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Title: THE EFFECTS OF EPISODIC STAR FORMATION ON THE FUV-NUV COLORS OF STAR FORMING REGIONS IN OUTER DISKS

We run stellar population synthesis models to examine the effects of a recently episodic star formation history (SFH) on UV and Hα colors of star forming regions. Specifically, the SFHs we use are an episodic sampling of an exponentially declining star formation rate (SFR; τ model) and are intended to simulate the SFHs in the outer disks of spiral galaxies. To enable comparison between our models and observational studies of star forming regions in outer disks, we include in our models sensitivity limits that are based on recent deep UV and Hα observations in the literature. We find significant dispersion in the FUV-NUV colors of simulated star forming regions with frequencies of star formation episodes of 1 × 10{sup –8} to 4 × 10{sup –9} yr{sup –1}. The dispersion in UV colors is similar to that found in the outer disk of nearby spiral galaxies. As expected, we also find large variations in L{sub H{sub α}}/L{sub FUV}. We interpret our models within the context of inside-out disk growth, and find that a radially increasing τ and decreasing metallicity with an increasing radius will only produce modest FUV-NUV color gradients, which are significantly smaller than what is found for some nearbymore » spiral galaxies. However, including moderate extinction gradients with our models can better match the observations with steeper UV color gradients. We estimate that the SFR at which the number of stars emitting FUV light becomes stochastic is ∼2 × 10{sup –6} M{sub ☉} yr{sup –1}, which is substantially lower than the SFR of many star forming regions in outer disks. Therefore, we conclude that stochasticity in the upper end of the initial mass function is not likely to be the dominant cause of dispersion in the FUV-NUV colors of star forming regions in outer disks. Finally, we note that if outer disks have had an episodic SFH similar to that used in this study, this should be taken into account when estimating gas depletion timescales and modeling chemical evolution of spiral galaxies.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Department of Astronomy, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405 (United States)
  2. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22270927
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 775; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; COLOR; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; GALAXIES; STAR EVOLUTION; STAR MODELS; STARS; STOCHASTIC PROCESSES; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; VARIATIONS