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  1. Abstract

    pyspeckitis a toolkit and library for spectroscopic analysis in Python. We describe thepyspeckitpackage and highlight some of its capabilities, such as interactively fitting a model to data, akin to the historically widely-usedsplotfunction inIRAF.pyspeckitemploys the Levenberg–Marquardt optimization method via thempfitandlmfitimplementations, and important assumptions regarding error estimation are described here. Wrappers to usepymcandemceeas optimizers are provided. A parallelized wrapper to fit lines in spectral cubes is included. As part of theastropyaffiliated package ecosystem,pyspeckitis open source and open development, and welcomes input and collaboration from the community.

  2. Abstract Spectral lines of ammonia, NH 3 , are useful probes of the physical conditions in dense molecular cloud cores. In addition to advantages in spectroscopy, ammonia has also been suggested to be resistant to freezing onto grain surfaces, which should make it a superior tool for studying the interior parts of cold, dense cores. Here we present high-resolution NH 3 observations with the Very Large Array and Green Bank Telescope toward a prestellar core. These observations show an outer region with a fractional NH 3 abundance of X (NH 3 ) = (1.975 ± 0.005) × 10 −8 (±10% systematic), but it also reveals that, after all, the X (NH 3 ) starts to decrease above a H 2 column density of ≈2.6 × 10 22 cm −2 . We derive a density model for the core and find that the break point in the fractional abundance occurs at the density n (H 2 ) ∼ 2 × 10 5 cm −3 , and beyond this point the fractional abundance decreases with increasing density, following the power law n −1.1 . This power-law behavior is well reproduced by chemical models where adsorption onto grains dominates the removal of ammoniamore »and related species from the gas at high densities. We suggest that the break-point density changes from core to core depending on the temperature and the grain properties, but that the depletion power law is anyway likely to be close to n −1 owing to the dominance of accretion in the central parts of starless cores.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 27, 2023
  3. Abstract

    We measure the spatially resolved recent star formation history (SFH) of M33 using optical images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope as part of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury: Triangulum Extended Region (PHATTER) survey. The area covered by the observations used in this analysis covers a de-projected area of ∼38 kpc2and extends to ∼3.5 and ∼2 kpc from the center of M33 along the major and semimajor axes, respectively. We divide the PHATTER optical survey into 2005 regions that measure 24 arcsec, ∼100 pc, on a side and fit color–magnitude diagrams for each region individually to measure the spatially resolved SFH of M33 within the PHATTER footprint. There are significant fluctuations in the SFH on small spatial scales and also galaxy-wide scales that we measure back to about 630 Myr ago. We observe a more flocculent spiral structure in stellar populations younger than about 80 Myr, while the structure of the older stellar populations is dominated by two spiral arms. We also observe a bar in the center of M33, which dominates at ages older than about 80 Myr. Finally, we find that the mean star formation rate (SFR) over the last 100 Myr within the PHATTER footprint ismore »0.32 ± 0.02 Myr−1. We measure a current SFR (over the last 10 Myr) of 0.20 ± 0.03 Myr−1. This SFR is slightly higher than previous measurements from broadband estimates, when scaled to account for the fraction of the D25 area covered by the PHATTER survey footprint.

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    In the hierarchical view of star formation, giant molecular clouds (GMCs) undergo fragmentation to form small-scale structures made up of stars and star clusters. Here we study the connection between young star clusters and cold gas across a range of extragalactic environments by combining the high resolution (1″) PHANGS–ALMA catalogue of GMCs with the star cluster catalogues from PHANGS–HST. The star clusters are spatially matched with the GMCs across a sample of 11 nearby star-forming galaxies with a range of galactic environments (centres, bars, spiral arms, etc.). We find that after 4 − 6 Myr the star clusters are no longer associated with any gas clouds. Additionally, we measure the autocorrelation of the star clusters and GMCs as well as their cross-correlation to quantify the fractal nature of hierarchical star formation. Young (≤10 Myr) star clusters are more strongly autocorrelated on kpc and smaller spatial scales than the $\gt \, 10$ Myr stellar populations, indicating that the hierarchical structure dissolves over time.


    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 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
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  7. Context. Stars form in cold dense cores showing subsonic velocity dispersions. The parental molecular clouds display higher temperatures and supersonic velocity dispersions. The transition from core to cloud has been observed in velocity dispersion, but temperature and abundance variations are unknown. Aims. We aim to measure the temperature and velocity dispersion across cores and ambient cloud in a single tracer to study the transition between the two regions. Methods. We use NH 3 (1,1) and (2,2) maps in L1688 from the Green Bank Ammonia Survey, smoothed to 1′, and determine the physical properties by fitting the spectra. We identify the coherent cores and study the changes in temperature and velocity dispersion from the cores to the surrounding cloud. Results. We obtain a kinetic temperature map extending beyond dense cores and tracing the cloud, improving from previous maps tracing mostly the cores. The cloud is 4–6 K warmer than the cores, and shows a larger velocity dispersion (Δ σ v = 0.15–0.25 km s −1 ). Comparing to Herschel -based dust temperatures, we find that cores show kinetic temperatures that are ≈1.8 K lower than the dust temperature, while the gas temperature is higher than the dust temperature in the cloud.more »We find an average p-NH 3 fractional abundance (with respect to H 2 ) of (4.2 ± 0.2) × 10 −9 towards the coherent cores, and (1.4 ± 0.1) × 10 −9 outside the core boundaries. Using stacked spectra, we detect two components, one narrow and one broad, towards cores and their neighbourhoods. We find the turbulence in the narrow component to be correlated with the size of the structure (Pearson- r = 0.54). With these unresolved regional measurements, we obtain a turbulence–size relation of σ v,NT ∝ r 0.5 , which is similar to previous findings using multiple tracers. Conclusions. We discover that the subsonic component extends up to 0.15 pc beyond the typical coherent boundaries, unveiling larger extents of the coherent cores and showing gradual transition to coherence over ~0.2 pc.« 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
  9. ABSTRACT Previous work has argued that atomic gas mass estimates of galaxies from 21-cm H i emission are systematically low due to a cold opaque atomic gas component. If true, this opaque component necessitates a $\sim 35{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ correction factor relative to the mass from assuming optically thin H i emission. These mass corrections are based on fitting H i spectra with a single opaque component model that produces a distinct ‘top-hat’ shaped line profile. Here, we investigate this issue using deep, high spectral resolution H i VLA observations of M31 and M33 to test if these top-hat profiles are instead superpositions of multiple H i components along the line of sight. We fit both models and find that ${\gt}80{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the spectra strongly prefer a multicomponent Gaussian model while ${\lt}2{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ prefer the single opacity-corrected component model. This strong preference for multiple components argues against previous findings of lines of sight dominated by only cold H i. Our findings are enabled by the improved spectral resolution (0.42 ${\rm km\, s^{-1}}$), whereas coarser spectral resolution blends multiple components together. We also show that the inferred opaque atomic ISM mass strongly depends on the goodness-of-fit definition and is highly uncertain whenmore »the inferred spin temperature has a large uncertainty. Finally, we find that the relation of the H i surface density with the dust surface density and extinction has significantly more scatter when the inferred H i opacity correction is applied. These variations are difficult to explain without additionally requiring large variations in the dust properties. Based on these findings, we suggest that the opaque H i mass is best constrained by H i absorption studies.« less