2023 journal article
Caught in the Act: A Metal-rich High-velocity Cloud in the Inner Galaxy
ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 944(1).
Abstract We characterize the chemical and physical conditions in an outflowing high-velocity cloud (HVC) in the inner Galaxy. We report a supersolar metallicity of [O/H] = +0.36 ± 0.12 for the HVC at v LSR = 125.6 km s −1 toward the star HD 156359 ( l = 328.°7, b = −14.°5, d = 9 kpc, z = −2.3 kpc). Using archival observations from the Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE), the Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, and the European Southern Observatory Fiber-fed Extended Range Optical Spectrograph we measure high-velocity absorption in H i , O i , C ii , N ii , Si ii , Ca ii , Si iii , Fe iii , C iv , Si iv , N v , and O vi . We measure a low H i column density of log N (H i ) = 15.54 ± 0.05 in the HVC from multiple unsaturated H i Lyman series lines in the FUSE data. We determine a low dust depletion level in the HVC from the relative strength of silicon, iron, and calcium absorption relative to oxygen, with [Si/O] = −0.33 ± 0.14, [Fe/O] = −0.30 ± 0.20, and [Ca/O] = −0.56 ± 0.16. Analysis of the high-ion absorption using collisional ionization models indicates that the hot plasma is multiphase, with the C iv and Si iv tracing 10 4.9 K gas and N v and O vi tracing 10 5.4 K gas. The cloud’s metallicity, dust content, kinematics, and close proximity to the disk are all consistent with a Galactic wind origin. As the HD 156359 line of sight probes the inner Galaxy, the HVC appears to be a young cloud caught in the act of being entrained in a multiphase Galactic outflow and driven out into the halo.