Molecular-cloud-scale Chemical Composition. I. A Mapping Spectral Line Survey toward W51 in the 3 mm Band

Yoshimasa Watanabe, Yuri Nishimura, Nanase Harada, Nami Sakai, Takashi Shimonishi, Yuri Aikawa, Akiko Kawamura, Satoshi Yamamoto

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25 Citations (Scopus)


We have conducted a mapping spectral line survey toward the Galactic giant molecular cloud W51 in the 3 mm band with the Mopra 22 m telescope in order to study an averaged chemical composition of the gas extended over a molecular-cloud scale in our Galaxy. We have observed the area of 25′ × 30′, which corresponds to 39 pc × 47 pc. The frequency ranges of the observation are 85.1-101.1 GHz and 107.0-114.9 GHz. In the spectrum spatially averaged over the observed area, spectral lines of 12 molecular species and 4 additional isotopologues are identified. An intensity pattern of the spatially averaged spectrum is found to be similar to that of the spiral arm in the external galaxy M51, indicating that these two sources have similar chemical compositions. The observed area has been classified into five subregions according to the integrated intensity of 13CO(J = 1 - 0) (I13CO), and contributions of the fluxes of 11 molecular lines from each subregion to the averaged spectrum have been evaluated. For most of the molecular species, 50% or more of the flux comes from the subregions with I13CO from 25 to 100 K km s-1, which does not involve active star-forming regions. Therefore, the molecular-cloud-scale spectrum observed in the 3 mm band hardly represents the chemical composition of star-forming cores, but mainly represents the chemical composition of an extended quiescent molecular gas. The present result constitutes a sound base for interpreting the spectra of external galaxies at a resolution of a molecular-cloud scale (∼10 pc) or larger.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 20
Externally publishedYes


  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: individual objects (W51)
  • ISM: molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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