skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Bolatto, Alberto D."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Stars form within molecular clouds, so characterizing the physical states of molecular clouds is key to understanding the process of star formation. Cloud structure and stability are frequently assessed using metrics including the virial parameter and Larson scaling relationships between cloud radius, velocity dispersion, and surface density. Departures from the typical Galactic relationships between these quantities have been observed in low-metallicity environments. The amount of H2gas in cloud envelopes without corresponding CO emission is expected to be high under these conditions; therefore, this CO-dark gas could plausibly be responsible for the observed variations in cloud properties. We derive simple corrections that can be applied to empirical clump properties (mass, radius, velocity dispersion, surface density, and virial parameter) to account for CO-dark gas in clumps following power-law and Plummer mass density profiles. We find that CO-dark gas is not likely to be the cause of departures from Larson’s relationships in low-metallicity regions, but that virial parameters may be systematically overestimated. We demonstrate that correcting for CO-dark gas is critical for accurately comparing the dynamical state and evolution of molecular clouds across diverse environments.

  2. Abstract

    We compare 500 pc scale, resolved observations of ionized and molecular gas for thez∼ 0.02 starbursting disk galaxy IRAS08339+6517, using measurements from KCWI and NOEMA. We explore the relationship of the star-formation-driven ionized gas outflows with colocated galaxy properties. We find a roughly linear relationship between the outflow mass flux (Σ̇out) and star formation rate surface density (ΣSFR),Σ̇outΣSFR1.06±0.10, and a strong correlation betweenΣ̇outand the gas depletion time, such thatΣ̇outtdep1.1±0.06. Moreover, we find these outflows are so-calledbreakoutoutflows, according to the relationship between the gas fraction and disk kinematics. Assuming that ionized outflow mass scales with total outflow mass, our observations suggest that the regions of highest ΣSFRin IRAS08 are removing more gas via the outflow than through the conversion of gas into stars. Our results are consistent with a picture in which the outflow limits the ability of a region of a disk to maintain short depletion times. Our results underline the need for resolved observations of outflows in more galaxies.

  3. Abstract

    We measure the molecular-to-atomic gas ratio,Rmol, and the star formation rate (SFR) per unit molecular gas mass, SFEmol, in 38 nearby galaxies selected from the Virgo Environment Traced in CO (VERTICO) survey. We stack ALMA12CO (J= 2−1) spectra coherently using Hivelocities from the VIVA survey to detect faint CO emission out to galactocentric radiirgal∼ 1.2r25. We determine the scale lengths for the molecular and stellar components, finding a ∼3:5 relation compared to ∼1:1 in field galaxies, indicating that the CO emission is more centrally concentrated than the stars. We computeRmolas a function of different physical quantities. While the spatially resolvedRmolon average decreases with increasing radius, we find that the mean molecular-to-atomic gas ratio within the stellar effective radiusRe,Rmol(r<Re), shows a systematic increase with the level of Hi, truncation and/or asymmetry (HIperturbation). Analysis of the molecular- and the atomic-to-stellar mass ratios withinRe,Rmol(r<Re)andRatom(r<Re), shows that VERTICO galaxies have increasingly lowerRatom(r<Re)for larger levels of HIperturbation (compared to field galaxies matched in stellar mass), but no significant change inRmol(r<Re). We also measure a clear systematic decrease of the SFEmolwithinRe, SFEmol(r<Re),more »with increasingly perturbed Hi. Therefore, compared to field galaxies from the field, VERTICO galaxies are more compact in CO emission in relation to their stellar distribution, but increasingly perturbed atomic gas increases theirRmoland decreases the efficiency with which their molecular gas forms stars.

    « less
  4. Abstract

    The center of the nearby galaxy NGC 253 hosts a population of more than a dozen super star clusters (SSCs) that are still in the process of forming. The majority of the star formation of the burst is concentrated in these SSCs, and the starburst is powering a multiphase outflow from the galaxy. In this work, we measure the 350 GHz dust continuum emission toward the center of NGC 253 at 47 mas (0.8 pc) resolution using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. We report the detection of 350 GHz (dust) continuum emission in the outflow for the first time, associated with the prominent South-West streamer. In this feature, the dust emission has a width of ≈8 pc, is located at the outer edge of the CO emission, and corresponds to a molecular gas mass of ∼(8–17)×106M. In the starburst nucleus, we measure the resolved radial profiles, sizes, and molecular gas masses of the SSCs. Compared to previous work at the somewhat lower spatial resolution, the SSCs here break apart into smaller substructures with radii 0.4–0.7 pc. In projection, the SSCs, dust, and dense molecular gas appear to be arranged as a thin, almost linear, structure roughly 155more »pc in length. The morphology and kinematics of this structure can be well explained as gas followingx2orbits at the center of a barred potential. We constrain the morpho-kinematic arrangement of the SSCs themselves, finding that an elliptical, angular-momentum-conserving ring is a good description of both the morphology and kinematics of the SSCs.

    « less
  5. Abstract We present results of a wide-field (approximately 60 × 90 pc) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array mosaic of CO(2–1) and 13 CO(2–1) emission from the molecular cloud associated with the 30 Doradus star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Three main emission complexes, including two forming a bow-tie-shaped structure extending northeast and southwest from the central R136 cluster, are resolved into complex filamentary networks. Consistent with previous studies, we find that the central region of the cloud has higher line widths at a fixed size relative to the rest of the molecular cloud and to other LMC clouds, indicating an enhanced level of turbulent motions. However, there is no clear trend in gravitational boundedness (as measured by the virial parameter) with distance from R136. Structures observed in 13 CO are spatially coincident with filaments and are close to a state of virial equilibrium. In contrast, 12 CO structures vary greatly in virialization, with low CO surface brightness structures outside of the main filamentary network being predominantly unbound. The low surface brightness structures constitute ∼10% of the measured CO luminosity; they may be shredded remnants of previously star-forming gas clumps, or alternatively the CO-emitting parts of more massive, CO-dark structures.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  6. Abstract We present the ALMA detection of molecular outflowing gas in the central regions of NGC 4945, one of the nearest starbursts and also one of the nearest hosts of an active galactic nucleus (AGN). We detect four outflow plumes in CO J = 3 − 2 at ∼0.″3 resolution that appear to correspond to molecular gas located near the edges of the known ionized outflow cone and its (unobserved) counterpart behind the disk. The fastest and brightest of these plumes has emission reaching observed line-of-sight projected velocities of over 450 km s −1 beyond systemic, equivalent to an estimated physical outflow velocity v ≳ 600 km s −1 for the fastest emission. Most of these plumes have corresponding emission in HCN or HCO + J = 4 − 3. We discuss a kinematic model for the outflow emission where the molecular gas has the geometry of the ionized gas cone and shares the rotation velocity of the galaxy when ejected. We use this model to explain the velocities we observe, constrain the physical speed of the ejected material, and account for the fraction of outflowing gas that is not detected due to confusion with the galaxy disk. We estimatemore »a total molecular mass outflow rate M ̇ mol ∼ 20 M ⊙ yr −1 flowing through a surface within 100 pc of the disk midplane, likely driven by a combination of the central starburst and AGN.« less
  7. Abstract The CO-to-H 2 conversion factor ( α CO ) is critical to studying molecular gas and star formation in galaxies. The value of α CO has been found to vary within and between galaxies, but the specific environmental conditions that cause these variations are not fully understood. Previous observations on ~kiloparsec scales revealed low values of α CO in the centers of some barred spiral galaxies, including NGC 3351. We present new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Band 3, 6, and 7 observations of 12 CO, 13 CO, and C 18 O lines on 100 pc scales in the inner ∼2 kpc of NGC 3351. Using multiline radiative transfer modeling and a Bayesian likelihood analysis, we infer the H 2 density, kinetic temperature, CO column density per line width, and CO isotopologue abundances on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Our modeling implies the existence of a dominant gas component with a density of 2–3 × 10 3 cm −3 in the central ∼1 kpc and a high temperature of 30–60 K near the nucleus and near the contact points that connect to the bar-driven inflows. Assuming a CO/H 2 abundance of 3 × 10 −4 , our analysis yields α CO ∼more »0.5–2.0 M ⊙ (K km s −1 pc 2 ) −1 with a decreasing trend with galactocentric radius in the central ∼1 kpc. The inflows show a substantially lower α CO ≲ 0.1 M ⊙ (K km s −1 pc 2 ) −1 , likely due to lower optical depths caused by turbulence or shear in the inflows. Over the whole region, this gives an intensity-weighted α CO of ∼1.5 M ⊙ (K km s −1 pc 2 ) −1 , which is similar to previous dust-modeling-based results at kiloparsec scales. This suggests that low α CO on kiloparsec scales in the centers of some barred galaxies may be due to the contribution of low-optical-depth CO emission in bar-driven inflows.« less
  8. Abstract We measure the low- J CO line ratios R 21 ≡ CO (2–1)/CO (1–0), R 32 ≡ CO (3–2)/CO (2–1), and R 31 ≡CO (3–2)/CO (1–0) using whole-disk CO maps of nearby galaxies. We draw CO (2–1) from PHANGS-ALMA, HERACLES, and follow-up IRAM surveys; CO (1–0) from COMING and the Nobeyama CO Atlas of Nearby Spiral Galaxies; and CO (3–2) from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope Nearby Galaxy Legacy Survey and Atacama Pathfinder Experiment Large APEX Sub-Millimetre Array mapping. All together, this yields 76, 47, and 29 maps of R 21 , R 32 , and R 31 at 20″ ∼ 1.3 kpc resolution, covering 43, 34, and 20 galaxies. Disk galaxies with high stellar mass, log ( M ⋆ / M ⊙ ) = 10.25 – 11 , and star formation rate (SFR) = 1–5 M ⊙ yr −1 , dominate the sample. We find galaxy-integrated mean values and a 16%–84% range of R 21 = 0.65 (0.50–0.83), R 32 = 0.50 (0.23–0.59), and R 31 = 0.31 (0.20–0.42). We identify weak trends relating galaxy-integrated line ratios to properties expected to correlate with excitation, including SFR/ M ⋆ and SFR/ L CO . Within galaxies, we measure centralmore »enhancements with respect to the galaxy-averaged value of ∼ 0.18 − 0.14 + 0.09 dex for R 21 , 0.27 − 0.15 + 0.13 dex for R 31 , and 0.08 − 0.09 + 0.11 dex for R 32 . All three line ratios anticorrelate with galactocentric radius and positively correlate with the local SFR surface density and specific SFR, and we provide approximate fits to these relations. The observed ratios can be reasonably reproduced by models with low temperature, moderate opacity, and moderate densities, in good agreement with expectations for the cold interstellar medium. Because the line ratios are expected to anticorrelate with the CO (1–0)-to-H 2 conversion factor, α CO 1 − 0 , these results have general implications for the interpretation of CO emission from galaxies.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023