The Galactic Interstellar Medium

  • Françoise Combes
  • Patrick Boissé
  • Alain Mazure
  • Alain Blanchard
Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)


Galaxies are formed mainly of stars, but these stars are immersed in a relatively diffuse and cold gaseous medium. Its density is on average of the order of 1 particle per cm3, 10 cm−3 in clouds of atomic hydrogen, and 1000 cm−3 in molecular clouds. Its temperature goes from 5 K in these latter regions up to 104 K in ionized regions heated by young stars. Hydrogen forms the bulk of the interstellar gas, helium around 25%. Other elements are present in trace amounts. The interstellar gas is enriched by heavy elements ejected by stars (in supernova explosions and stellar winds).


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Balkowski, C. (1973) Astron. Astrophys. 29, 43.ADSGoogle Scholar
  2. Ball, R., Sargent, A. I., Scoville, N. Z., Lo, K. Y, and Scott, S. L. (1985) Astrophys. J. 298, L21.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bonnarel, F., Boulesteix, J., and Marcellin, M. (1986) Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. 66, 149.ADSGoogle Scholar
  4. Brinks, E. (1984) Ph.D. Thesis, University of Leiden.Google Scholar
  5. Casoli, F., and Combes, E (1988) Astron. Astrophys. 198, 43.ADSGoogle Scholar
  6. Durret, E, and Bergeron, J. (1988) Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. 75, 273.ADSGoogle Scholar
  7. Ekers, R. D. (1975) in Structure and Evolution of Galaxies, edited by G. Setti ( Reidel, Dordrecht ), p. 217.Google Scholar
  8. Horellou, C., Beck, R., and Klein, U. (1990) in Galactic and Intergalactic Magnetic Fields, edited by R. Beck (TAU Symposium 140, Kluwer, Dordrecht ), p. 211.Google Scholar
  9. Lo, K. Y, Cheung, K. W., Masson, C. R., Phillips, T. G., Scott, S. L., and Woody, D. P. (1987) Astrophys. J. 312, 574.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mathewson, D. S., van der Kruit, P. C., and Brouw, W. N. (1972) Astron. Astrophys. 17, 468.ADSGoogle Scholar
  11. Neininger, N. (1992) Astron. Astrophys. 263, 30.ADSGoogle Scholar
  12. Rand, J., and Kulkarni, S. (1990) Astrophys. J. 349, L43.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Rots, A. H., and Shane, W. W. (1975) Astron. Astrophys. 45, 25.ADSGoogle Scholar
  14. Sanders, D. B., and Mirabel, I.E (1985) Astrophys. J. 298, L31.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Terzian, Y., and Parrish, R. (1970) Astrophys. Lett. 5, 261.ADSGoogle Scholar
  16. Weliachew, L., Casoli, E, and Combes, E (1988) Astron. Astrophys. 199, 29.ADSGoogle Scholar
  17. Wevers, B. M. H. R. (1984) Ph.D. Thesis, University of Groningen.Google Scholar
  18. Young, J. S., Kenney, J. D., Tacconi, L., Claussen, M. J., Huang, Y. L., Tacconi-Garman, L., Xie, S., and Schloerb, E P. (1986) Astrophys. J. 311, L17.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Françoise Combes
    • 1
  • Patrick Boissé
    • 2
  • Alain Mazure
    • 3
  • Alain Blanchard
    • 4
  1. 1.Observatoire de ParisDEMIRMParisFrance
  2. 2.Ecole Normale SupérieureParis Cedex 5France
  3. 3.GRAAL, Université de Montpellier IIMontpellier Cedex 5France
  4. 4.Observatoire de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

Personalised recommendations