Wednesday 19th June 2013

Stellar Populations and the Star Formation Histories of LSB Galaxies: II. HII Regions

James Schombert (UOregon), Stacy McGaugh (Case Western), Tamela Maciel (Cambridge Univ.)

The luminosities, colors and H\alpha\ emission for 429 HII regions in 54 LSB galaxies are presented. While the number of HII regions per galaxy is lower in LSB galaxies compared to star-forming irregulars and spirals, there is no indication that the size or luminosity function of HII regions differs from other galaxy types. The lower number of HII regions per galaxy is consistent with their lower total star formation rates. The fraction of total $L_{H\alpha}$ contributed by HII regions varies from 10 to 90% in LSB galaxies (the rest of the H$\alpha$ emission being associated with a diffuse component) with no correlation with galaxy stellar or gas mass. Bright HII regions have bluer colors, similar to the trend in spirals; their number and luminosities are consistent with the hypothesis that they are produced by the same HII luminosity function as spirals. Comparison with stellar population models indicates that the brightest HII regions in LSB galaxies range in cluster mass from a few $10^3 M_{\sun}$ (e.g., $\rho$ Oph) to globular cluster sized systems (e.g., 30 Dor) and that their ages are consistent with clusters from 2 to 15 Myrs old. The faintest HII regions are comparable to those in the LMC powered by a single O or B star. Thus, star formation in LSB galaxies covers the full range of stellar cluster mass.

Cite as: arXiv:1306.4278 [astro-ph.CO]
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