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Peering Through the Muck: Notes on the Influence of the Galactic Interstellar Medium on Extragalactic Observations

  • Felix J. Lockman
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 309)

Abstract

This paper considers some effects of foreground Galactic gas on radiation received from extragalactic objects, with an emphasis on the use of the 21cm line to determine the total N HI . In general, the opacity of the 21cm line makes it impossible to derive an accurate value of N HI by simply applying a formula to the observed emission, except in directions where there is very little interstellar matter. The 21cm line can be used to estimate the likelihood that there is significant if H 2 in a particular direction, but carries little or no information on the amount of ionized gas, which can be a major source of foreground effects. Considerable discussion is devoted to the importance of small-scale angular structure in HI, with the conclusion that it will rarely contribute significantly to the total error compared to other factors (such as the effects of ionized gas) for extragalactic sight lines at high Galactic latitude. The direction of the Hubble/Chandra Deep Field North is used as an example of the complexities that might occur even in the absence of opacity or molecular gas.

Keywords

Angular Scale Intermediate Velocity Extragalactic Object 21cm Line Sight Line 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felix J. Lockman
    • 1
  1. 1.National Radio Astronomy ObservatoryGreen BankUSA

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