A search for warm neutral gas associated with the giant HII region NGC 604

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The characteristics of the halo gas and its interaction with the galactic disk in spiral galaxies are poorly known; this is particularly true for the warm neutral gas associated with HVCs and galactic chimneys. The detection of absorption features such as the NaI D or the CaII (H,K) lines is instrumental to study its detailed physical properties but requires very long integration times. In this work very deep optical spectra of NGC 604, the brightest giant HII region among the nearby spirals, are presented. The detection of two absorption components at LSR velocities -255 km/s and -20 km/s respectively, is reported; the first component is associated with the HII region. The inferred line width after deconvolution is 155 km/s; this large width is produced by the blending of the multiple absorption components produced by the diverse sources of internal motion (expanding shells and general turbulence). The radial velocity of the CaII absorption is slightly larger than the measured in the HII emission lines suggesting a possible flow of gas into the halo above the young star cluster. The large ratio x = W-lambda(NaI D-2)/W-lambda(CaIIK) = 0.7 indicates the probable presence of shocks which release Ca from the dust grains into the gas phase. The lower velocity component most likely trace galactic gas.
Conference on Astrophysical Dynamics, APR 14-16, 1999, Evora (Portugal)
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