A Na I absorption map of the small-scale structure in the interstellar gas toward M15

David M. Meyer*, J. T. Lauroesch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Using the DensePak fiber-optic array on the KPNO WIYN telescope, we have obtained high signal-to-noise ratio echelle spectra of the Na I D wavelength region toward the central 27″ × 43″ of the globular cluster M15 at a spatial resolution of 4″. The spectra exhibit significant interstellar Na I absorption at LSR velocities of 3 km s-1 (local interstellar medium [LISM] component) and 68 km s-1 (intermediate-velocity cloud [IVC] component). Both components vary appreciably in strength on these scales. The derived Na I column densities differ by a factor of 4 across the LISM absorption map and by a factor of 16 across the IVC map. Assuming distances of 500 and 1500 pc for the LISM and IV clouds, respectively, these maps show evidence of significant ISM structure down to the minimum scales of 2000 and 6000 AU probed in these absorbers. The smallest scale N(Na I) variations observed in the M15 LISM and IVC maps are typically comparable to or higher than the values found at similar scales in previous studies of interstellar Na I structure toward binary stars. The physical implications of the small and larger scale Na I features observed in the M15 maps are discussed in terms of variations in the H I column density as well as in the Na ionization equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L103-L106
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - Aug 1 1999


  • ISM: atoms
  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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