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Creators/Authors contains: "Cao, Yixian"

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  1. Abstract

    Quasars show a remarkable degree of atomic emission-line broadening, an observational feature which, in conjunction with a radial distance estimate for this emission from the nucleus, is often used to infer the mass of the central supermassive black hole. The radius estimate depends on the structure and kinematics of this so-called broad-line region, which is often modeled as a set of discrete emitting clouds. Here, we test an alternative kinematic disk-wind model of optically thick line emission originating from a geometrically thin accretion disk under Keplerian rotation around a supermassive black hole. We use this model to calculate broad emission-line profiles and interferometric phases to compare to GRAVITY data and previously published cloud modeling results. While we show that such a model can provide a statistically satisfactory fit to GRAVITY data for quasar 3C 273, we disfavor it as it requires 3C 273 be observed at high inclination, which observations of the radio jet orientation do not support.

     
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  2. Abstract

    The EDGE-CALIFA survey provides spatially resolved optical integral-field unit and CO spectroscopy for 125 galaxies selected from the Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area Survey (CALIFA) Data Release 3 sample. The Extragalactic Database for Galaxy Evolution (EDGE) presents the spatially resolved products of the survey as pixel tables that reduce the oversampling in the original images and facilitate comparison of pixels from different images. By joining these pixel tables to lower-dimensional tables that provide radial profiles, integrated spectra, or global properties, it is possible to investigate the dependence of local conditions on large-scale properties. The database is freely accessible and has been utilized in several publications. We illustrate the use of this database and highlight the effects of CO upper limits on the inferred slopes of the local scaling relations between the stellar mass, star formation rate (SFR), and H2surface densities. We find that the correlation between H2and SFR surface density is the tightest among the three relations.

     
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  3. Abstract

    We present13CO(J= 1 → 0) observations for the EDGE-CALIFA survey, which is a mapping survey of 126 nearby galaxies at a typical spatial resolution of 1.5 kpc. Using detected12CO emission as a prior, we detect13CO in 41 galaxies via integrated line flux over the entire galaxy and in 30 galaxies via integrated line intensity in resolved synthesized beams. Incorporating our CO observations and optical IFU spectroscopy, we perform a systematic comparison between the line ratio12/13I[12CO(J=10)]/I[13CO(J=10)]and the properties of the stars and ionized gas. Higher12/13values are found in interacting galaxies compared to those in noninteracting galaxies. The global12/13slightly increases with infrared colorF60/F100but appears insensitive to other host-galaxy properties such as morphology, stellar mass, or galaxy size. We also present azimuthally averaged12/13profiles for our sample up to a galactocentric radius of 0.4r25(∼6 kpc), taking into account the13CO nondetections by spectral stacking. The radial profiles of12/13are quite flat across our sample. Within galactocentric distances of 0.2r25, the azimuthally averaged12/13increases with the star formation rate. However, Spearman rank correlation tests show the azimuthally averaged12/13does not strongly correlate with any other gas or stellar properties in general, especially beyond 0.2r25from the galaxy centers. Our findings suggest that in the complex environments in galaxy disks,12/13is not a sensitive tracer for ISM properties. Dynamical disturbances, like galaxy interactions or the presence of a bar, also have an overall impact on12/13, which further complicates the interpretations of12/13variations.

     
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  4. Abstract

    Determining how the galactic environment, especially the high gas densities and complex dynamics in bar-fed galaxy centers, alters the star formation efficiency (SFE) of molecular gas is critical to understanding galaxy evolution. However, these same physical or dynamical effects also alter the emissivity properties of CO, leading to variations in the CO-to-H2conversion factor (αCO) that impact the assessment of the gas column densities and thus of the SFE. To address such issues, we investigate the dependence ofαCOon the local CO velocity dispersion at 150 pc scales using a new set of dust-basedαCOmeasurements and propose a newαCOprescription that accounts for CO emissivity variations across galaxies. Based on this prescription, we estimate the SFE in a sample of 65 galaxies from the PHANGS–Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array survey. We find increasing SFE toward high-surface-density regions like galaxy centers, while using a constant or metallicity-basedαCOresults in a more homogeneous SFE throughout the centers and disks. Our prescription further reveals a mean molecular gas depletion time of 700 Myr in the centers of barred galaxies, which is overall three to four times shorter than in nonbarred galaxy centers or the disks. Across the galaxy disks, the depletion time is consistently around 2–3 Gyr, regardless of the choice ofαCOprescription. All together, our results suggest that the high level of star formation activity in barred centers is not simply due to an increased amount of molecular gas, but also to an enhanced SFE compared to nonbarred centers or disk regions.

     
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  5. Abstract The CO-to-H 2 conversion factor ( α CO ) is central to measuring the amount and properties of molecular gas. It is known to vary with environmental conditions, and previous studies have revealed lower α CO in the centers of some barred galaxies on kiloparsec scales. To unveil the physical drivers of such variations, we obtained Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array bands (3), (6), and (7) observations toward the inner ∼2 kpc of NGC 3627 and NGC 4321 tracing 12 CO, 13 CO, and C 18 O lines on ∼100 pc scales. Our multiline modeling and Bayesian likelihood analysis of these data sets reveal variations of molecular gas density, temperature, optical depth, and velocity dispersion, which are among the key drivers of α CO . The central 300 pc nuclei in both galaxies show strong enhancement of temperature T k ≳ 100 K and density n H 2 > 10 3 cm −3 . Assuming a CO-to-H 2 abundance of 3 × 10 −4 , we derive 4–15 times lower α CO than the Galactic value across our maps, which agrees well with previous kiloparsec-scale measurements. Combining the results with our previous work on NGC 3351, we find a strong correlation of α CO with low- J 12 CO optical depths ( τ CO ), as well as an anticorrelation with T k . The τ CO correlation explains most of the α CO variation in the three galaxy centers, whereas changes in T k influence α CO to second order. Overall, the observed line width and 12 CO/ 13 CO 2–1 line ratio correlate with τ CO variation in these centers, and thus they are useful observational indicators for α CO variation. We also test current simulation-based α CO prescriptions and find a systematic overprediction, which likely originates from the mismatch of gas conditions between our data and the simulations. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  6. ABSTRACT

    A sample of 279 massive red spirals was selected optically by Guo et al., among which 166 galaxies have been observed by the ALFALFA survey. In this work, we observe H i content of the rest 113 massive red spiral galaxies using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST). 75 of the 113 galaxies have H i detection with a signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) greater than 4.7. Compared with the red spirals in the same sample that have been observed by the ALFALFA survey, galaxies observed by FAST have on average a higher S/N, and reach to a lower H i mass. To investigate why many red spirals contain a significant amount of H i mass, we check colour profiles of the massive red spirals using images observed by the DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys. We find that galaxies with H i detection have bluer outer discs than the galaxies without H i detection, for both ALFALFA and FAST samples. For galaxies with H i detection, there exists a clear correlation between galaxy H i mass and g-r colour at outer radius: galaxies with higher H i masses have bluer outer discs. The results indicate that optically selected massive red spirals are not fully quenched, and the H i gas observed in many of the galaxies may exist in their outer blue discs.

     
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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. Abstract

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) play a critical role in the reprocessing of stellar radiation and balancing the heating and cooling processes in the interstellar medium but appear to be destroyed in Hiiregions. However, the mechanisms driving their destruction are still not completely understood. Using PHANGS–JWST and PHANGS–MUSE observations, we investigate how the PAH fraction changes in about 1500 Hiiregions across four nearby star-forming galaxies (NGC 628, NGC 1365, NGC 7496, and IC 5332). We find a strong anticorrelation between the PAH fraction and the ionization parameter (the ratio between the ionizing photon flux and the hydrogen density) of Hiiregions. This relation becomes steeper for more luminous Hiiregions. The metallicity of Hiiregions has only a minor impact on these results in our galaxy sample. We find that the PAH fraction decreases with the Hαequivalent width—a proxy for the age of the Hiiregions—although this trend is much weaker than the one identified using the ionization parameter. Our results are consistent with a scenario where hydrogen-ionizing UV radiation is the dominant source of PAH destruction in star-forming regions.

     
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