Friday, Aug 24th

The relation between mid-plane pressure and molecular hydrogen in galaxies: Environmental dependence

Robert Feldmann, Jose Hernandez, Nickolay Y. Gnedin
(Submitted on 22 Aug 2012)

Molecular hydrogen (H2) is the primary component of the reservoirs of cold, dense gas that fuel star formation in our galaxy. While the H2 abundance is ultimately regulated by physical processes operating on small scales in the interstellar medium (ISM), observations have revealed a tight correlation between the ratio of molecular to atomic hydrogen in nearby spiral galaxies and the pressure in the mid-plane of their disks. This empirical relation has been used to predict H2 abundances in galaxies with potentially very different ISM conditions, such as metal-deficient galaxies at high redshifts. Here, we test the validity of this approach by studying the dependence of the pressure — H2 relation on environmental parameters of the ISM. To this end, we follow the formation and destruction of H2 explicitly in a suite of hydrodynamical simulations of galaxies with different ISM parameters. We find that a pressure — H2 relation arises naturally in our simulations for a variety of dust-to-gas ratios or strengths of the interstellar radiation field in the ISM. Fixing the dust-to-gas ratio and the UV radiation field to values measured in the solar neighborhood results in fair agreement with the relation observed in nearby galaxies with roughly solar metallicity. However, the parameters (slope and normalization) of the pressure — H2 relation vary in a systematical way with ISM properties. A particularly strong trend is the decrease of the normalization of the relation with a lowering of the dust-to-gas ratio of the ISM. We show that this trend and other properties of the pressure — H2 relation are natural consequences of the transition from atomic to molecular hydrogen with gas surface density.

Comments: 10 pages, 4 figures, 3 tables, submitted to APJ, comments welcome
Subjects: Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics (astro-ph.CO); Galaxy Astrophysics (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:1208.4604v1 [astro-ph.CO]

A self-consistent model of Galactic stellar and dust infrared emission and the abundance of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Thomas P. Robitaille, Ed Churchwell, Robert A. Benjamin, Barbara A. Whitney, Kenneth Wood, Brian L. Babler, Marylin R. Meade
(Submitted on 22 Aug 2012)

We present a self-consistent three-dimensional Monte-Carlo radiative transfer model of the stellar and dust emission in the Milky-Way, and have computed synthetic observations of the 3.6 to 100 microns emission in the Galactic mid-plane. In order to compare the model to observations, we use the GLIMPSE, MIPSGAL, and IRAS surveys to construct total emission spectra, as well as longitude and latitude profiles for the emission. The distribution of stars and dust is taken from the SKY model, and the dust emissivities includes an approximation of the emission from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in addition to thermal emission. The model emission is in broad agreement with the observations, but a few modifications are needed to obtain a good fit. Firstly, by adjusting the model to include two major and two minor spiral arms rather than four equal spiral arms, the fit to the longitude profiles for |l|>30 degrees can be improved. Secondly, introducing a deficit in the dust distribution in the inner Galaxy results in a better fit to the shape of the IRAS longitude profiles at 60 and 100 microns. With these modifications, the model fits the observed profiles well, although it systematically under-estimates the 5.8 and 8.0 microns fluxes. One way to resolve this discrepancy is to increase the abundance of PAH molecules by 50% compared to the original model, although we note that changes to the dust distribution or radiation field may provide alternative solutions. Finally, we use the model to quantify which stellar populations contribute the most to the heating of different dust types, and which stellar populations and dust types contribute the most to the emission at different wavelengths.

Comments: Accepted for publication in A&A. Scripts to reproduce the results in this paper can be found as supplementary material on the A&A site, or atthis https URL
Subjects: Galaxy Astrophysics (astro-ph.GA)
Cite as: arXiv:1208.4606v1 [astro-ph.GA]
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