A Caltech Library Service

Connecting Transitions in Galaxy Properties to Refueling

Kannappan, Sheila J. and Stark, David V. and Eckert, Kathleen D. and Moffett, Amanda J. and Wei, Lisa H. and Pisano, D. J. and Baker, Andrew J. and Vogel, Stuart N. and Fabricant, Daniel G. and Laine, Seppo and Norris, Mark A. and Jogee, Shardha and Lepore, Natasha and Hough, Loren E. and Weinberg-Wolf, Jennifer (2013) Connecting Transitions in Galaxy Properties to Refueling. Astrophysical Journal, 777 (1). Art. No. 42. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/777/1/42.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We relate transitions in galaxy structure and gas content to refueling, here defined to include both the external gas accretion and the internal gas processing needed to renew reservoirs for star formation. We analyze two z = 0 data sets: a high-quality ~200 galaxy sample (the Nearby Field Galaxy Survey, data release herein) and a volume-limited ~3000 galaxy sample with reprocessed archival data. Both reach down to baryonic masses ~10^9 M_☉ and span void-to-cluster environments. Two mass-dependent transitions are evident: (1) below the "gas-richness threshold" scale (V ~ 125 km s^(–1)), gas-dominated quasi-bulgeless Sd-Im galaxies become numerically dominant; while (2) above the "bimodality" scale (V ~ 200 km s^(–1)), gas-starved E/S0s become the norm. Notwithstanding these transitions, galaxy mass (or V as its proxy) is a poor predictor of gas-to-stellar mass ratio M_(gas)/M_*. Instead, M_(gas)/M_* correlates well with the ratio of a galaxy's stellar mass formed in the last Gyr to its preexisting stellar mass, such that the two ratios have numerically similar values. This striking correspondence between past-averaged star formation and current gas richness implies routine refueling of star-forming galaxies on Gyr timescales. We argue that this refueling underlies the tight M_(gas)/M_* versus color correlations often used to measure "photometric gas fractions." Furthermore, the threshold and bimodality scale transitions reflect mass-dependent demographic shifts between three refueling regimes—accretion-dominated, processing-dominated, and quenched. In this picture, gas-dominated dwarfs are explained not by inefficient star formation but by overwhelming gas accretion, which fuels stellar mass doubling in ≾1 Gyr. Moreover, moderately gas-rich bulged disks such as the Milky Way are transitional, becoming abundant only in the narrow range between the threshold and bimodality scales.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle Paper
Laine, Seppo0000-0003-1250-8314
Additional Information:© 2013 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 August 8; accepted 2013 July 17; published 2013 October 15. We are grateful to Douglas Mar, Jacqueline van Gorkom, John Hibbard, Adam Leroy, Ari Maller, Martha Haynes, Sadegh Khochfar, and Eric Gawiser for illuminating conversations. The anonymous referee provided helpful feedback that improved this manuscript. We thank Perry Berlind, Barbara Carter, Marijn Franx, and the Mount Hopkins observatory staff for their help with the NFGS kinematics observing program. We thank the GBT operators and Green Bank staff for their support of program 10A-070. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. S.J.K., D.V.S., K.D.E., and M.A.N. were supported in this research by NSF CAREER grant AST-0955368. D.V.S. and K.D.E. also acknowledge support from GAANN Fellowships and North Carolina Space Grant Fellowships. S.J.K. acknowledges the hospitality and financial assistance of the NRAO Charlottesville visitor program during spring 2010. A.J.M. acknowledges support from a NASA Harriet Jenkins Fellowship, the University of North Carolina Royster Society of Fellows, and the North Carolina Space Grant Program. LHW was supported in part by the NSF under the CARMA cooperative agreement and in part by an SMA Postdoctoral Fellowship. S.J. acknowledges support from the Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program (NHARP) ARP-03658-0234-2009, NSF grant AST-0607748, and Hubble Space Telescope grant GO-11082 from STScI, which is operated by AURA, Inc., for NASA, under NAS5-26555. This research has made use of the HyperLEDA database ( This work has used 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. This work has made use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. This work is based in part on observations and on archival data obtained with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by an award issued by JPL/Caltech and by NASA. We acknowledge use of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Funding for SDSS-III has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The SDSS-III Web site is SDSS-III is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS-III Collaboration including the University of Arizona, the Brazilian Participation Group, Brookhaven National Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Florida, the French Participation Group, the German Participation Group, Harvard University, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, the Michigan State/Notre Dame/JINA Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, New Mexico State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the Spanish Participation Group, University of Tokyo, University of Utah, Vanderbilt University,University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Yale University.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
North Carolina Space Grant ConsortiumUNSPECIFIED
National Radio Astronomy ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
NASA Harriet Jenkins FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
University of North CarolinaUNSPECIFIED
SMA Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program (NHARP)ARP-03658-0234-2009
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: evolution
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131122-093137356
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Connecting Transitions in Galaxy Properties to Refueling Sheila J. Kannappan et al. 2013 ApJ 777 42
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42645
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:22 Nov 2013 18:31
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:26

Repository Staff Only: item control page