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2003ApJ...588..771Y - Astrophys. J., 588, 771-791 (2003/May-2)

CO molecular gas in infrared-luminous galaxies.


Abstract (from CDS):

We present the first statistical survey of the properties of the 12CO(1-0) and 12CO(3-2) line emission from the nuclei of a nearly complete subsample of 60 infrared (IR) luminous galaxies selected from SCUBA Local Universe Galaxy Survey (SLUGS). This subsample is flux limited at S60µm≥5.24 Jy with far-IR (FIR) luminosities mostly at LFIR>1010 L. We compare the emission line strengths of 12CO(1-0) and (3-2) transitions at a common resolution of ∼15". The measured 12CO(3-2) to (1-0) line intensity ratios r31vary from 0.22 to 1.72, with a mean value of 0.66 for the sources observed, indicating a large spread of the degree of excitation of CO in the sample. These CO data, together with a wide range of data at different wavelengths obtained from the literature, allow us to study the relationship between the CO excitation conditions and the physical properties of gas/dust and star formation in the central regions of galaxies. Our analysis shows that there is a nonlinear relation between CO and FIR luminosities, such that their ratio LCO/LFIRdecreases linearly with increasing LFIR. This behavior was found to be consistent with the Schmidt law relating star formation rate to molecular gas content, with an index N=1.4±0.3. We also find a possible dependence of the degree of CO gas excitation on the efficiency of star-forming activity. Using the large velocity gradient (LVG) approximation to model the observed data, we investigate the CO-to-H2conversion factor X for the SLUGS sample. The results show that the mean value of X for the SLUGS sample is lower by a factor of 10 compared to the conventional value derived for the Galaxy, if we assume the abundance of CO relative to H2, ZCO=10–4. For a subset of 12 galaxies with H I maps, we derive a mean total face-on surface density of H2+HI of about 42 M pc–2 within about 2 kpc of the nucleus. This value is intermediate between that in galaxies like our own and those with strong star formation.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxies: ISM - Galaxies: Starburst - ISM: Evolution - ISM: Molecules - Radio Lines: Galaxies - Surveys

Errata: erratum vol. 597, p. 1271 (2003)

CDS comments: MCG+01-42-088 is a misprint for MCG+01-42-008

Simbad objects: 66

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