skip to main content

Title: Ultra-diffuse Galaxies as Extreme Star-forming Environments. I. Mapping Star Formation in H i-rich UDGs

Ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) are both extreme products of galaxy evolution and extreme environments in which to test our understanding of star formation. In this work, we contrast the spatially resolved star formation activity of a sample of 22 Hi-selected UDGs and 35 low-mass galaxies from the NASA Sloan Atlas (NSA) catalog within 120 Mpc. We employ a new joint spectral energy distribution fitting method to compute star formation rate and stellar mass surface density maps that leverage the high spatial resolution optical imaging data of the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program and the UV coverage of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, along with Hiradial profiles estimated from a subset of galaxies that have spatially resolved Himaps. We find that UDGs have low star formation efficiencies as a function of their atomic gas down to scales of 500 pc. We additionally find that the stellar mass-weighted sizes of our UDG sample are unremarkable when considered as a function of their Himass—their stellar sizes are comparable to NSA dwarfs at fixed Himass. This is a natural result in the picture where UDGs are forming stars normally, but at low efficiencies. We compare our results to predictions from contemporary models of galaxy formation, more » and find in particular that our observations are difficult to reproduce in models where UDGs undergo stellar expansion due to vigorous star formation feedback should bursty star formation be required down toz= 0.

« less
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 11
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract In addition to occupying the extreme, diffuse tail of the dwarf galaxy population, ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) are themselves a key laboratory in which to study star formation in extreme low-density environments. In the second paper of this series, we compare the spatially resolved star formation activity of 22 H i -selected UDGs and 21 “normal” dwarf galaxies within 120 Mpc to predictions within the pressure-regulated, feedback-modulated (PRFM) theory of star formation. To do so, we employ a joint spectral energy distribution fitting method that allows us to estimate star formation rate and stellar mass surface density from UV-optical imaging. We find that the PRFM framework extends successfully to the UDG regime—although the UDGs in our sample show unusually low star formation rate surface densities given their H i content, this low star formation efficiency can be naturally explained by the diffuse structure of the UDGs. In fact, when cast in the PRFM framework, the relationship between midplane pressure and star formation in the UDG sample is in good agreement not only with the “normal” dwarf reference sample, but also with measurements from more massive galaxies. Our results suggest that despite their low star formation efficiencies, the H i -richmore »UDGs need not be forming stars in an exotic manner. We also find that the UDGs are likely H 2 poor compared even to the overall dwarf population.« less

    We investigate the origin of rare star formation in an otherwise red-and-dead population of S0 galaxies, using spatially resolved spectroscopy. Our sample consists of 120 low redshift (z < 0.1) star-forming S0 (SF-S0) galaxies from the SDSS-IV MaNGA DR15. We have selected this sample after a visual inspection of deep images from the DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys DR9 and the Subaru/HSC-SSP survey PDR3 to remove contamination from spiral galaxies. We also construct two control samples of star-forming spirals (SF-Sps) and quenched S0s (Q-S0s) to explore their evolutionary link with the star-forming S0s. To study star formation at resolved scales, we use dust-corrected H α luminosity and stellar density (Σ⋆) maps to construct radial profiles of star formation rate (SFR) surface density (ΣSFR) and specific SFR (sSFR). Examining these radial profiles, we find that star formation in SF-S0s is centrally dominated as opposed to disc-dominated star formation in spirals. We also compared various global (size–mass relation, bulge-to-total luminosity ratio) and local (central stellar velocity dispersion) properties of SF-S0s to those of the control sample galaxies. We find that SF-S0s are structurally similar to the quenched S0s and are different from star-forming spirals. We infer that SF-S0s are unlikely to be fadingmore »spirals. Inspecting stellar and gas velocity maps, we find that more than $50{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the SF-S0 sample shows signs of recent galaxy interactions such as kinematic misalignment, counter-rotation, and unsettled kinematics. Based on these results, we conclude that in our sample of SF-S0s, star formation has been rejuvenated, with minor mergers likely to be a major driver.

    « less
  3. Abstract We report the first spatially resolved measurements of gas-phase metallicity radial gradients in star-forming galaxies in overdense environments at z ≳ 2. The spectroscopic data are acquired by the MAMMOTH-Grism survey, a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) cycle 28 medium program. This program is obtaining 45 orbits of WFC3/IR grism spectroscopy in the density peak regions of three massive galaxy protoclusters (BOSS 1244, BOSS 1542, and BOSS 1441) at z = 2–3. Our sample in the BOSS 1244 field consists of 20 galaxies with stellar mass ranging from 10 9.0 to 10 10.3 M ⊙ , star formation rate (SFR) from 10 to 240 M ⊙ yr −1 , and global gas-phase metallicity ( 12 + log ( O / H ) ) from 8.2 to 8.6. At 1 σ confidence level, 2/20 galaxies in our sample show positive (inverted) gradients—the relative abundance of oxygen increasing with galactocentric radius, opposite the usual trend. Furthermore, 1/20 shows negative gradients, and 17/20 are consistent with flat gradients. This high fraction of flat/inverted gradients is uncommon in simulations and previous observations conducted in blank fields at similar redshifts. To understand this, we investigate the correlations among various observed properties of our sample galaxies.more »We find an anticorrelation between metallicity gradient and global metallicity of our galaxies residing in extreme overdensities, and a marked deficiency of metallicity in our massive galaxies as compared to their coeval field counterparts. We conclude that the cold-mode gas accretion plays an active role in shaping the chemical evolution of galaxies in the protocluster environments, diluting their central chemical abundance, and flattening/inverting their metallicity gradients.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We investigate the spatial structure and evolution of star formation and the interstellar medium (ISM) in interacting galaxies. We use an extensive suite of parsec-scale galaxy-merger simulations (stellar mass ratio = 2.5:1), which employs the ‘Feedback In Realistic Environments-2’ model (fire-2). This framework resolves star formation, feedback processes, and the multiphase structure of the ISM. We focus on the galaxy-pair stages of interaction. We find that close encounters substantially augment cool (H i) and cold-dense (H2) gas budgets, elevating the formation of new stars as a result. This enhancement is centrally concentrated for the secondary galaxy, and more radially extended for the primary. This behaviour is weakly dependent on orbital geometry. We also find that galaxies with elevated global star formation rate (SFR) experience intense nuclear SFR enhancement, driven by high levels of either star formation efficiency (SFE) or available cold-dense gas fuel. Galaxies with suppressed global SFR also contain a nuclear cold-dense gas reservoir, but low SFE levels diminish SFR in the central region. Concretely, in the majority of cases, SFR enhancement in the central kiloparsec is fuel-driven (55 per cent for the secondary, 71 per cent for the primary) – while central SFR suppression is efficiency-driven (91 per cent for the secondary, 97 per cent formore »the primary). Our numerical predictions underscore the need of substantially larger, and/or merger-dedicated, spatially resolved galaxy surveys – capable of examining vast and diverse samples of interacting systems – coupled with multiwavelength campaigns aimed to capture their internal ISM structure.« less
  5. ABSTRACT We present the first detailed study of the spatially resolved dust continuum emission of simulated galaxies at 1 < z < 5. We run the radiative transfer code skirt on a sample of submillimetre-bright galaxies drawn from the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) project. These simulated galaxies reach Milky Way masses by z = 2. Our modelling provides predictions for the full rest-frame far-ultraviolet-to-far-infrared spectral energy distributions of these simulated galaxies, as well as 25-pc resolution maps of their emission across the wavelength spectrum. The derived morphologies are notably different in different wavebands, with the same galaxy often appearing clumpy and extended in the far-ultraviolet yet an ordered spiral at far-infrared wavelengths. The observed-frame 870-$\mu$m half-light radii of our FIRE-2 galaxies are ${\sim} 0.5\rm {-}4\, \rm {kpc}$, consistent with existing ALMA observations of galaxies with similarly high redshifts and stellar masses. In both simulated and observed galaxies, the dust continuum emission is generally more compact than the cold gas and the dust mass, but more extended than the stellar component. The most extreme cases of compact dust emission seem to be driven by particularly compact recent star formation, which generates steep dust temperature gradients. Our results confirm that the spatial extent of the dust continuummore »emission is sensitive to both the dust mass and star formation rate distributions.« less