AR 15020 (Archival Research)

Sun Jul 14 20:17:55 GMT 2024

Principal Investigator: Andrew Fox
PI Institution: Space Telescope Science Institute - ESA
Investigators (xml)

Title: The Mass Outflow Rate of the Milky Way
Cycle: 25

The balance between gaseous inflow and outflow regulates star formation in spiral galaxies. This paradigm can be tested in the Milky Way, but whereas the star formation rate and inflow rate have both been measured, the outflow rate has not. We propose an archival COS program to determine the Galactic outflow rate in cool gas (~10^4 K) by surveying UV absorption line high-velocity clouds (HVCs). This project will make use of the newly updated Hubble Spectroscopic Legacy Archive, which contains a uniformly reduced sample of 233 COS G130M spectra of background AGN. The outflow rate will be determined by (1) searching for redshifted HVCs; (2) modeling the clouds with photoionization simulations to determine their masses and physical properties; (3) combining the cloud masses with their velocities and distances. We will measure how the outflow is distributed spatially across the sky, calculate its mass loading factor, and compare the line profiles to synthetic spectra extracted from new hydrodynamic simulations. The distribution of HVC velocities will inform us what fraction of the outflowing clouds will escape the halo and what fraction will circulate back to the disk, to better understand how and where gas enters and exits the Milky Way.