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Title: The Gas–Star Formation Cycle in Nearby Star-forming Galaxies. I. Assessment of Multi-scale Variations
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Award ID(s):
1653300 1903946
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. ABSTRACT We present the star formation history (SFH) of the isolated (D ∼ 970 kpc) Local Group dwarf galaxy Wolf–Lundmark–Melotte (WLM) measured from colour–magnitude diagrams (CMDs) constructed from deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging. Our observations include a central ($0.5 \, r_h$) and outer field ($0.7 \, r_h$) that reach below the oldest main-sequence turn-off. WLM has no early dominant episode of star formation: 20 per cent of its stellar mass formed by ∼12.5 Gyr ago ($z$ ∼ 5). It also has an SFR that rises to the present with 50 per cent of the stellar mass within the most recent 5 Gyr ($z$ < 0.7). There is evidence of a strong age gradient: the mean age of the outer field is 5 Gyr older than the inner field despite being only 0.4 kpc apart. Some models suggest such steep gradients are associated with strong stellar feedback and dark-matter core creation. The SFHs of real isolated dwarf galaxies and those from the Feedback in Realistic Environment suite are in good agreement for M⋆($z$ = 0) ∼ 107–109M⊙, but in worse agreement at lower masses ($M_{\star }(z=0) \sim 10^5\!-\!10^7 \, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$). These differences may be explainable by systematics in the models (e.g. reionization model) and/or observations (HST field placement). Wemore »suggest that a coordinated effort to get deep CMDs between HST/JWST (crowded central fields) and WFIRST (wide-area halo coverage) is the optimal path for measuring global SFHs of isolated dwarf galaxies.« less