Determining Distances to Galactic Molecular Clouds
Molecular clouds in our Galaxy act as nurseries for star formation and are also important for other observed physical phenomena. It is a vital pursuit in astrophysics to locate these galactic molecular clouds to obtain a full understanding of the galaxy in which we live. In this poster, I present a spectroscopic method for calculating clouds’ radial velocities; by the application of the velocities to a galactic rotation curve model, we may determine the distance of the molecular clouds from our Sun. We determined radial velocities of molecular clouds by performing multicomponent Gaussian fits to the 1667 MHz OH ground-state absorption lines observed with the Arecibo telescope. By comparing these velocities to the known Galactic rotation curve, galacto- and heliocentric distances were determined to the molecular clouds.