In "H2 in Space", Cambridge University Press, ed. F. Combes and G. Pineau des Forets. (astro-ph/9910296)


F. Combes

DEMIRM, Observatoire de Paris, 61 Av. de l'Observatoire, F-75 014, Paris, France

Abstract. The bulk of the molecular gas in spiral galaxies is under the form of cold H2, that does not radiate and is only suspected through tracer molecules, such as CO. All tracers are biased, and in particular H2 could be highly underestimated in low metallicity regions. Our knowledge is reviewed of the H2 content of galaxies, according to their types, environment, or star-forming activities. The HI and CO components are generally well-mixed (spiral arms, vertical distribution), although their radial distributions are radically different, certainly due to radial abundance gradients. The hypothesis of H2 as dark matter is discussed, as well as the implications on galaxy dynamics, or the best perspectives for observational tests.

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