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Title: Variations of the stellar initial mass function in the progenitors of massive early-type galaxies and in extreme starburst environments

We examine variations of the stellar initial mass function (IMF) in extreme environments within the formalism derived by Hennebelle and Chabrier. We focus on conditions encountered in progenitors of massive early-type galaxies and starburst regions. We show that, when applying the concept of turbulent Jeans mass as the characteristic mass for fragmentation in a turbulent medium, the peak of the IMF in such environments is shifted toward smaller masses, leading to a bottom-heavy IMF, as suggested by various observations. In very dense and turbulent environments, we predict that the high-mass tail of the IMF can become even steeper than the standard Salpeter IMF, with a limit for the power-law exponent α ≅ –2.7, in agreement with recent observational determinations. This steepening is a direct consequence of the high densities and Mach values in such regions but also of the time dependence of the fragmentation process, as incorporated in the Hennebelle-Chabrier theory. We provide analytical parameterizations of these IMFs in such environments to be used in galaxy evolution calculations. We also calculate the star-formation rates and the mass-to-light ratios expected under such extreme conditions and show that they agree well with the values inferred in starburst environments and massive high-redshift galaxies.more » This reinforces the paradigm of star formation as being a universal process, i.e., the direct outcome of gravitationally unstable fluctuations in a density field initially generated by large-scale, shock-dominated turbulence. This globally enables us to infer the variations of the stellar IMF and related properties for atypical galactic conditions.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, CRAL, UMR CNRS 5574, F-69364 Lyon Cedex 07 (France)
  2. Laboratoire AIM, CEA/IRFU, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex (France)
  3. UPMC-CNRS, UMR7095, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, F-75014 Paris (France)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22370185
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 796; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; DENSITY; FLUCTUATIONS; FRAGMENTATION; GALAXIES; MASS; RED SHIFT; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS; TIME DEPENDENCE; TURBULENCE; VISIBLE RADIATION