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ALMA unveils widespread molecular gas clumps in the ram pressure stripped tail of the Norma Jellyfish Galaxy.

Jáchym, Pavel and Kenney, Jeffrey D. P. and Sun, Ming and Combes, Françoise and Cortese, Luca and Scott, Tom C. and Sivanandam, Suresh and Brinks, Elias and Roediger, Elke and Palouš, Jan and Fumagalli, Michele (2019) 'ALMA unveils widespread molecular gas clumps in the ram pressure stripped tail of the Norma Jellyfish Galaxy.', Astrophysical journal., 883 (2). p. 145.


We present the first high-resolution map of the cold molecular gas distribution as traced by CO(2−1) emission with ALMA in a long ram pressure stripped tail. The Norma cluster galaxy ESO 137-001 is undergoing a strong interaction with the surrounding intracluster medium and is one of the nearest jellyfish galaxies with a long multiphase and multicomponent tail. We have mapped the full extent of the tail at 1'' (350 pc) angular resolution and found a rich distribution of mostly compact CO regions extending to nearly 60 kpc in length and 25 kpc in width. In total, about 109 M ⊙ of molecular gas was detected with ALMA. From comparison with previous APEX observations, we also infer the presence of a substantial extended molecular component in the tail. The ALMA CO features are found predominantly at the heads of numerous small-scale (~1.5 kpc) fireballs (i.e., star-forming clouds with linear streams of young stars extending toward the galaxy) but also large-scale (~8 kpc) superfireballs and double-sided fireballs that have additional diffuse ionized gas tails extending in the direction opposite the stellar tails. The new data help to shed light on the origin of the molecular tail; CO filaments oriented in the direction of the tail are likely young molecular features formed in situ, whereas large CO features tilted with respect to the tail may have originated from dense gas complexes that were gradually pushed away from the disk.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:05 August 2019
Date deposited:31 October 2019
Date of first online publication:30 September 2019
Date first made open access:31 October 2019

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