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On the impact of empirical and theoretical star formation laws on galaxy formation

Lagos, Claudia del P. and Lacey, Cedric G. and Baugh, Carlton M. and Bower, Richard G. and Benson, Andrew J. (2011) On the impact of empirical and theoretical star formation laws on galaxy formation. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 416 (2). pp. 1566-1584. ISSN 0035-8711.

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We investigate the consequences of applying different star formation laws in the galaxy formation model galform. Three broad star formation laws are implemented: the empirical relations of Kennicutt and Schmidt and Blitz & Rosolowsky and the theoretical model of Krumholz, McKee & Tumlinson. These laws have no free parameters once calibrated against observations of the star formation rate (SFR) and gas surface density in nearby galaxies. We start from published models, and investigate which observables are sensitive to a change in the star formation law, without altering any other model parameters. We show that changing the star formation law (i) does not significantly affect either the star formation history of the universe or the galaxy luminosity functions in the optical and near-infrared, due to an effective balance between the quiescent and burst star formation modes, (ii) greatly affects the cold gas contents of galaxies and (iii) changes the location of galaxies in the SFR versus stellar mass plane, so that a second sequence of ‘passive’ galaxies arises, in addition to the known ‘active’ sequence. We show that this plane can be used to discriminate between the star formation laws.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Lagos, Claudia del P.0000-0003-3021-8564
Lacey, Cedric G.0000-0001-9016-5332
Baugh, Carlton M.0000-0002-9935-9755
Bower, Richard G.0000-0002-5215-6010
Benson, Andrew J.0000-0001-5501-6008
Additional Information:© 2011 The Authors. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2011 RAS. Accepted 2011 May 28. Received 2011 May 18; in original form 2010 November 24. Article first published online: 22 Jul. 2011. We thank Shaun Cole, Mark Swinbank, Martin Stringer, Jarle Brinchmann, Dave Gilbank and Violeta González for useful comments and discussions. We thank the anonymous referee for helpful remarks that enable us to improve the presentation of this work. CPL gratefully acknowledges an STFC Gemini studentship. AJB acknowledges the support of the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. This work was supported by a rolling grant from the STFC.
Group:Moore Center for Theoretical Cosmology and Physics
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:stars: formation galaxies: evolution galaxies: formation galaxies: ISM
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111017-111848030
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Lagos, C. d. P., Lacey, C. G., Baugh, C. M., Bower, R. G. and Benson, A. J. (2011), On the impact of empirical and theoretical star formation laws on galaxy formation. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 416: 1566–1584. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19160.x
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27251
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:17 Oct 2011 18:40
Last Modified:10 Feb 2021 18:53

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