The VLA is used to measure 21 cm absorption in directions with the absolute value of b less than 1 deg., the absolute value of 1 less than 25 deg. to probe the cool atomic gas in the inner galaxy. Abundant H I absorption is detected; typical lines are deep and narrow, sometimes blending in velocity with adjacent features. Unlike 21 cm emission not all allowed velocities are covered: large portions of the l-v diagram are optically thin. Although not similar to H I emission, the absorption shows a striking correspondence with CO emission in the inner galaxy: essentially every strong feature detected in one survey is seen in the other. The provisional conclusion is that in the inner galaxy most cool atomic gas is associated with molecular cloud complexes. There are few or no cold atomic clouds devoid of molecules in the inner galaxy, although these are common in the outer galaxy.
NASA. Ames Research Center Summer School on Interstellar Processes: Abstracts of Contributed Papers; p 79-80