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Regulating Star Formation in Nearby Dusty Galaxies: Low Photoelectric Efficiencies in the Most Compact Systems

McKinney, J. and Armus, L. and Pope, A. and Díaz-Santos, T. and Charmandaris, V. and Inami, H. and Song, Y. and Evans, A. S. (2021) Regulating Star Formation in Nearby Dusty Galaxies: Low Photoelectric Efficiencies in the Most Compact Systems. Astrophysical Journal, 908 (2). Art. No. 238. ISSN 0004-637X. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210301-120030955

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Abstract

Star formation in galaxies is regulated by heating and cooling in the interstellar medium (ISM). In particular, the processing of molecular gas into stars will depend strongly on the ratio of gas heating to gas cooling in the neutral gas around sites of recent star formation. In this work, we combine mid-infrared (mid-IR) observations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the dominant heating mechanism of gas in the ISM, with [C ii], [O i], and [Si ii] fine-structure emission, the strongest cooling channels in dense, neutral gas. The ratio of IR cooling line emission to PAH emission measures the photoelectric efficiency, a property of the ISM which dictates how much energy carried by ultraviolet photons gets transferred into the gas. We find that star-forming, IR-luminous galaxies in the Great Observatories All-Sky LIRG Survey with high IR surface densities have low photoelectric efficiencies. These systems also have, on average, higher ratios of radiation field strength to gas densities, and larger average dust grain size distributions. The data support a scenario in which the most compact galaxies have more young star-forming regions per unit area that exhibit less efficient gas heating. These conditions may be more common at high z, and may help explain the higher star formation rates at cosmic noon. We make predictions on how this can be investigated with the James Webb Space Telescope.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/abd6f2DOIArticle
https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.01182arXivDiscussion Paper
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
McKinney, J.0000-0002-6149-8178
Armus, L.0000-0003-3498-2973
Pope, A.0000-0001-8592-2706
Díaz-Santos, T.0000-0003-0699-6083
Charmandaris, V.0000-0002-2688-1956
Inami, H.0000-0003-4268-0393
Song, Y.0000-0002-3139-3041
Evans, A. S.0000-0003-2638-1334
Additional Information:© 2021 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 October 12; revised 2020 December 17; accepted 2020 December 24; published 2021 February 26. We thank the referee for the thoughtful comments and recommendations. J.M. thanks S. Linden for the constructive feedback on the paper. J.M. was supported by the IPAC Visiting Graduate Fellowship. A.S.E. and Y.S. were supported by NSF grant AST 1816838. H.I. acknowledges support from JSPS KAKENHI grant No. JP19K23462. This work is based on observations made with the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency (ESA) Cornerstone Mission with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and significant participation from NASA. The Spitzer Space Telescope is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under NASA contract 1407. This research is based on observations with AKARI, a JAXA project with the participation of ESA. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and of NASAs Astrophysics Data System (ADS) abstract service. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics Space Administration.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)UNSPECIFIED
NSFAST-1816838
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)JP19K23462
NASA/JPL/Caltech1407
Subject Keywords:Galaxies; Starburst galaxies; Interstellar medium; Galaxy evolution; Infrared astronomy; Far infrared astronomy; Photodissociation regions; Star formation
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Galaxies (573); Starburst galaxies (1570); Interstellar medium (847); Galaxy evolution (594); Infrared astronomy (786); Far infrared astronomy (529); Photodissociation regions (1223); Star formation (1569)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210301-120030955
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210301-120030955
Official Citation:J. McKinney et al 2021 ApJ 908 238
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108247
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Mar 2021 20:16
Last Modified:01 Mar 2021 20:16

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