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Determining star formation timescale and pattern speed in nearby spiral galaxies

Egusa, Fumi and Kohno, Kotaro and Sofue, Yoshiaki and Nakanishi, Hiroyuki and Komugi, Shinya (2009) Determining star formation timescale and pattern speed in nearby spiral galaxies. Astrophysical Journal, 697 (2). pp. 1870-1891. ISSN 0004-637X.

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We present a revised method for simultaneous determination of the pattern speed (ΩP) and star formation timescale (t_SF) of spiral galaxies, which is originally proposed in our previous work. As this method utilizes offsets between molecular and young-stellar arms, we refer to it as the "Offset Method." Details of the method, its application, and results for CO and Hα images of 13 nearby spiral galaxies are described here. CO data are from our observations with the Nobeyama Millimeter Array for two galaxies, and from the BIMA SONG for the rest. Out of 13 galaxies, we were able to derive ΩP and t_SF for five galaxies. We categorize them as "C" galaxies as their offsets are clear. Our findings from these galaxies are as follows. (1) The corotation radius calculated by the derived ΩP is close to the edge of the CO data, and is about half of the optical radius for three galaxies. (2) The derived t SF is roughly consistent with the free-fall time of typical molecular clouds, which indicates that the gravitational instability is the dominant mechanism triggering star formation in spiral arms. (3) The t_SF is found to be almost independent of the surface density of molecular gas, metallicity, or spiral arm strengths. The number of "C" galaxies and the quality of CO data, however, are not enough to confirm these relationships. We also find that two other galaxies show no offsets between CO and Hα, although their arms are clearly traced, and categorize them as "N" galaxies. The presence of a bar could account for this feature, since these two galaxies are both barred. With one galaxy excluded from our analysis due to its poor rotation curve, offsets of the remaining five galaxies are found to be ambiguous. Either their dependence on the rotational frequency cannot be explained by our picture, or the number or quality of data is not sufficient for the analysis. We categorize them as "A" galaxies. The possible reasons for this ambiguity are (1) the density wave is weaker, and/or (2) observational resolution and sensitivity are not enough to detect the spiral arms and their offsets clearly. The former is supported by our finding that the arm strengths of "A" galaxies are slightly weaker than that of "C" galaxies.

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Additional Information:© 2009 American Astronomical Society. Print publication: Issue 2 (2009 June 1); received 2008 July 17; accepted for publication 2009 March 17; published 2009 May 15. We greatly appreciate the anonymous referee for helpful comments to improve the manuscript. We are also grateful to Dr. Rebecca Koopmann, Dr. Crystal Martin, Dr. Johan Knapen, and Mr. Olivier Daigle for kindly providing their data and advices on how to use them. This work has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) and 2MASS Image Services via the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the VizieR catalog access tool and the Aladin Sky Atlas, CDS, Strasbourg, France. F.E. and S.K. are thankful to the financial support by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science during this research. A part of this study was also financially supported by the MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas 15071202.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Japan Society for the Promotion of ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japan)15071202
Subject Keywords:galaxies: fundamental parameters; galaxies: individual (NGC 0628, NGC 3184, NGC 3938, NGC 4254, NGC 4303, NGC 4321, NGC 4535, NGC 4736, NGC 5194, NGC 5248, NGC 5457, NGC 6181, NGC 6946); galaxies: spiral; H II regions; ISM: molecules
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090728-115437194
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14702
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:12 Aug 2009 20:19
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 00:51

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