CARMA Survey toward Infrared-bright Nearby Galaxies (STING). IV. Spatially Resolved 13CO in Spiral Galaxies

Yixian Cao, Tony Wong, Rui Xue, Alberto D. Bolatto, Leo Blitz, Stuart N. Vogel, Adam K. Leroy, Erik Rosolowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a 13CO(J = 1 → 0) mapping survey of 12 nearby galaxies from the CARMA STING sample. The line intensity ratio R ≡I [12CO(J = 1 → 0)] I [13CO(J = 1 → 0)] is derived to study the variations in molecular gas properties. For 11 galaxies where it can be measured with high significance, the spatially resolved R on (sub) kiloparsec scales varies by up to a factor of 3-5 within a galaxy. Lower R values are usually found in regions with weaker 12CO. We attribute this apparent trend to a bias against measuring large R values when 12CO is weak. Limiting our analysis to the 12CO-bright regions that are less biased, we do not find that R on (sub)kiloparsec scales correlate with galactocentric distance, velocity dispersion, or the star formation rate. The lack of correlation between star formation rate and R indicates that the CO optical depth is not sensitive to stellar energy input, or that any such sensitivity is easily masked by other factors. Extending the analysis to all regions with 12CO emission by spectral stacking, we find that 5 out of 11 galaxies show higher stacked R for galactocentric radii of ≳1 kpc and ΣSFR ≲ 0.1 M yr-1 kpc-2, which could result from a greater contribution from diffuse gas. Moreover, significant galaxy-to-galaxy variations are found in R, but the global R does not strongly depend on dust temperature, inclination, or metallicity of the galaxy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 20 2017


  • ISM: molecules
  • galaxies: ISM
  • galaxies: spiral
  • interstellar medium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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