Herschel Exploitation of Local Galaxy Andromeda (HELGA) III: The Star Formation Law in M31
George P. Ford, Walter K. Gear, Matthew W. L. Smith, Steve A. Eales, Maarten Baes, George J. Bendo, Mederic Boquien, Alessandro Boselli, Asantha R. Cooray, Ilse De Looze, Jacopo Fritz, Gianfranco Gentile, Haley L. Gomez, Karl D. Gordon, Jason Kirk, Vianney Lebouteiller, Brian O’Halloran, Luigi Spinoglio, Joris Verstappen, Christine D. Wilson
We present a detailed study of how the Star Formation Rate (SFR) relates to the interstellar medium (ISM) of M31 at ~140pc scales. The SFR is calculated using the far-ultraviolet and 24um emission, corrected for the old stellar population in M31. We find a global value for the SFR of 0.25+/-0.05Msun/yr and compare this with the SFR found using the total far-infrared (FIR) luminosity. There is general agreement in regions where young stars dominate the dust heating. Atomic hydrogen (HI) and molecular gas (traced by carbon monoxide, CO) or the dust mass is used to trace the total gas in the ISM. We show that the global surface densities of SFR and gas mass place M31 amongst a set of low-SFR galaxies in the plot of Kennicutt (1998b). The relationship between SFR and gas surface density is tested in six radial annuli across M31, assuming a power law relationship with index, N. The star formation law using total gas traced by HI and CO gives a global index of N=2.03+/-0.04, with a significant variation with radius; the highest values are observed in the 10kpc ring. We suggest that this slope is due to HI turning molecular at ~10Msun/pc2. When looking at H2 regions, we measure a higher mean SFR suggesting a better spatial correlation between H2 and SF. We find N~0.6 with consistent results throughout the disk – this is at the low end of values found in previous work and argues against a superlinear SF law on small scales.
Determining gas content and star formation rate has known remarkable progress in field galaxies, but has been much less investigated in galaxies inside clusters. We present the first CO observations of luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs) inside the virial radii of two intermediate redshift clusters, CL1416+4446 (z=0.397) and CL0926+1242 (z=0.489). We detect three galaxies at high significance (5 to 10 sigma), and provide robust estimates of their CO luminosities, L’CO. In order to put our results into a general context, we revisit the relation between cold and hot gas and stellar mass in nearby field and cluster galaxies. We find evidence that at fixed LIR (or fixed stellar mass), the frequency of high L’CO galaxies is lower in clusters than in the field, suggesting environmental depletion of the reservoir of cold gas. The level of star formation activity in a galaxy is primarily linked to the amount of cold gas, rather than to the galaxy mass or the lookback time. In clusters, just as in the field, the conversion between gas and stars seems universal. The relation between LIR and L’CO for distant cluster galaxies extends the relation of nearby galaxies to higher IR luminosities. Nevertheless, the intermediate redshift galaxies fall well within the dispersion of the trend defined by local systems. Considering that L’CO is generally derived from the CO(1-0) line and sensitive to the vast majority of the molecular gas in the cold interstellar medium of galaxies, but less to the part which will actually be used to form stars, we suggest that molecular gas can be stripped before the star formation rate is affected. Combining the sample of Geach et al. (2009, 2011) and ours, we find evidence for a decrease in CO towards the cluster centers. This is the first hint of an environmental impact on cold gas at intermediate redshift.
Spectroscopy of H II Regions in the Late-Type Spiral Galaxy NGC 6946
We present the results of spectroscopy of 39 H II regions in the spiral galaxy NGC 6946. The spectral observations were carried out at the 6-m BTA telescope of the SAO RAS with the SCORPIO focal reducer in the multi-slit mode with the dispersion of 2.1A/px and spectral resolution of 10A. The absorption estimates for 39 H II regions were obtained. Using the "strong line" method (NS-calibration) we determined the electron temperature, and the abundances of oxygen and nitrogen for 30 H II regions. The radial gradients of O/H and N/H were constructed.