The bolocam galactic plane survey. xii. distance catalog expansion using kinematic isolation of dense molecular cloud structures with13CO(1-0)

Timothy P. Ellsworth-Bowers, Erik Rosolowsky, Jason Glenn, Adam Ginsburg, Neal J. Evans, Cara Battersby, Yancy L. Shirley, Brian Svoboda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We present an expanded distance catalog for 1710 molecular cloud structures identified in the Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey (BGPS) version 2, representing a nearly threefold increase over the previous BGPS distance catalog. We additionally present a new method for incorporating extant data sets into our Bayesian distance probability density function (DPDF) methodology. To augment the dense-gas tracers (e.g., HCO+ (3-2), NH3 (1,1)) used to derive line-of-sight velocities for kinematic distances, we utilize the Galactic Ring Survey (GRS) 13CO(1-0) data to morphologically extract velocities for BGPS sources. The outline of a BGPS source is used to select a region of the GRS 13CO data, along with a reference region to subtract enveloping diffuse emission, to produce a line profile of 13CO matched to the BGPS source. For objects with a HCO+ (3-2) velocity, ≈95% of the new 13CO(1-0) velocities agree with that of the dense gas. A new prior DPDF for kinematic distance ambiguity (KDA) resolution, based on a validated formalism for associating molecular cloud structures with known objects from the literature, is presented. We demonstrate this prior using catalogs of masers with trigonometric parallaxes and H II regions with robust KDA resolutions. The distance catalog presented here contains well-constrained distance estimates for 20% of BGPS V2 sources, with typical distance uncertainties ≲0.5 kpc. Approximately 75% of the well-constrained sources lie within 6 kpc of the Sun, concentrated in the Scutum-Centaurus arm. Galactocentric positions of objects additionally trace out portions of the Sagittarius, Perseus, and Outer arms in the first and second Galactic quadrants, and we also find evidence for significant regions of interarm dense gas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2015


  • Galaxy: Kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxy: Structure
  • ISM: Clouds
  • Methods: Data analysis
  • Stars: Formation
  • Submillimeter: ISM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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