Star formation in nuclear rings of barred galaxies.
SEO W.-Y. and KIM W.-T.
Abstract (from CDS):
Nuclear rings in barred galaxies are sites of active star formation. We use hydrodynamic simulations to study the temporal and spatial behavior of star formation occurring in nuclear rings of barred galaxies where radial gas inflows are triggered solely by a bar potential. The star formation recipes include a density threshold, an efficiency, conversion of gas to star particles, and delayed momentum feedback via supernova explosions. We find that the star formation rate (SFR) in a nuclear ring is roughly equal to the mass inflow rate to the ring, while it has a weak dependence on the total gas mass in the ring. The SFR typically exhibits a strong primary burst followed by weak secondary bursts before declining to very small values. The primary burst is associated with the rapid gas infall to the ring due to the bar growth, while the secondary bursts are caused by re-infall of the ejected gas from the primary burst. While star formation in observed rings persists episodically over a few Gyr, the duration of active star formation in our models lasts for only about half of the bar growth time, suggesting that the bar potential alone is unlikely to be responsible for gas supply to the rings. When the SFR is low, most star formation occurs at the contact points between the ring and the dust lanes, leading to an azimuthal age gradient of young star clusters. When the SFR is large, on the other hand, star formation is randomly distributed over the whole circumference of the ring, resulting in no apparent azimuthal age gradient. Since the ring shrinks in size with time, star clusters also exhibit a radial age gradient, with younger clusters found closer to the ring. The cluster mass function is well described by a power law, with a slope depending on the SFR. Giant gas clouds in the rings have supersonic internal velocity dispersions and are gravitationally bound.
galaxies: ISM - galaxies: kinematics and dynamics - galaxies: nuclei - galaxies: spiral - ISM: general - shock waves - stars: formation