Turbulence and star formation in a sample of spiral galaxies.
MAIER E., CHIEN L.-H. and HUNTER D.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
We investigate turbulent gas motions in spiral galaxies and their importance to star formation in far outer disks, where the column density is typically far below the critical value for spontaneous gravitational collapse. Following the methods of Burkhart et al. on the Small Magellanic Cloud, we use the third and fourth statistical moments, as indicators of structures caused by turbulence, to examine the neutral hydrogen (H i) column density of a sample of spiral galaxies selected from The H i Nearby Galaxy Survey. We apply the statistical moments in three different methods-the galaxy as a whole, divided into a function of radii and then into grids. We create individual grid maps of kurtosis for each galaxy. To investigate the relation between these moments and star formation, we compare these maps with their far-ultraviolet images taken by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite.We find that the moments are largely uniform across the galaxies, in which the variation does not appear to trace any star-forming regions. This may, however, be due to the spatial resolution of our analysis, which could potentially limit the scale of turbulent motions that we are sensitive to greater than ∼700 pc. From comparison between the moments themselves, we find that the gas motions in our sampled galaxies are largely supersonic. This analysis also shows that the Burkhart et al. methods may be applied not just to dwarf galaxies but also to normal spiral galaxies.