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Star formation rates in resolved galaxies: calibrations with near- and far-infrared data for NGC 5055 and NGC 6946

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Abstract
We use the near-infrared Br gamma hydrogen recombination line as a reference star formation rate (SFR) indicator to test the validity and establish the calibration of the Herschel/PACS 70 mu m emission as a SFR tracer for sub-galactic regions in external galaxies. Br gamma offers the double advantage of directly tracing ionizing photons and of being relatively insensitive to the effects of dust attenuation. For our first experiment, we use archival Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Br gamma and Ks images of two nearby galaxies: NGC 5055 and NGC 6946, which are also part of the Herschel program KINGFISH (Key Insights on Nearby Galaxies: a Far-Infrared Survey with Herschel). We use the extinction corrected Br gamma emission to derive the SFR(70) calibration for H II regions in these two galaxies. A comparison of the SFR(70) calibrations at different spatial scales, from 200 pc to the size of the whole galaxy, reveals that about 50% of the total 70 mu m emission is due to dust heated by stellar populations that are unrelated to the current star formation. We use a simple model to qualitatively relate the increase of the SFR(70) calibration coefficient with decreasing region size to the star formation timescale. We provide a calibration for an unbiased SFR indicator that combines the observed Ha with the 70 mu m emission, also for use in H II regions. We briefly analyze the PACS 100 and 160 mu m maps and find that longer wavelengths are not as good SFR indicators as 70 mu m, in agreement with previous results. We find that the calibrations show about 50% difference between the two galaxies, possibly due to effects of inclination.
Keywords
MAGELLANIC CLOUDS, FORMATION LAW, FORMING GALAXIES, SPIRAL GALAXIES, STARBURST GALAXIES, HII-REGIONS, ISM: structure, H-II-REGIONS, FORMATION RATE INDICATORS, DIFFUSE IONIZED-GAS, NEARBY GALAXIES, infrared: galaxies, H II regions, galaxies: ISM, infrared: ISM

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Citation

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Chicago
Li, Yiming, Alison F Crocker, Daniela Calzetti, Christine D Wilson, Robert C Kennicutt, Eric J Murphy, Bernhard R Brandl, et al. 2013. “Star Formation Rates in Resolved Galaxies: Calibrations with Near- and Far-infrared Data for NGC 5055 and NGC 6946.” Astrophysical Journal 768 (2).
APA
Li, Yiming, Crocker, A. F., Calzetti, D., Wilson, C. D., Kennicutt, R. C., Murphy, E. J., Brandl, B. R., et al. (2013). Star formation rates in resolved galaxies: calibrations with near- and far-infrared data for NGC 5055 and NGC 6946. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 768(2).
Vancouver
1.
Li Y, Crocker AF, Calzetti D, Wilson CD, Kennicutt RC, Murphy EJ, et al. Star formation rates in resolved galaxies: calibrations with near- and far-infrared data for NGC 5055 and NGC 6946. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL. 2013;768(2).
MLA
Li, Yiming, Alison F Crocker, Daniela Calzetti, et al. “Star Formation Rates in Resolved Galaxies: Calibrations with Near- and Far-infrared Data for NGC 5055 and NGC 6946.” ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 768.2 (2013): n. pag. Print.
@article{4396879,
  abstract     = {We use the near-infrared Br gamma hydrogen recombination line as a reference star formation rate (SFR) indicator to test the validity and establish the calibration of the Herschel/PACS 70 mu m emission as a SFR tracer for sub-galactic regions in external galaxies. Br gamma offers the double advantage of directly tracing ionizing photons and of being relatively insensitive to the effects of dust attenuation. For our first experiment, we use archival Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Br gamma and Ks images of two nearby galaxies: NGC 5055 and NGC 6946, which are also part of the Herschel program KINGFISH (Key Insights on Nearby Galaxies: a Far-Infrared Survey with Herschel). We use the extinction corrected Br gamma emission to derive the SFR(70) calibration for H II regions in these two galaxies. A comparison of the SFR(70) calibrations at different spatial scales, from 200 pc to the size of the whole galaxy, reveals that about 50\% of the total 70 mu m emission is due to dust heated by stellar populations that are unrelated to the current star formation. We use a simple model to qualitatively relate the increase of the SFR(70) calibration coefficient with decreasing region size to the star formation timescale. We provide a calibration for an unbiased SFR indicator that combines the observed Ha with the 70 mu m emission, also for use in H II regions. We briefly analyze the PACS 100 and 160 mu m maps and find that longer wavelengths are not as good SFR indicators as 70 mu m, in agreement with previous results. We find that the calibrations show about 50\% difference between the two galaxies, possibly due to effects of inclination.},
  articleno    = {180},
  author       = {Li, Yiming and Crocker, Alison F and Calzetti, Daniela and Wilson, Christine D and Kennicutt, Robert C and Murphy, Eric J and Brandl, Bernhard R and Draine, BT and Galametz, M and Johnson, BD and Armus, L and Gordon, Karl and Croxall, K and Dale, DA and Engelbracht, CW and Groves, B and Hao, C-N and Helou, G and Hinz, J and Hunt, LK and Krause, O and Roussel, H and Sauvage, M and Smith, JDT},
  issn         = {0004-637X},
  journal      = {ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {18},
  title        = {Star formation rates in resolved galaxies: calibrations with near- and far-infrared data for NGC 5055 and NGC 6946},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/768/2/180},
  volume       = {768},
  year         = {2013},
}

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