skip to main content

Title: PHANGS–JWST First Results: Variations in PAH Fraction as a Function of ISM Phase and Metallicity

We present maps tracing the fraction of dust in the form of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in IC 5332, NGC 628, NGC 1365, and NGC 7496 from JWST/MIRI observations. We trace the PAH fraction by combining the F770W (7.7μm) and F1130W (11.3μm) filters to track ionized and neutral PAH emission, respectively, and comparing the PAH emission to F2100W, which traces small, hot dust grains. We find the averageRPAH= (F770W + F1130W)/F2100W values of 3.3, 4.7, 5.1, and 3.6 in IC 5332, NGC 628, NGC 1365, and NGC 7496, respectively. We find that Hiiregions traced by MUSE Hαshow a systematically low PAH fraction. The PAH fraction remains relatively constant across other galactic environments, with slight variations. We use CO+Hi+Hαto trace the interstellar gas phase and find that the PAH fraction decreases above a value ofIHα/ΣHI+H21037.5ergs1kpc2(Mpc2)1in all four galaxies. Radial profiles also show a decreasing PAH fraction with increasing radius, correlated with lower metallicity, in line with previous results showing a strong metallicity dependence to the PAH fraction. Our results suggest that the process of PAH destruction in ionized gas operates similarly across the four targets.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Medium: X Size: Article No. L11
["Article No. L11"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Large-scale bars can fuel galaxy centers with molecular gas, often leading to the development of dense ringlike structures where intense star formation occurs, forming a very different environment compared to galactic disks. We pair ∼0.″3 (30 pc) resolution new JWST/MIRI imaging with archival ALMA CO(2–1) mapping of the central ∼5 kpc of the nearby barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 to investigate the physical mechanisms responsible for this extreme star formation. The molecular gas morphology is resolved into two well-known bright bar lanes that surround a smooth dynamically cold gas disk (Rgal∼ 475 pc) reminiscent of non-star-forming disks in early-type galaxies and likely fed by gas inflow triggered by stellar feedback in the lanes. The lanes host a large number of JWST-identified massive young star clusters. We find some evidence for temporal star formation evolution along the ring. The complex kinematics in the gas lanes reveal strong streaming motions and may be consistent with convergence of gas streamlines expected there. Indeed, the extreme line widths are found to be the result of inter-“cloud” motion between gas peaks;ScousePydecomposition reveals multiple components with line widths of 〈σCO,scouse〉 ≈ 19 km s−1and surface densities ofΣH2,scouse800Mpc2, similar to the properties observed throughout the rest of the central molecular gas structure. Tailored hydrodynamical simulations exhibit many of the observed properties and imply that the observed structures are transient and highly time-variable. From our study of NGC 1365, we conclude that it is predominantly the high gas inflow triggered by the bar that is setting the star formation in its CMZ.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    We present a Keck/MOSFIRE rest-optical composite spectrum of 16 typical gravitationally lensed star-forming dwarf galaxies at 1.7 ≲z≲ 2.6 (zmean= 2.30), all chosen independent of emission-line strength. These galaxies have a median stellar mass oflog(M*/M)med=8.290.43+0.51and a median star formation rate ofSFRHαmed=2.251.26+2.15Myr1. We measure the faint electron-temperature-sensitive [Oiii]λ4363 emission line at 2.5σ(4.1σ) significance when considering a bootstrapped (statistical-only) uncertainty spectrum. This yields a direct-method oxygen abundance of12+log(O/H)direct=7.880.22+0.25(0.150.06+0.12Z). We investigate the applicability at highzof locally calibrated oxygen-based strong-line metallicity relations, finding that the local reference calibrations of Bian et al. best reproduce (≲0.12 dex) our composite metallicity at fixed strong-line ratio. At fixedM*, our composite is well represented by thez∼ 2.3 direct-method stellar mass—gas-phase metallicity relation (MZR) of Sanders et al. When comparing to predicted MZRs from the IllustrisTNG and FIRE simulations, having recalculated our stellar masses with more realistic nonparametric star formation histories(log(M*/M)med=8.920.22+0.31), we find excellent agreement with the FIRE MZR. Our composite is consistent with no metallicity evolution, at fixedM*and SFR, of the locally defined fundamental metallicity relation. We measure the doublet ratio [Oii]λ3729/[Oii]λ3726 = 1.56 ± 0.32 (1.51 ± 0.12) and a corresponding electron density ofne=10+215cm3(ne=10+74cm3) when considering the bootstrapped (statistical-only) error spectrum. This result suggests that lower-mass galaxies have lower densities than higher-mass galaxies atz∼ 2.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Cosmic reionization was the last major phase transition of hydrogen from neutral to highly ionized in the intergalactic medium (IGM). Current observations show that the IGM is significantly neutral atz> 7 and largely ionized byz∼ 5.5. However, most methods to measure the IGM neutral fraction are highly model dependent and are limited to when the volume-averaged neutral fraction of the IGM is either relatively low (x¯HI103) or close to unity (x¯HI1). In particular, the neutral fraction evolution of the IGM at the critical redshift range ofz= 6–7 is poorly constrained. We present new constraints onx¯HIatz∼ 5.1–6.8 by analyzing deep optical spectra of 53 quasars at 5.73 <z< 7.09. We derive model-independent upper limits on the neutral hydrogen fraction based on the fraction of “dark” pixels identified in the Lyαand Lyβforests, without any assumptions on the IGM model or the intrinsic shape of the quasar continuum. They are the first model-independent constraints on the IGM neutral hydrogen fraction atz∼ 6.2–6.8 using quasar absorption measurements. Our results give upper limits ofx¯HI(z=6.3)<0.79±0.04(1σ),x¯HI(z=6.5)<0.87±0.03(1σ), andx¯HI(z=6.7)<0.940.09+0.06(1σ). The dark pixel fractions atz> 6.1 are consistent with the redshift evolution of the neutral fraction of the IGM derived from Planck 2018.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    We present thez≈ 6 type-1 quasar luminosity function (QLF), based on the Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) quasar survey. The PS1 sample includes 125 quasars atz≈ 5.7–6.2, with −28 ≲M1450≲ −25. With the addition of 48 fainter quasars from the SHELLQs survey, we evaluate thez≈ 6 QLF over −28 ≲M1450≲ −22. Adopting a double power law with an exponential evolution of the quasar density (Φ(z) ∝ 10k(z−6);k= −0.7), we use a maximum likelihood method to model our data. We find a break magnitude ofM*=26.380.60+0.79mag, a faint-end slope ofα=1.700.19+0.29, and a steep bright-end slope ofβ=3.841.21+0.63. Based on our new QLF model, we determine the quasar comoving spatial density atz≈ 6 to ben(M1450<26)=1.160.12+0.13cGpc3. In comparison with the literature, we find the quasar density to evolve with a constant value ofk≈ −0.7, fromz≈ 7 toz≈ 4. Additionally, we derive an ionizing emissivity ofϵ912(z=6)=7.231.02+1.65×1022ergs1Hz1cMpc3, based on the QLF measurement. Given standard assumptions, and the recent measurement of the mean free path by Becker et al. atz≈ 6, we calculate an Hiphotoionizing rate of ΓH I(z= 6) ≈ 6 × 10−16s−1, strongly disfavoring a dominant role of quasars in hydrogen reionization.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    We analyze the CO-to-H2conversion factor (αCO) in the nearby barred spiral galaxy M83. We present new Hiobservations from the VLA and single-dish GBT in the disk of the galaxy, and combine them with maps of CO(1-0) integrated intensity and dust surface density from the literature.αCOand the gas-to-dust ratio (δGDR) are simultaneously derived in annuli of 2 kpc width fromR= 1–7 kpc. We find thatαCOandδGDRboth increase radially, by a factor of ∼2–3 from the center to the outskirts of the disk. The luminosity-weighted averages over the disk areαCO= 3.14 (2.06, 4.96)Mpc2[Kkms1]1andδGDR= 137 (111, 182) at the 68% (1σ) confidence level. These are consistent with theαCOandδGDRvalues measured in the Milky Way. In addition to possible variations ofαCOdue to the radial metallicity gradient, we test the possibility of variations inαCOdue to changes in the underlying cloud populations, as a function of galactic radius. Using a truncated power-law molecular cloud CO luminosity function and an empirical power-law relation for cloud mass and luminosity, we show that the changes in the underlying cloud population may account for a factor of ∼1.5–2.0 radial change inαCO.

    more » « less