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Paper: Molecular Gas Properties in Luminous Infrared Galaxies: Stepping Up the CO J-Ladder Towards the Star Forming Phase
Volume: 424, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Hellenic Astronomical Society
Page: 266
Authors: Xilouris, E. M.; Papadopoulos, P.; van der Werf, P.; Isaak, K.
Abstract: We report on the results of our large molecular line survey of Luminous Infrared Galaxies (LIRGs) conducted with the JCMT and the 30-m telescopes, aiming at a detailed picture of the molecular gas properties in vigorously star-forming systems in the local Universe. We find exceptionally bright 12CO J=4-3 lines sharply marking the emergence of the star forming molecular gas phase in the global CO line luminosities of LIRGs. For several of the most IR luminous systems the high-excitation 12CO J=6-5 line is found to be very faint, incompatible with the excitation state of the large amounts of warm and dense molecular gas fuelling the extreme star formation in such galaxies. We find that large optical depths at submillimeter wavelengths are likely responsible for suppressing this line into a nearly blackbody dust emission.
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