Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Beyond the nuclear starburst? Clustered star formation in major mergers


Powell, L C; Bournaud, F; Chapon, D; Teyssier, R (2013). Beyond the nuclear starburst? Clustered star formation in major mergers. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 434(2):1028-1042.

Abstract

Recent simulation work has successfully captured the formation of the star clusters that have been observed in merging galaxies. These studies, however, tend to focus on studying extreme starbursts, such as the Antennae galaxies. We aim to establish whether there is something special occurring in these extreme systems or whether the mechanism for cluster formation is present in all mergers to a greater or lesser degree. We undertake a general study of merger-induced star formation in a sample of 5 pc resolution adaptive mesh refinement simulations of low-redshift equal-mass mergers with randomly chosen orbital parameters. We find that there is an enhanced mass fraction of very dense gas that appears as the gas density probability density function evolves during the merger. This finding has implications for the interpretation of some observations; a larger mass fraction of dense gas could account for the enhanced HCN/CO ratios seen in ultraluminous infrared galaxies and predict that αCO is lower in mergers, as for a given mass of H2, CO emission will increase in a denser environment. We also find that as the star formation rate increases, there is a correlated peak in the velocity dispersion of the gas, which we attribute to increasing turbulence driven by the interaction itself. Star formation tends to be clumpy: in some cases there is extended clumpy star formation, but even when star formation is concentrated within the inner kpc (i.e. what may be considered a nuclear starburst) it still often has a clumpy, rather than a smooth, distribution. We find no strong evidence for a clear bimodality in the Kennicutt-Schmidt relation for the average mergers simulated here. Instead, they are typically somewhat offset above the predicted quiescent relation during their starbursts.

Abstract

Recent simulation work has successfully captured the formation of the star clusters that have been observed in merging galaxies. These studies, however, tend to focus on studying extreme starbursts, such as the Antennae galaxies. We aim to establish whether there is something special occurring in these extreme systems or whether the mechanism for cluster formation is present in all mergers to a greater or lesser degree. We undertake a general study of merger-induced star formation in a sample of 5 pc resolution adaptive mesh refinement simulations of low-redshift equal-mass mergers with randomly chosen orbital parameters. We find that there is an enhanced mass fraction of very dense gas that appears as the gas density probability density function evolves during the merger. This finding has implications for the interpretation of some observations; a larger mass fraction of dense gas could account for the enhanced HCN/CO ratios seen in ultraluminous infrared galaxies and predict that αCO is lower in mergers, as for a given mass of H2, CO emission will increase in a denser environment. We also find that as the star formation rate increases, there is a correlated peak in the velocity dispersion of the gas, which we attribute to increasing turbulence driven by the interaction itself. Star formation tends to be clumpy: in some cases there is extended clumpy star formation, but even when star formation is concentrated within the inner kpc (i.e. what may be considered a nuclear starburst) it still often has a clumpy, rather than a smooth, distribution. We find no strong evidence for a clear bimodality in the Kennicutt-Schmidt relation for the average mergers simulated here. Instead, they are typically somewhat offset above the predicted quiescent relation during their starbursts.

Statistics

Citations

21 citations in Web of Science®
17 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

34 downloads since deposited on 11 Feb 2014
9 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:September 2013
Deposited On:11 Feb 2014 11:57
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:32
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0035-8711
Additional Information:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2013 The Royal Astronomical Society. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stt1036

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations