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  1. ABSTRACT

    We study the scaling relations between gas-phase metallicity, stellar mass surface density (Σ*), star formation rate surface density (ΣSFR), and molecular gas surface density ($\Sigma _{{\rm H}_2}$) in local star-forming galaxies on scales of a kpc. We employ optical integral field spectroscopy from the Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) survey, and ALMA data for a subset of MaNGA galaxies. We use partial correlation coefficients and Random Forest regression to determine the relative importance of local and global galactic properties in setting the gas-phase metallicity. We find that the local metallicity depends primarily on Σ* (the resolved mass–metallicity relation, rMZR), and has a secondary anticorrelation with ΣSFR (i.e. a spatially resolved version of the ‘Fundamental Metallicity Relation’, rFMR). We find that $\Sigma _{{\rm H}_2}$ is less important than ΣSFR in determining the local metallicity. This result indicates that gas accretion, resulting in local metallicity dilution and local boosting of star formation, is unlikely to be the primary origin of the rFMR. The local metallicity depends also on the global properties of galaxies. We find a strong dependence on the total stellar mass (M*) and a weaker (inverse) dependence on the total SFR. The global metallicity scaling relations, therefore, do not simply stem out of their resolved counterparts; global properties and processes, such as the global gravitational potential well, galaxy-scale winds and global redistribution/mixing of metals, likely contribute to the local metallicity, in addition to local production and retention.

     
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  2. Abstract

    The Sloan Digital Sky Survey MaNGA program has now obtained integral field spectroscopy for over 10,000 galaxies in the nearby universe. We use the final MaNGA data release DR17 to study the correlation between ionized gas velocity dispersion and galactic star formation rate, finding a tight correlation in whichσHαfrom galactic Hiiregions increases significantly from ∼18–30 km s−1, broadly in keeping with previous studies. In contrast,σHαfrom diffuse ionized gas increases more rapidly from 20–60 km s−1. Using the statistical power of MaNGA, we investigate these correlations in greater detail using multiple emission lines and determine that the observed correlation ofσHαwith local star formation rate surface density is driven primarily by the global relation of increasing velocity dispersion at higher total star formation rate, as are apparent correlations with stellar mass. Assuming Hiiregion models consistent with our finding thatσ[OIII]<σHα<σ[O I], we estimate the velocity dispersion of the molecular gas in which the individual Hiiregions are embedded, finding valuesσMol= 5–30 km s−1consistent with ALMA observations in a similar mass range. Finally, we use variations in the relation with inclination and disk azimuthal angle to constrain the velocity dispersion ellipsoid of the ionized gasσz/σr= 0.84 ± 0.03 andσϕ/σr= 0.91 ± 0.03, similar to that of young stars in the Galactic disk. Our results are most consistent with the theoretical models in which turbulence in modern galactic disks is driven primarily by star formation feedback.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT

    We investigate which physical properties are most predictive of the position of local star forming galaxies on the BPT diagrams, by means of different Machine Learning (ML) algorithms. Exploiting the large statistics from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), we define a framework in which the deviation of star-forming galaxies from their median sequence can be described in terms of the relative variations in a variety of observational parameters. We train artificial neural networks (ANN) and random forest (RF) trees to predict whether galaxies are offset above or below the sequence (via classification), and to estimate the exact magnitude of the offset itself (via regression). We find, with high significance, that parameters primarily associated to variations in the nitrogen-over-oxygen abundance ratio (N/O) are the most predictive for the [N ii]-BPT diagram, whereas properties related to star formation (like variations in SFR or EW(H α)) perform better in the [S ii]-BPT diagram. We interpret the former as a reflection of the N/O–O/H relationship for local galaxies, while the latter as primarily tracing the variation in the effective size of the S+ emitting region, which directly impacts the [S ii] emission lines. This analysis paves the way to assess to what extent the physics shaping local BPT diagrams is also responsible for the offsets seen in high redshift galaxies or, instead, whether a different framework or even different mechanisms need to be invoked.

     
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  4. ABSTRACT

    We investigate the nature of the scaling relations between the surface density of star formation rate (ΣSFR), stellar mass (Σ*), and molecular gas mass ($\Sigma _{\rm H_2}$), aiming at distinguishing between the relations that are primary, i.e. more fundamental, and those which are instead an indirect by-product of the other relations. We use the ALMA-MaNGA QUEnching and STar formation survey and analyse the data by using both partial correlations and random forest regression techniques. We unambiguously find that the strongest intrinsic correlation is between ΣSFR and $\Sigma _{\rm H_2}$ (i.e. the resolved Schmidt–Kennicutt relation), followed by the correlation between $\Sigma _{\rm H_2}$ and Σ* (resolved molecular gas main sequence, rMGMS). Once these two correlations are taken into account, we find that there is no evidence for any intrinsic correlation between ΣSFR and Σ*, implying that star formation rate (SFR) is entirely driven by the amount of molecular gas, while its dependence on stellar mass (i.e. the resolved star forming main sequence, rSFMS) simply emerges as a consequence of the relationship between molecular gas and stellar mass.

     
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  5. Abstract Physical and chemical properties of the interstellar medium (ISM) at subgalactic (∼kiloparsec) scales play an indispensable role in controlling the ability of gas to form stars. In this paper, we use the TNG50 cosmological simulation to explore the physical parameter space of eight resolved ISM properties in star-forming regions to constrain the areas of this hyperspace where most star-forming environments exist. We deconstruct our simulated galaxies spanning a wide range of mass ( M ⋆ = 10 7 –10 11 M ⊙ ) and redshift (0 ≤ z ≤ 3) into kiloparsec-sized regions and statistically analyze the gas/stellar surface densities, gas metallicity, vertical stellar velocity dispersion, epicyclic frequency, and dark-matter volumetric density representative of each region in the context of their star formation activity and environment (radial galactocentric location). By examining the star formation rate (SFR) weighted distributions of these properties, we show that stars primarily form in two distinct environmental regimes, which are brought about by an underlying bicomponent radial SFR profile in galaxies. We examine how the relative prominence of these regimes depends on galaxy mass and cosmic time. We also compare our findings with those from integral field spectroscopy observations and find similarities as well as departures. Further, using dimensionality reduction, we characterize the aforementioned hyperspace to reveal a high degree of multicollinearity in relationships among ISM properties that drive the distribution of star formation at kiloparsec scales. Based on this, we show that a reduced 3D representation underpinned by a multivariate radius relationship is sufficient to capture most of the variance in the original 8D space. 
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  6. ABSTRACT

    We use new HCN(1–0) data from the ACA Large-sample Mapping Of Nearby galaxies in Dense gas (ALMOND) survey to trace the kpc-scale molecular gas density structure and CO(2–1) data from the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS–Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (PHANGS–ALMA) to trace the bulk molecular gas across 25 nearby star-forming galaxies. At 2.1 kpc scale, we measure the density-sensitive HCN/CO line ratio and the star formation rate (SFR)/HCN ratio to trace the star formation efficiency in the denser molecular medium. At 150 pc scale, we measure structural and dynamical properties of the molecular gas via CO(2–1) line emission, which is linked to the lower resolution data using an intensity-weighted averaging method. We find positive correlations (negative) of HCN/CO (SFR/HCN) with the surface density, the velocity dispersion, and the internal turbulent pressure of the molecular gas. These observed correlations agree with expected trends from turbulent models of star formation, which consider a single free-fall time gravitational collapse. Our results show that the kpc-scale HCN/CO line ratio is a powerful tool to trace the 150 pc scale average density distribution of the molecular clouds. Lastly, we find systematic variations of the SFR/HCN ratio with cloud-scale molecular gas properties, which are incompatible with a universal star formation efficiency. Overall, these findings show that mean molecular gas density, molecular cloud properties, and star formation are closely linked in a coherent way, and observations of density-sensitive molecular gas tracers are a useful tool to analyse these variations, linking molecular gas physics to stellar output across galaxy discs.

     
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  7. We use the statistical power of the MaNGA integral-field spectroscopic galaxy survey to improve the definition of strong line diagnostic boundaries used to classify gas ionization properties in galaxies. We detect line emission from 3.6 million spaxels distributed across 7400 individual galaxies spanning a wide range of stellar masses, star formation rates, and morphological types, and find that the gas-phase velocity dispersion σHα correlates strongly with traditional optical emission-line ratios such as [S II]/Hα, [N II]/Hα, [O I]/Hα, and [O III]/Hβ. Spaxels whose line ratios are most consistent with ionization by galactic H II regions exhibit a narrow range of dynamically cold line-of-sight velocity distributions (LOSVDs) peaked around 25 km s-1 corresponding to a galactic thin disk, while those consistent with ionization by active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and low-ionization emission-line regions (LI(N)ERs) have significantly broader LOSVDs extending to 200 km s-1. Star-forming, AGN, and LI(N)ER regions are additionally well separated from each other in terms of their stellar velocity dispersion, stellar population age, Hα equivalent width, and typical radius within a given galaxy. We use our observations to revise the traditional emission-line diagnostic classifications so that they reliably identify distinct dynamical samples both in two-dimensional representations of the diagnostic line ratio space and in a multidimensional space that accounts for the complex folding of the star-forming model surface. By comparing the MaNGA observations to the SDSS single-fiber galaxy sample, we note that the latter is systematically biased against young, low-metallicity star-forming regions that lie outside of the 3″ fiber footprint. 
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  9. Abstract

    We use PHANGS–James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) data to identify and classify 1271 compact 21μm sources in four nearby galaxies using MIRI F2100W data. We identify sources using a dendrogram-based algorithm, and we measure the background-subtracted flux densities for JWST bands from 2 to 21μm. Using the spectral energy distribution (SED) in JWST and HST bands plus ALMA and MUSE/VLT observations, we classify the sources by eye. Then we use this classification to define regions in color–color space and so establish a quantitative framework for classifying sources. We identify 1085 sources as belonging to the ISM of the target galaxies with the remainder being dusty stars or background galaxies. These 21μm sources are strongly spatially associated with Hiiregions (>92% of sources), while 74% of the sources are coincident with a stellar association defined in the HST data. Using SED fitting, we find that the stellar masses of the 21μm sources span a range of 102–104Mwith mass-weighted ages down to 2 Myr. There is a tight correlation between attenuation-corrected Hαand 21μm luminosity forLν,F2100W> 1019W Hz−1. Young embedded source candidates selected at 21μm are found below this threshold and haveM< 103M.

     
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  10. Abstract We compare mid-infrared (mid-IR), extinction-corrected H α , and CO (2–1) emission at 70–160 pc resolution in the first four PHANGS–JWST targets. We report correlation strengths, intensity ratios, and power-law fits relating emission in JWST’s F770W, F1000W, F1130W, and F2100W bands to CO and H α . At these scales, CO and H α each correlate strongly with mid-IR emission, and these correlations are each stronger than the one relating CO to H α emission. This reflects that mid-IR emission simultaneously acts as a dust column density tracer, leading to a good match with the molecular-gas-tracing CO, and as a heating tracer, leading to a good match with the H α . By combining mid-IR, CO, and H α at scales where the overall correlation between cold gas and star formation begins to break down, we are able to separate these two effects. We model the mid-IR above I ν = 0.5 MJy sr −1 at F770W, a cut designed to select regions where the molecular gas dominates the interstellar medium (ISM) mass. This bright emission can be described to first order by a model that combines a CO-tracing component and an H α -tracing component. The best-fitting models imply that ∼50% of the mid-IR flux arises from molecular gas heated by the diffuse interstellar radiation field, with the remaining ∼50% associated with bright, dusty star-forming regions. We discuss differences between the F770W, F1000W, and F1130W bands and the continuum-dominated F2100W band and suggest next steps for using the mid-IR as an ISM tracer. 
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