Astrophys. J., 757, 138 (2012/October-1)
The Schmidt-Kennicutt law of matched-age star-forming regions: paα observations of the early-phase interacting galaxy Taffy I.
KOMUGI S., TATEUCHI K., MOTOHARA K., TAKAGI T., IONO D., KANEKO H., UEDA J., SAITOH T.R., KATO N., KONISHI M., KOSHIDA S., MOROKUMA T., TAKAHASHI H., TANABE T. and YOSHII Y.
Abstract (from CDS):
In order to test a recent hypothesis that the dispersion in the Schmidt-Kennicutt law arises from variations in the evolutionary stage of star-forming molecular clouds, we compared molecular gas and recent star formation in an early-phase merger galaxy pair, Taffy I (UGC 12915/UGC 12914, VV 254) which went through a direct collision 20 Myr ago and whose star-forming regions are expected to have similar ages. Narrowband Paα image is obtained using the ANIR near-infrared camera on the mini-TAO 1 m telescope. The image enables us to derive accurate star formation rates within the galaxy directly. The total star formation rate, 22.2 M☉/yr, was found to be much higher than previous estimates. Ages of individual star-forming blobs estimated from equivalent widths indicate that most star-forming regions are ∼7 Myr old, except for a giant H II region at the bridge which is much younger. Comparison between star formation rates and molecular gas masses for the regions with the same age exhibits a surprisingly tight correlation, a slope of unity, and star formation efficiencies comparable to those of starburst galaxies. These results suggest that Taffy I has just evolved into a starburst system after the collision, and the star-forming sites are at a similar stage in their evolution from natal molecular clouds except for the bridge region. The tight Schmidt-Kennicutt law supports the scenario that dispersion in the star formation law is in large part due to differences in evolutionary stage of star-forming regions.
galaxies: interactions - galaxies: ISM - galaxies: starburst - H II regions - ISM: molecules
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