The 'Carina Flare' supershell: probing the atomic and molecular ISM in a Galactic chimney

J. R. Dawson, N. Mizuno, T. Onishi, N. M. McClure-Griffiths, Y. Fukui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The 'Carina Flare' supershell, GSH 287+04-17, is a molecular supershell originally discovered in 12CO(J = 1-0) with the NANTEN 4 m telescope. We present the first study of the shell's atomic ISM, using H i 21-cm line data from the Parkes 64-m telescope Southern Galactic Plane Survey. The data reveal a gently expanding, ∼230 × 360 pc H i supershell that shows strong evidence of Galactic Plane blowout, with a break in its main body at z ∼ 280 pc and a capped high-latitude extension reaching z ∼ 450 pc. The molecular clouds form comoving parts of the atomic shell, and the morphology of the two phases reflects the supershell's influence on the structure of the ISM. We also report the first discovery of an ionized component of the supershell, in the form of delicate, streamer-like filaments aligned with the proposed direction of blowout. The distance estimate to the shell is re-examined, and we find strong evidence to support the original suggestion that it is located in the Carina Arm at a distance of 2.6 ± 0.4 kpc. Associated H i and H 2 masses are estimated as M H I ≈ 7 ± 3 × 10 5 M and, and the kinetic energy of the expanding shell as E K ∼ 1 × 10 51 erg. We examine the results of analytical and numerical models to estimate a required formation energy of several 10 51 to ∼10 52 erg, and an age of ∼10 7 yr. This age is compatible with molecular cloud formation time-scales, and we briefly consider the viability of a supershell-triggered origin for the molecular component.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxy: structure
  • ISM: atoms
  • ISM: bubbles
  • ISM: evolution
  • ISM: molecules
  • ISM: structure


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