VALES VII. Molecular and ionized gas properties in the pressure balanced interstellar medium of starburst galaxies at z ∼ 0.15

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2020

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European Southern Observatory

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item.page.issne

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Context. Spatially resolved observations of the ionized and molecular gas are critical for understanding the physical processes that govern the interstellar medium (ISM) in galaxies. The observation of starburst systems is also important as they present extreme gas conditions that may help to test different ISM models. However, matched resolution imaging at ∼kpc scales for both ISM gas phases are usually scarce, and the ISM properties of starbursts still remain poorly understood. Aims. We aim to study the morpho-kinematic properties of the ionized and molecular gas in three dusty starburst galaxies at z = 0.12−0.17 to explore the relation between molecular ISM gas phase dynamics and the star-formation activity. Methods. We employ two-dimensional dynamical modelling to analyse Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimiter Array CO(1–0) and seeing-limited Spectrograph for INtegral Field Observations in the Near Infrared Paschen-α (Paα) observations, tracing the molecular and ionized gas morpho-kinematics at ∼kpc-scales. We use a dynamical mass model, which accounts for beam-smearing effects, to constrain the CO-to-H2 conversion factor and estimate the molecular gas mass content. Results. One starburst galaxy shows irregular morphology, which may indicate a major merger, while the other two systems show disc-like morpho-kinematics. The two disc-like starbursts show molecular gas velocity dispersion values comparable with those seen in local luminous and ultra luminous infrared galaxies but in an ISM with molecular gas fraction and surface density values in the range of the estimates reported for local star-forming galaxies. We find that these molecular gas velocity dispersion values can be explained by assuming vertical pressure equilibrium. We also find that the star-formation activity, traced by the Paα emission line, is well correlated with the molecular gas content, suggesting an enhanced star-formation efficiency and depletion times of the order of ∼0.1−1 Gyr. We find that the star-formation rate surface density (ΣSFR) correlates with the ISM pressure set by self-gravity (Pgrav) following a power law with an exponent close to 0.8. Conclusions. In dusty disc-like starburst galaxies, our data support the scenario in which the molecular gas velocity dispersion values are driven by the ISM pressure set by self-gravity and are responsible for maintaining the vertical pressure balance. The correlation between ΣSFR and Pgrav suggests that, in these dusty starbursts galaxies, the star-formation activity arises as a consequence of the ISM pressure balance.

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GALAXIES: STARBURST, ISM: KINEMATICS AND DYNAMICS, GALAXIES: STAR FORMATION

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