Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 493, 453-466 (2009/1-2)
Star formation in M33: multiwavelength signatures across the disk.
VERLEY S., CORBELLI E., GIOVANARDI C. and HUNT L.K.
Abstract (from CDS):
We use different tracers, such as Hα, ultraviolet (UV), and infrared (IR) emissions at various wavelengths, to study the dust and star formation (SF) conditions throughout the disk of M33. We derive the radial distribution of dust, of the old and young stellar population using Spitzer and GALEX data, complemented by ground-based optical data and available surveys of atomic and molecular gas. We separate the contribution of discrete sources to the IR brightness from the diffuse emission. At 8 and 24µm, discrete sources account for >40% of the IR emission in the innermost 3kpc, and for ≲20% further out. We find that stochastic emission from very small grains in the diffuse interstellar medium accounts for only ∼10% of the diffuse 24µm emission, and that dusty circumstellar shells of unresolved, evolved AGB stars (carbon stars) are a viable alternative. The 8µm profile suggests that PAH emission declines faster with radius than the dust continuum. In annular regions 0.24kpc wide, we find a mean extinction value for the stellar continuum AV∼0.25mag with a weak dependence on radius, consistent with the shallow metallicity gradient observed. Dust opacity derived from the 160µm emission decreases instead by a factor of 10 from the center to edge of the star forming disk. Using extinction corrected UV and Hα maps we find the global SF rate in M33 over the last 100Myr to be 0.45±0.10M☉/yr. Far-IR and total-IR luminosities can trace SF even though a high conversion factor is required to recover the effective rate. If carbon stars are powering the diffuse 24µm emission in M33, this can trace star formation 1 Gyr ago and provide a more complete view of the SF history of the galaxy. Today the SF rate declines radially with a scale length of ∼2kpc, longer than for the old stellar population, suggesting an inside-out growth of the disk.
galaxies: individual: M33 - galaxies: ISM - galaxies: Local Group - galaxies: spiral
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