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  Dense gas is not enough: Environmental variations in the star formation efficiency of dense molecular gas at 100 pc scales in M 51

Querejeta, M., Schinnerer, E., Schruba, A., Murphy, E., Meidt, S., Usero, A., et al. (2019). Dense gas is not enough: Environmental variations in the star formation efficiency of dense molecular gas at 100 pc scales in M 51. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 625: A19. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201834915.

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Querejeta, M., Author
Schinnerer, E., Author
Schruba, A.1, Author              
Murphy, E., Author
Meidt, S., Author
Usero, A., Author
Leroy, A. K., Author
Pety, J., Author
Bigiel, F., Author
Chevance, M., Author
Faesi, C. M., Author
Gallagher, M., Author
García-Burillo, S., Author
Glover, S. C. O., Author
Hygate, A. P. S., Author
Jiménez-Donaire, M. J., Author
Kruijssen, J. M. D., Author
Momjian, E., Author
Rosolowsky, E., Author
Utomo, D., Author
Affiliations:
1Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society, ou_159889              

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 Abstract: It remains unclear what sets the efficiency with which molecular gas transforms into stars. Here we present a new VLA map of the spiral galaxy M 51 in 33 GHz radio continuum, an extinction-free tracer of star formation, at 3″ scales (∼100 pc). We combined this map with interferometric PdBI/NOEMA observations of CO(1–0) and HCN(1–0) at matched resolution for three regions in M 51 (central molecular ring, northern and southern spiral arm segments). While our measurements roughly fall on the well-known correlation between total infrared and HCN luminosity, bridging the gap between Galactic and extragalactic observations, we find systematic offsets from that relation for different dynamical environments probed in M 51; for example, the southern arm segment is more quiescent due to low star formation efficiency (SFE) of the dense gas, despite its high dense gas fraction. Combining our results with measurements from the literature at 100 pc scales, we find that the SFE of the dense gas and the dense gas fraction anti-correlate and correlate, respectively, with the local stellar mass surface density. This is consistent with previous kpc-scale studies. In addition, we find a significant anti-correlation between the SFE and velocity dispersion of the dense gas. Finally, we confirm that a correlation also holds between star formation rate surface density and the dense gas fraction, but it is not stronger than the correlation with dense gas surface density. Our results are hard to reconcile with models relying on a universal gas density threshold for star formation and suggest that turbulence and galactic dynamics play a major role in setting how efficiently dense gas converts into stars.

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 Dates: 2019-05-01
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201834915
Other: LOCALID: 3067273
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Title: Astronomy and Astrophysics
  Other : Astron. Astrophys.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: France : EDP Sciences S A
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 625 Sequence Number: A19 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1432-0746
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922828219_1