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The GALEX Arecibo SDSS Survey – II. The star formation efficiency of massive galaxies

Schiminovich, David and Gonçalves, Thiago and Martin, Christopher D. and Wyder, Ted K. (2010) The GALEX Arecibo SDSS Survey – II. The star formation efficiency of massive galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 408 (2). pp. 919-934. ISSN 0035-8711.

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We use measurements of the H I content, stellar mass and star formation rates (SFRs) in ~190 massive galaxies with M_★ > 10^(10) M_⊙, obtained from the GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer) Arecibo SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey) survey described in Paper I to explore the global scaling relations associated with the bin-averaged ratio of the SFR over the H I mass (i.e. ΣSFR/ΣM_(HI)), which we call the H I-based star formation efficiency (SFE). Unlike the mean specific star formation rate (sSFR), which decreases with stellar mass and stellar mass surface density, the SFE remains relatively constant across the sample with a value close to SFE = 10^(−9.5) yr^(−1) (or an equivalent gas consumption time-scale of ~3 × 10^9 yr). Specifically, we find little variation in SFE with stellar mass, stellar mass surface density, NUV −r colour and concentration (R_(90)/R_(50)). We interpret these results as an indication that external processes or feedback mechanisms that control the gas supply are important for regulating star formation in massive galaxies. An investigation into the detailed distribution of SFEs reveals that approximately 5 per cent of the sample shows high efficiencies with SFE > 10^(−9) yr^(−1), and we suggest that this is very likely due to a deficiency of cold gas rather than an excess SFR. Conversely, we also find a similar fraction of galaxies that appear to be gas-rich for their given sSFR, although these galaxies show both a higher than average gas fraction and lower than average sSFR. Both of these populations are plausible candidates for ‘transition’ galaxies, showing potential for a change (either decrease or increase) in their sSFR in the near future. We also find that 36 ± 5 per cent of the total H I mass density and 47 ± 5 per cent of the total SFR density are found in galaxies with M_★ > 10^(10) M_⊙.

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Martin, Christopher D.0000-0002-8650-1644
Additional Information:© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS. Accepted 2010 June 15. Received 2010 May 27; in original form 2010 March 18. Article first published online: 2 Sep. 2010. We thank the Arecibo staff, in particular Phil Perillat, Ganesan Rajagopalan and the telescope operators for their assistance, and Hector Hernandez for scheduling the observations. RG and MPH acknowledge support from NSF grant AST-0607007 and from the Brinson Foundation. The Arecibo Observatory is part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, which is operated by Cornell University under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. GALEX is a NASA Small Explorer, launched in 2003 April. We gratefully acknowledge NASA’s support for construction, operation and science analysis for the GALEX mission, developed in cooperation with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales of France and the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the participating institutions, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the NASA, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSS Web Site is The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the participating institutions. The participating institutions are the American Museum of Natural History, Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, University of Basel, University of Cambridge, Case Western Reserve University, University of Chicago, Drexel University, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, the Korean Scientist Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (LAMOST), Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the MPA, New Mexico State University, Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory and the University of Washington.
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Brinson FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: evolution; galaxies: fundamental parameters; radio lines: galaxies; ultraviolet: galaxies
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20101101-105557338
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Official Citation:Schiminovich, D., Catinella, B., Kauffmann, G., Fabello, S., Wang, J., Hummels, C., Lemonias, J., Moran, S. M., Wu, R., Giovanelli, R., Haynes, M. P., Heckman, T. M., Basu-Zych, A. R., Blanton, M. R., Brinchmann, J., Budavári, T., Gonçalves, T., Johnson, B. D., Kennicutt, R. C., Madore, B. F., Martin, C. D., Rich, M. R., Tacconi, L. J., Thilker, D. A., Wild, V. and Wyder, T. K. (2010), The GALEX Arecibo SDSS Survey – II. The star formation efficiency of massive galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 408: 919–934. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17210.x
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:20616
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:01 Nov 2010 20:43
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 23:26

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