Kinetic Tomography I: A Method for Mapping the Milky Way’s Interstellar Medium in Four Dimensions

Abstract

We have developed a method for deriving the distribution of the Milky Way’s interstellar medium as a function of longitude, latitude, distance and line-of-sight velocity. This method takes as input maps of reddening as a function of longitude, latitude, and distance and maps of line emission as a function of longitude, latitude, and line-of-sight velocity. We have applied this method to datasets covering much of the Galactic plane. The output of this method correctly reproduces the line-of-sight velocities of high-mass star forming regions with known distances from Reid et al. (2014) and qualitatively agrees with results from the Milky Way kinematics literature. These maps will be useful for measuring flows of gas around the Milky Way’s spiral arms and into and out of giant molecular clouds.

Introduction

Many open problems in star formation, molecular cloud evolution, and galaxy-scale gas dynamics remain open because it has not been possible to measure the most useful quantities for resolving them