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Inefficient star formation in extremely metal poor galaxies

Shi, Yong and Armus, Lee and Helou, George and Stierwalt, Sabrina and Gao, Yu and Wang, Junzhi and Zhang, Zhi-Yu and Gu, Qiusheng (2014) Inefficient star formation in extremely metal poor galaxies. Nature, 514 (7522). pp. 335-338. ISSN 0028-0836. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20141107-104925647

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Abstract

The first galaxies contain stars born out of gas with few or no ‘metals’ (that is, elements heavier than helium). The lack of metals is expected to inhibit efficient gas cooling and star formation, but this effect has yet to be observed in galaxies with an oxygen abundance (relative to hydrogen) below a tenth of that of the Sun. Extremely metal poor nearby galaxies may be our best local laboratories for studying in detail the conditions that prevailed in low metallicity galaxies at early epochs. Carbon monoxide emission is unreliable as a tracer of gas at low metallicities, and while dust has been used to trace gas in low-metallicity galaxies, low spatial resolution in the far-infrared has typically led to large uncertainties. Here we report spatially resolved infrared observations of two galaxies with oxygen abundances below ten per cent of the solar value, and show that stars formed very inefficiently in seven star-forming clumps in these galaxies. The efficiencies are less than a tenth of those found in normal, metal rich galaxies today, suggesting that star formation may have been very inefficient in the early Universe.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.5504arXivArticle
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13820 DOIArticle
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v514/n7522/full/nature13820.htmlPublisherArticle
http://rdcu.be/cmnFPublisherFree ReadCube access
Additional Information:© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 15 April 2014; Accepted 29 August 2014; Published online 15 October 2014. Y.S. acknowledges support for this work from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), grant 11373021, the Strategic Priority Research Program ‘The Emergence of Cosmological Structures’ of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), grant XDB09000000, and Nanjing University grant 985. Y.G. acknowledges support from the NSFC (grants 11173059 and 11390373) and from the CAS Program (grant XDB09000000). J.W. was supported by the National 973 programme (grant 2012CB821805) and by the NSFC (grant 11173013). Z.-Y.Z. acknowledges support from the European Research Council (ERC) in the form of advanced grant COSMICISM. Q.G. was supported by the NSFC (11273015 and 11133001) and by the National 973 programme (grant 2013CB834905). We thank F. Bigiel for making his data points available to plot contours in Fig. 3, S. P. C. Peters for making available his HI gas map of ESO 146-G14 to us, and L. Piazzo for help in Herschel data reduction. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA. This work was supported in part by the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. It was also supported in part by a NASA Herschel grant (OT2_yshi_3) issued by JPL/Caltech. Author Contributions: Y.S. led the Herschel proposal, Herschel data reduction and the writing of the manuscript. L.A. helped develop Herschel observations and helped in the writing of the manuscript. G.H. and S.S. assisted in the Herschel proposal. All authors discussed and commented on the manuscript.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)11373021
Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)XDB09000000
Nanjing University985
Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)11173059
Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)11390373
National 973 programme2012CB821805
Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)11173013
European Research Council (ERC)UNSPECIFIED
Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)11273015
Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)11133001
National 973 programme2013CB834905
Spitzer Space TelescopeUNSPECIFIED
NASA/JPL/CaltechUNSPECIFIED
NASA HerschelOT2_yshi_3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141107-104925647
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20141107-104925647
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:51431
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 Nov 2014 19:11
Last Modified:21 Aug 2015 16:51

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