Unveiling Extensive Clouds of Dark Gas in the Solar Neighborhood

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Science  25 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5713, pp. 1292-1295
DOI: 10.1126/science.1106924

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From the comparison of interstellar gas tracers in the solar neighborhood (HI and CO lines from the atomic and molecular gas, dust thermal emission, and g rays from cosmic-ray interactions with gas), we unveil vast clouds of cold dust and dark gas, invisible in HI and CO but detected in γ rays. They surround all the nearby CO clouds and bridge the dense cores to broader atomic clouds, thus providing a key link in the evolution of interstellar clouds. The relation between the masses in the molecular, dark, and atomic phases in the local clouds implies a dark gas mass in the Milky Way comparable to the molecular one.

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