A Dynamical Model for the Extra-planar Gas in Spiral Galaxies

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Fraternali, Filippo ; Binney, James (2005)

Recent HI observations reveal that the discs of spiral galaxies are surrounded by extended gaseous haloes. This extra-planar gas reaches large distances (several kpc) from the disc and shows peculiar kinematics (low rotation and inflow). We have modelled the extra-planar gas as a continuous flow of material from the disc of a spiral galaxy into its halo region. The output of our models are pseudo-data cubes that can be directly compared to the HI data. We have applied these models to two spiral galaxies (NGC891 and NGC2403) known to have a substantial amount of extra-planar gas. Our models are able to reproduce accurately the vertical distribution of extra-planar gas for an energy input corresponding to a small fraction (<4%) of the energy released by supernovae. However they fail in two important aspects: 1) they do not reproduce the right gradient in rotation velocity; 2) they predict a general outflow of the extra-planar gas, contrary to what is observed. We show that neither of these difficulties can be removed if clouds are ionized and invisible at 21cm as they leave the disc but become visible at some point on their orbits. We speculate that these failures indicate the need for accreted material from the IGM that could provide the low angular momentum and inflow required.
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