions, and about 13% enclose known star clusters. It appears that B4 - B9 stars ( too cool to produce detectable radio H II regions) probably produce about three-quarters of the bubbles in our sample, and the remainder are produced by young O-B3 stars that produce detectable radio H II regions. Some of the bubbles may be the outer edges of H II regions where PAH spectral features are excited and may not be dynamically formed by stellar winds. Only three of the bubbles are identified as known SNRs. No bubbles coincide with known planetary nebulae or W-R stars in the GLIMPSE survey area. The bubbles are small. The distribution of angular diameters peaks between 10 and 30 with over 98% having angular diameters less than 10' and 88% less than 4'. Almost 90% have shell thicknesses between 0.2 and 0.4 of their outer radii. Bubble shell thickness increases approximately linearly with shell radius. The eccentricities are rather large, peaking between 0.6 and 0.7; about 65% have eccentricities between 0.55 and 0.85.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-778
Number of pages20
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume649
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2006

Keywords

  • HII regions
  • ISM : bubbles
  • SPITZER-SPACE-TELESCOPE
  • INFRARED STAR-CLUSTERS
  • SOUTHERN MILKY-WAY
  • MOLECULAR CLOUDS
  • INNER GALAXY
  • HII-REGIONS
  • CO SURVEY
  • H-ALPHA
  • NORTHERN
  • GLIMPSE

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