Interstellar electron density
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We impose the requirement that the spatial distribution of pulsars deduced from their dispersion measures using a model of the galactic electron density (n e ) should be consistent with cylindrical symmetry around the galactic centre (assumed to be 10 kpc from the Sun). Using a carefully selected subsample of the pulsars detected by the II Molonglo Survey (II MS), we test a number of simple models and conclude that (i) the effective mean 〈ne〉) for the whole galaxy is 0.037-0.012 +0.020 cm-3, (ii) the scale height of electrons is greater than 300 pc and probably about 1 kpc or more, and (iii) there is little evidence for variation of ne with galactic radius RGC for RGc ≳ 5 kpc. Further, we make a detailed analysis of the contribution to ne from H II regions. Combining the results of a number of relatively independent calculations, we propose a model for the galactic electron density of the formn e (z) = 0.030 + 0.020 exp (- |z|/70) cm-3 where z(pc) is the height above the galactic plane and the second term describes the contribution from H II regions. We believe the statistical uncertainties in the parameters of this model are quite small.
Key wordspulsars dispersion measure-interstellar electron density H II regions
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