Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 449, 3700-3709 (2015/June-1)
The spatially resolved Kennicutt-Schmidt relation in the HI-dominated regions of spiral and dwarf irregular galaxies.
ROYCHOWDHURY S., HUANG M.-L., KAUFFMANN G., WANG J. and CHENGALUR J.N.
Abstract (from CDS):
We study the Kennicutt-Schmidt relation between average star formation rate (SFR) and average cold gas surface density in the H i-dominated ISM of nearby spiral and dwarf irregular galaxies. We divide galaxies into grid cells varying from sub-kpc to tens of kpc in size. Grid-cell measurements of low SFRs using Hα emission can be biased and scatter may be introduced because of non-uniform sampling of the IMF or because of stochastically varying star formation. In order to alleviate these issues, we use far-ultraviolet emission to trace SFR, and we sum up the fluxes from different bins with the same gas surface density to calculate the average ΣSFR at a given value of Σgas. We study the resulting Kennicutt-Schmidt relation in 400 pc, 1 kpc and 10 kpc scale grids in nearby massive spirals and in 400 pc scale grids in nearby faint dwarf irregulars. We find a relation with a power-law slope of 1.5 in the H i-dominated regions for both kinds of galaxies. The relation is offset towards longer gas consumption time-scales compared to the molecular-hydrogen-dominated centres of spirals, but the offset is an order of magnitude less than that quoted by earlier studies. Our results lead to the surprising conclusion that conversion of gas to stars is independent of metallicity in the H i-dominated regions of star-forming galaxies. Our observed relations are better fit by a model of star formation based on thermal and hydrostatic equilibrium in the ISM, in which stellar heating and supernova feedback set the thermal and turbulent pressure.