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The ionized gas in nearby galaxies as traced by the [NII] 122 and 205 µm transitions

Author
Organization
Abstract
The [N II] 122 and 205 pm transitions are powerful tracers of the ionized gas in the interstellar medium. By combining data from 21 galaxies selected from the Herschel KINGFISH and Beyond the Peak surveys, we have compiled 141 spatially resolved regions with a typical size of similar to 1 kpc, with observations of both [N far-infrared lines. We measure [N II] 122/205 line ratios in the similar to 0.6-6 range, which corresponds to electron gas densities of ne similar to 1-300 cm(-3), with a median value of n(e) = 30 cm(-3). Variations in the electron density within individual galaxies can be as high as a factor of similar to 50, frequently with strong radial gradients. We find that ne increases as a function of infrared color, dust-weighted mean starlight intensity, and star-formation rate (SFR) surface density (Sigma(SFR)). As the intensity of the [N II] transitions is related to the ionizing photon flux, we investigate their reliability as tracers of the SFR. We derive relations between the [N II] emission and SFR in the low-density limit and in the case of a lognormal distribution of densities. The scatter in the correlation between [N II] surface brightness and Sigma(SFR) can be understood as a property of the ne distribution. For regions with ne close to or higher than the [N II] line critical densities, the low-density limit [N n]-based SFR calibration systematically underestimates the SFR because the [N II] emission is collisionally quenched. Finally, we investigate the relation between [N II] emission, SFR, and ne by comparing our observations to predictions from the MAPPINGS-III code.
Keywords
galaxies: ISM, galaxies: star formation, ISM: structure, STAR-FORMATION RATE, ULTRALUMINOUS INFRARED GALAXIES, FINE-STRUCTURE LINES, HII-REGIONS, SUBMILLIMETER GALAXY, COLLISION STRENGTHS, INTERSTELLAR-MEDIUM, PHYSICAL CONDITIONS, STARBURST GALAXIES, RADIATION PRESSURE

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MLA
Herrera-Camus, R, A Bolatto, JD Smith, et al. “The Ionized Gas in Nearby Galaxies as Traced by the [NII] 122 and 205 Μm Transitions.” ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 826.2 (2016): n. pag. Print.
APA
Herrera-Camus, R., Bolatto, A., Smith, J., Draine, B., Pellegrini, E., Wolfire, M., Croxall, K., et al. (2016). The ionized gas in nearby galaxies as traced by the [NII] 122 and 205 µm transitions. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 826(2).
Chicago author-date
Herrera-Camus, R, A Bolatto, JD Smith, B Draine, E Pellegrini, M Wolfire, K Croxall, et al. 2016. “The Ionized Gas in Nearby Galaxies as Traced by the [NII] 122 and 205 Μm Transitions.” Astrophysical Journal 826 (2).
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Herrera-Camus, R, A Bolatto, JD Smith, B Draine, E Pellegrini, M Wolfire, K Croxall, Ilse De Looze, D Calzetti, R Kennicutt, A Crocker, L Armus, P van der Werf, K Sandstrom, M Galametz, B Brandl, B Groves, D Rigopoulou, F Walter, A Leroy, M Boquien, FS Tabatabaei, and P Beirao. 2016. “The Ionized Gas in Nearby Galaxies as Traced by the [NII] 122 and 205 Μm Transitions.” Astrophysical Journal 826 (2).
Vancouver
1.
Herrera-Camus R, Bolatto A, Smith J, Draine B, Pellegrini E, Wolfire M, et al. The ionized gas in nearby galaxies as traced by the [NII] 122 and 205 µm transitions. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL. 2016;826(2).
IEEE
[1]
R. Herrera-Camus et al., “The ionized gas in nearby galaxies as traced by the [NII] 122 and 205 µm transitions,” ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, vol. 826, no. 2, 2016.
@article{8549944,
  abstract     = {The [N II] 122 and 205 pm transitions are powerful tracers of the ionized gas in the interstellar medium. By combining data from 21 galaxies selected from the Herschel KINGFISH and Beyond the Peak surveys, we have compiled 141 spatially resolved regions with a typical size of similar to 1 kpc, with observations of both [N far-infrared lines. We measure [N II] 122/205 line ratios in the similar to 0.6-6 range, which corresponds to electron gas densities of ne similar to 1-300 cm(-3), with a median value of n(e) = 30 cm(-3). Variations in the electron density within individual galaxies can be as high as a factor of similar to 50, frequently with strong radial gradients. We find that ne increases as a function of infrared color, dust-weighted mean starlight intensity, and star-formation rate (SFR) surface density (Sigma(SFR)). As the intensity of the [N II] transitions is related to the ionizing photon flux, we investigate their reliability as tracers of the SFR. We derive relations between the [N II] emission and SFR in the low-density limit and in the case of a lognormal distribution of densities. The scatter in the correlation between [N II] surface brightness and Sigma(SFR) can be understood as a property of the ne distribution. For regions with ne close to or higher than the [N II] line critical densities, the low-density limit [N n]-based SFR calibration systematically underestimates the SFR because the [N II] emission is collisionally quenched. Finally, we investigate the relation between [N II] emission, SFR, and ne by comparing our observations to predictions from the MAPPINGS-III code.},
  articleno    = {175},
  author       = {Herrera-Camus, R and Bolatto, A and Smith, JD and Draine, B and Pellegrini, E and Wolfire, M and Croxall, K and De Looze, Ilse and Calzetti, D and Kennicutt, R and Crocker, A and Armus, L and van der Werf, P and Sandstrom, K and Galametz, M and Brandl, B and Groves, B and Rigopoulou, D and Walter, F and Leroy, A and Boquien, M and Tabatabaei, FS and Beirao, P},
  issn         = {0004-637X},
  journal      = {ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL},
  keywords     = {galaxies: ISM,galaxies: star formation,ISM: structure,STAR-FORMATION RATE,ULTRALUMINOUS INFRARED GALAXIES,FINE-STRUCTURE LINES,HII-REGIONS,SUBMILLIMETER GALAXY,COLLISION STRENGTHS,INTERSTELLAR-MEDIUM,PHYSICAL CONDITIONS,STARBURST GALAXIES,RADIATION PRESSURE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {17},
  title        = {The ionized gas in nearby galaxies as traced by the [NII] 122 and 205 µm transitions},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/0004-637x/826/2/175},
  volume       = {826},
  year         = {2016},
}

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