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Title: Rate of star formation in normal disk galaxies

Abstract

Photometry of the integrated H..cap alpha.. emission in a large sample of field spiral and irregular galaxies has been used to obtain quantitative estimates of the total star formation rate (SFR) in the galaxies. The photoionization properties of a stellar population have been modeled for a variety of choices for the initial mass function (IMF). The observed UBV colors and H..cap alpha.. emission equivalent widths place tight constraints on the slope of the IMF between 1 M /sub sun/ and 50 M /sub sun/ in the galaxies; excellent agreement with the observed galaxy colors and H..cap alpha.. emission is obtained with models using an IMF slope close to Salpeter's original value. The properties of late-type galaxies are not well reproduced by the Miller-Scalo solar neighborhood IMF. The extinction-corrected star formation rates are large, as high as 20 M /sub sun/ yr/sup -1/ in giant Sc galaxies (H/sub 0/ = 50 km s/sup -1/ Mpc/sup -1/). The current rates in late-type galaxies are comparable to the past rates averaged over the age of the disk; late-type disk galaxies have evolved at a nearly constant rate, confirming earlier models by Searle, Sargent, and Bagnuolo. Little evidence is found for a strong correlationmore » between the SFR and average gas density; if the SFR proportional rho/sup n/, then the exponent n must be much less than 1, corroborating earlier studies of star formation in the solar neighborhood by Miller, Scalo, and Twarog. Comparison of the present SFRs with the remaining supply of interstellar gas yields consumption time scales of only a few times 10/sup 9/ years in most cases, in agreement with the model estimates of Larson, Tinsley, and Caldwell.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
University of Minnesota, Department of Astronomy
OSTI Identifier:
5599940
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophys. J.; (United States)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 272:1
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; GALAXIES; EMISSION SPECTRA; STAR ACCRETION; BALMER LINES; COSMIC GASES; GALACTIC EVOLUTION; INTERGALACTIC SPACE; MORPHOLOGY; NITROGEN IONS; PHOTOIONIZATION; PHOTOMETRY; CHARGED PARTICLES; FLUIDS; GASES; IONIZATION; IONS; SPACE; SPECTRA; STAR EVOLUTION; 640105* - Astrophysics & Cosmology- Galaxies; 640102 - Astrophysics & Cosmology- Stars & Quasi-Stellar, Radio & X-Ray Sources

Citation Formats

Kennicutt, R.C. Jr.. Rate of star formation in normal disk galaxies. United States: N. p., 1983. Web. doi:10.1086/161261.
Kennicutt, R.C. Jr.. Rate of star formation in normal disk galaxies. United States. doi:10.1086/161261.
Kennicutt, R.C. Jr.. Thu . "Rate of star formation in normal disk galaxies". United States. doi:10.1086/161261.
@article{osti_5599940,
title = {Rate of star formation in normal disk galaxies},
author = {Kennicutt, R.C. Jr.},
abstractNote = {Photometry of the integrated H..cap alpha.. emission in a large sample of field spiral and irregular galaxies has been used to obtain quantitative estimates of the total star formation rate (SFR) in the galaxies. The photoionization properties of a stellar population have been modeled for a variety of choices for the initial mass function (IMF). The observed UBV colors and H..cap alpha.. emission equivalent widths place tight constraints on the slope of the IMF between 1 M /sub sun/ and 50 M /sub sun/ in the galaxies; excellent agreement with the observed galaxy colors and H..cap alpha.. emission is obtained with models using an IMF slope close to Salpeter's original value. The properties of late-type galaxies are not well reproduced by the Miller-Scalo solar neighborhood IMF. The extinction-corrected star formation rates are large, as high as 20 M /sub sun/ yr/sup -1/ in giant Sc galaxies (H/sub 0/ = 50 km s/sup -1/ Mpc/sup -1/). The current rates in late-type galaxies are comparable to the past rates averaged over the age of the disk; late-type disk galaxies have evolved at a nearly constant rate, confirming earlier models by Searle, Sargent, and Bagnuolo. Little evidence is found for a strong correlation between the SFR and average gas density; if the SFR proportional rho/sup n/, then the exponent n must be much less than 1, corroborating earlier studies of star formation in the solar neighborhood by Miller, Scalo, and Twarog. Comparison of the present SFRs with the remaining supply of interstellar gas yields consumption time scales of only a few times 10/sup 9/ years in most cases, in agreement with the model estimates of Larson, Tinsley, and Caldwell.},
doi = {10.1086/161261},
journal = {Astrophys. J.; (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 272:1,
place = {United States},
year = {1983},
month = {9}
}