Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 April 2016
The complex consisting of the bright HII region M17 (G15.0-0.7) and its associated molecular cloud is well known as a region of active star formation which contains an abundance of many different molecules (see e.g. Lada 1976). For H2CO, observations of the 110 – 111 transition at 4.8 GHz towards the HII region show an intense narrow absorption feature with a radial velocity near + 24 km s−1 superimposed on weak absorption which extends to below +10 km s−1 (Whiteoak and Gardner 1970). According to Whiteoak and Gardner (1974) the latter consists of several features centred at the velocities of +4.7, + 10.4, + 17.9 and +20.3 km s−1. Lada and Chaisson (1975) mapped the absorption around M17 with a 6′ .5 arc beam and concluded that the broad component was associated with the obscuring dust cloud near the HII region while the narrow feature occurred in a foreground cloud. In this paper we present observations made with higher angular resolution and higher sensitivity; they define better the H2CO distribution and its relationship with the extended CO cloud near M17 (Elmegreen et al. 1979).