The Carina Nebula and Gum 31 molecular complex - II. The distribution of the atomic gas revealed in unprecedented detail

David Rebolledo*, Anne J. Green, Michael Burton, Kate Brooks, Shari L. Breen, B. M. Gaensler, Yanett Contreras, Catherine Braiding, Cormac Purcell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We report high spatial resolution observations of the HI 21cm line in the Carina Nebula and the Gum 31 region obtained with the Australia Telescope Compact Array. The observations covered ~12 deg² centred on l = 287 °.5, b = -1°, achieving an angular resolution of ~35 arcsec. The HI map revealed complex filamentary structures across a wide range of velocities. Several ` bubbles' are clearly identified in the Carina Nebula complex, produced by the impact of the massive star clusters located in this region. An HI absorption profile obtained towards the strong extragalactic radio source PMN J1032-5917 showed the distribution of the cold component of the atomic gas along the Galactic disc, with the Sagittarius-Carina and Perseus spiral arms clearly distinguishable. Preliminary calculations of the optical depth and spin temperatures of the cold atomic gas show that the HI line is opaque (τ≳2) at several velocities in the Sagittarius-Carina spiral arm. The spin temperature is ~100K in the regions with the highest optical depth, although this value might be lower for the saturated components. The atomic mass budget of Gum 31 is ~35 per cent of the total gas mass. HI self-absorption features have molecular counterparts and good spatial correlation with the regions of cold dust as traced by the infrared maps. We suggest that in Gum 31 regions of cold temperature and high density are where the atomic to molecular gas-phase transition is likely to be occurring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1685-1704
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • stars: formation
  • ISM: molecules
  • galaxies: ISM


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