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  1. ABSTRACT

    We study environmental quenching using the spatial distribution of current star formation and stellar population ages with the full SAMI Galaxy Survey. By using a star formation concentration index [C-index, defined as log10(r50, H α/r50, cont)], we separate our sample into regular galaxies (C-index ≥−0.2) and galaxies with centrally concentrated star formation (SF-concentrated; C-index <−0.2). Concentrated star formation is a potential indicator of galaxies currently undergoing ‘outside-in’ quenching. Our environments cover ungrouped galaxies, low-mass groups (M200 ≤ 1012.5M⊙), high-mass groups (M200 in the range 1012.5–14 M⊙) and clusters (M200 > 1014M⊙). We find the fraction of SF-concentrated galaxies increases as halo mass increases by 9 ± 2 per cent, 8 ± 3 per cent, 19 ± 4 per cent, and 29 ± 4 per cent for ungrouped galaxies, low-mass groups, high-mass groups, and clusters, respectively. We interpret these results as evidence for ‘outside-in’ quenching in groups and clusters. To investigate the quenching time-scale in SF-concentrated galaxies, we calculate light-weighted age (AgeL) and mass-weighted age (AgeM) using full spectral fitting, as well as the Dn4000 and HδA indices. We assume that the average galaxy age radial profile before entering a group or cluster is similar to ungrouped regular galaxies. At large radius (1–2 Re), SF-concentrated galaxies in high-mass groups have older ages than ungrouped regularmore »galaxies with an age difference of 1.83 ± 0.38 Gyr for AgeL and 1.34 ± 0.56 Gyr for AgeM. This suggests that while ‘outside-in’ quenching can be effective in groups, the process will not quickly quench the entire galaxy. In contrast, the ages at 1–2 Re of cluster SF-concentrated galaxies and ungrouped regular galaxies are consistent (difference of 0.19 ± 0.21 Gyr for AgeL, 0.40 ± 0.61 Gyr for AgeM), suggesting the quenching process must be rapid.

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  2. We investigate the molecular gas content of z  ∼ 6 quasar host galaxies using the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique Northern Extended Millimeter Array. We targeted the 3 mm dust continuum, and the line emission from CO(6–5), CO(7–6), and [C  I ] 2−1 in ten infrared–luminous quasars that have been previously studied in their 1 mm dust continuum and [C  II ] line emission. We detected CO(7–6) at various degrees of significance in all the targeted sources, thus doubling the number of such detections in z  ∼ 6 quasars. The 3 mm to 1 mm flux density ratios are consistent with a modified black body spectrum with a dust temperature T dust  ∼ 47 K and an optical depth τ ν  = 0.2 at the [C  II ] frequency. Our study provides us with four independent ways to estimate the molecular gas mass, M H2 , in the targeted quasars. This allows us to set constraints on various parameters used in the derivation of molecular gas mass estimates, such as the mass per luminosity ratios α CO and α [CII] , the gas-to-dust mass ratio δ g/d , and the carbon abundance [C]/H 2 . Leveraging either on the dust, CO, [C  I ], ormore »[C  II ] emission yields mass estimates of the entire sample in the range M H2  ∼ 10 10 –10 11 M ⊙ . We compared the observed luminosities of dust, [C  II ], [C  I ], and CO(7–6) with predictions from photo-dissociation and X-ray dominated regions. We find that the former provide better model fits to our data, assuming that the bulk of the emission arises from dense ( n H  > 10 4 cm −3 ) clouds with a column density N H  ∼ 10 23 cm −2 , exposed to a radiation field with an intensity of G 0  ∼ 10 3 (in Habing units). Our analysis reiterates the presence of massive reservoirs of molecular gas fueling star formation and nuclear accretion in z  ∼ 6 quasar host galaxies. It also highlights the power of combined 3 mm and 1 mm observations for quantitative studies of the dense gas content in massive galaxies at cosmic dawn.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT

    Using data from the SAMI Galaxy Survey, we investigate the correlation between the projected stellar kinematic spin vector of 1397 SAMI galaxies and the line-of-sight motion of their neighbouring galaxies. We calculate the luminosity-weighted mean velocity difference between SAMI galaxies and their neighbours in the direction perpendicular to the SAMI galaxies’ angular momentum axes. The luminosity-weighted mean velocity offset between SAMI galaxies and neighbours, which indicates the signal of coherence between the rotation of the SAMI galaxies and the motion of neighbours, is 9.0 ± 5.4 km s−1 (1.7σ) for neighbours within 1 Mpc. In a large-scale analysis, we find that the average velocity offsets increase for neighbours out to 2 Mpc. However, the velocities are consistent with zero or negative for neighbours outside 3 Mpc. The negative signals for neighbours at a distance around 10 Mpc are also significant at the ∼2σ level, which indicate that the positive signals within 2 Mpc might come from the variance of large-scale structure. We also calculate average velocities of different subsamples, including galaxies in different regions of the sky, galaxies with different stellar masses, galaxy type, λRe, and inclination. Although subsamples of low-mass, high-mass, early-type, and low-spin galaxies show the 2–3σ signal of coherencemore »for the neighbours within 2 Mpc, the results for different inclination subsamples and large-scale results suggest that the ∼2σ signals might result from coincidental scatter or variance of large-scale structure. Overall, the modest evidence of coherence signals for neighbouring galaxies within 2 Mpc needs to be confirmed by larger samples of observations and simulation studies.

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  4. 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
  5. ABSTRACT

    The processes of star formation and feedback, regulating the cycle of matter between gas and stars on the scales of giant molecular clouds (GMCs; ∼100 pc), play a major role in governing galaxy evolution. Measuring the time-scales of GMC evolution is important to identify and characterize the specific physical mechanisms that drive this transition. By applying a robust statistical method to high-resolution CO and narrow-band H α imaging from the PHANGS survey, we systematically measure the evolutionary timeline from molecular clouds to exposed young stellar regions on GMC scales, across the discs of an unprecedented sample of 54 star-forming main-sequence galaxies (excluding their unresolved centres). We find that clouds live for about 1−3 GMC turbulence crossing times (5−30 Myr) and are efficiently dispersed by stellar feedback within 1−5 Myr once the star-forming region becomes partially exposed, resulting in integrated star formation efficiencies of 1−8 per cent. These ranges reflect physical galaxy-to-galaxy variation. In order to evaluate whether galactic environment influences GMC evolution, we correlate our measurements with average properties of the GMCs and their local galactic environment. We find several strong correlations that can be physically understood, revealing a quantitative link between galactic-scale environmental properties and the small-scale GMC evolution. Notably, the measured CO-visible cloudmore »lifetimes become shorter with decreasing galaxy mass, mostly due to the increasing presence of CO-dark molecular gas in such environment. Our results represent a first step towards a comprehensive picture of cloud assembly and dispersal, which requires further extension and refinement with tracers of the atomic gas, dust, and deeply embedded stars.

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  6. ABSTRACT The kinematic morphology–density relation of galaxies is normally attributed to a changing distribution of galaxy stellar masses with the local environment. However, earlier studies were largely focused on slow rotators; the dynamical properties of the overall population in relation to environment have received less attention. We use the SAMI Galaxy Survey to investigate the dynamical properties of ∼1800 early and late-type galaxies with log (M⋆/M⊙) > 9.5 as a function of mean environmental overdensity (Σ5) and their rank within a group or cluster. By classifying galaxies into fast and slow rotators, at fixed stellar mass above log (M⋆/M⊙) > 10.5, we detect a higher fraction (∼3.4σ) of slow rotators for group and cluster centrals and satellites as compared to isolated-central galaxies. We find similar results when using Σ5 as a tracer for environment. Focusing on the fast-rotator population, we also detect a significant correlation between galaxy kinematics and their stellar mass as well as the environment they are in. Specifically, by using inclination-corrected or intrinsic $\lambda _{R_{\rm {e}}}$ values, we find that, at fixed mass, satellite galaxies on average have the lowest $\lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}}$, isolated-central galaxies have the highest $\lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}}$, and group and clustermore »centrals lie in between. Similarly, galaxies in high-density environments have lower mean $\lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}}$ values as compared to galaxies at low environmental density. However, at fixed Σ5, the mean $\lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}}$ differences for low and high-mass galaxies are of similar magnitude as when varying Σ5 ($\Delta \lambda _{\, R_{\rm {e}},\rm {intr}} \sim 0.05$, with σrandom = 0.025, and σsyst < 0.03). Our results demonstrate that after stellar mass, environment plays a significant role in the creation of slow rotators, while for fast rotators we also detect an independent, albeit smaller, impact of mass and environment on their kinematic properties.« less
  7. Abstract

    We present a rich, multiwavelength, multiscale database built around the PHANGS–ALMA CO (2 − 1) survey and ancillary data. We use this database to present the distributions of molecular cloud populations and subgalactic environments in 80 PHANGS galaxies, to characterize the relationship between population-averaged cloud properties and host galaxy properties, and to assess key timescales relevant to molecular cloud evolution and star formation. We show that PHANGS probes a wide range of kpc-scale gas, stellar, and star formation rate (SFR) surface densities, as well as orbital velocities and shear. The population-averaged cloud properties in each aperture correlate strongly with both local environmental properties and host galaxy global properties. Leveraging a variable selection analysis, we find that the kpc-scale surface densities of molecular gas and SFR tend to possess the most predictive power for the population-averaged cloud properties. Once their variations are controlled for, galaxy global properties contain little additional information, which implies that the apparent galaxy-to-galaxy variations in cloud populations are likely mediated by kpc-scale environmental conditions. We further estimate a suite of important timescales from our multiwavelength measurements. The cloud-scale freefall time and turbulence crossing time are ∼5–20 Myr, comparable to previous cloud lifetime estimates. The timescales formore »orbital motion, shearing, and cloud–cloud collisions are longer, ∼100 Myr. The molecular gas depletion time is 1–3 Gyr and shows weak to no correlations with the other timescales in our data. We publish our measurements online, and expect them to have broad utility to future studies of molecular clouds and star formation.

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  8. ABSTRACT We measure the gas-phase metallicity gradients of 248 galaxies selected from Data Release 2 of the SAMI Galaxy Survey. We demonstrate that there are large systematic discrepancies between the metallicity gradients derived using common strong emission line metallicity diagnostics. We determine which pairs of diagnostics have Spearman’s rank coefficients greater than 0.6 and provide linear conversions to allow the accurate comparison of metallicity gradients derived using different strong emission line diagnostics. For galaxies within the mass range 8.5 < log (M/M⊙) < 11.0, we find discrepancies of up to 0.11 dex/Re between seven popular diagnostics in the metallicity gradient–mass relation. We find a suggestion of a break in the metallicity gradient–mass relation, where the slope shifts from negative to positive, occurs between 9.5 < log (M/M⊙) < 10.5 for the seven chosen diagnostics. Applying our conversions to the metallicity gradient–mass relation, we reduce the maximum dispersion from 0.11 dex/Re to 0.02 dex/Re. These conversions provide the most accurate method of converting metallicity gradients when key emission lines are unavailable. We find that diagnostics that share common sets of emission line ratios agree best, and that diagnostics calibrated through the electron temperature provide more consistent results compared to those calibrated through photoionization models.
  9. ABSTRACT Feedback from massive stars plays a key role in molecular cloud evolution. After the onset of star formation, the young stellar population is exposed by photoionization, winds, supernovae, and radiation pressure from massive stars. Recent observations of nearby galaxies have provided the evolutionary timeline between molecular clouds and exposed young stars, but the duration of the embedded phase of massive star formation is still ill-constrained. We measure how long massive stellar populations remain embedded within their natal cloud, by applying a statistical method to six nearby galaxies at $20{-}100~\mbox{${\rm ~pc}$}$ resolution, using CO, Spitzer 24$\rm \, \mu m$, and H α emission as tracers of molecular clouds, embedded star formation, and exposed star formation, respectively. We find that the embedded phase (with CO and 24$\rm \, \mu m$ emission) lasts for 2−7 Myr and constitutes $17{-}47{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the cloud lifetime. During approximately the first half of this phase, the region is invisible in H α, making it heavily obscured. For the second half of this phase, the region also emits in H α and is partially exposed. Once the cloud has been dispersed by feedback, 24$\rm \, \mu m$ emission no longer traces ongoing star formation, but remains detectable for anothermore »2−9 Myr through the emission from ambient CO-dark gas, tracing star formation that recently ended. The short duration of massive star formation suggests that pre-supernova feedback (photoionization and winds) is important in disrupting molecular clouds. The measured time-scales do not show significant correlations with environmental properties (e.g. metallicity). Future JWST observations will enable these measurements routinely across the nearby galaxy population.« less
  10. Abstract The PHANGS program is building the first data set to enable the multiphase, multiscale study of star formation across the nearby spiral galaxy population. This effort is enabled by large survey programs with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), MUSE on the Very Large Telescope, and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), with which we have obtained CO(2–1) imaging, optical spectroscopic mapping, and high-resolution UV–optical imaging, respectively. Here, we present PHANGS-HST, which has obtained NUV– U – B – V – I imaging of the disks of 38 spiral galaxies at distances of 4–23 Mpc, and parallel V - and I -band imaging of their halos, to provide a census of tens of thousands of compact star clusters and multiscale stellar associations. The combination of HST, ALMA, and VLT/MUSE observations will yield an unprecedented joint catalog of the observed and physical properties of ∼100,000 star clusters, associations, H ii regions, and molecular clouds. With these basic units of star formation, PHANGS will systematically chart the evolutionary cycling between gas and stars across a diversity of galactic environments found in nearby galaxies. We discuss the design of the PHANGS-HST survey and provide an overview of the HST data processing pipeline andmore »first results. We highlight new methods for selecting star cluster candidates, morphological classification of candidates with convolutional neural networks, and identification of stellar associations over a range of physical scales with a watershed algorithm. We describe the cross-observatory imaging, catalogs, and software products to be released. The PHANGS high-level science products will seed a broad range of investigations, in particular, the study of embedded stellar populations and dust with the James Webb Space Telescope, for which a PHANGS Cycle 1 Treasury program to obtain eight-band 2–21 μ m imaging has been approved.« less