Physical properties of star-forming regions across the Galaxy
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The Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey (BGPS) has surveyed the northern Galactic plane at 1.1 mm and detected 8,358 sources. The BGPS catalog is large enough to characterize the properties of massive star formation in a statistically significant way. In this dissertation, I have conducted a survey of NH₃ lines toward 771 BGPS sources located throughout the Galactic plane. The NH₃ and 1.1 mm continuum observations together have allowed for complete characterization of the physical properties of these sources. I detected the NH₃(1,1) line toward 408 BGPS sources in the inner Galaxy, allowing for determination of their kinematic distances. At distances less than roughly 1 kpc, the BGPS detects predominately cores which will form a single star or small multiple system, while at distances between 1 and 7 kpc the BGPS detects predominately clumps which will form entire stellar clusters. At distances greater than 7 kpc, the BGPS detects the large scale clouds which contain clumps and cores. I have correlated the BGPS catalog with mid-IR catalogs of massive young stellar objects (MYSOs), and found that 49% of the BGPS sources contain signs of active star formation. The masses, densities, H₂ and NH₃ column densities, gas kinetic temperatures, and NH₃ velocity dispersions are higher in BGPS sources with associated mid-IR sources. I have also studied the physical properties of the BGPS sources as a function of Galactocentric radius, R[subscript Gal]. I find that the mean radius and mass decrease with increasing R[subscript Gal] but peak within the 5 kpc molecular ring where the gas kinetic temperature reaches a minimum. The fraction of BGPS sources with associated mid-IR sources decreases by 10% within the molecular ring. I postulate that these trends can be explained by an ambient gas density which decreases with R[subscript Gal], but peaks within the molecular ring. Similarly, the NH₃ column density and abundance decrease by almost an order of magnitude from the inner to outer Galaxy.