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    We analyse the 1D spatial power spectra of dust surface density and mid to far-infrared emission at $24\!-\!500\, \mu$m in the LMC, SMC, M31, and M33. By forward-modelling the point spread function (PSF) on the power spectrum, we find that nearly all power spectra have a single power-law and point source component. A broken power-law model is only favoured for the LMC 24 μm MIPS power spectrum and is due to intense dust heating in 30 Doradus. We also test for local power spectrum variations by splitting the LMC and SMC maps into 820 pc boxes. We find significant variations in the power-law index with no strong evidence for breaks. The lack of a ubiquitous break suggests that the spatial power spectrum does not constrain the disc scale height. This contradicts claims of a break where the turbulent motion changes from 3D to 2D. The power spectrum indices in the LMC, SMC, and M31 are similar (2.0–2.5). M33 has a flatter power spectrum (1.3), similar to more distant spiral galaxies with a centrally-concentrated H2 distribution. We compare the power spectra of H i, CO, and dust in M31 and M33, and find that H i power spectra are consistently flatter than CO powermore »spectra. These results cast doubt on the idea that the spatial power spectrum traces large scale turbulent motion in nearby galaxies. Instead, we find that the spatial power spectrum is influenced by (1) the PSF on scales below ∼3 times the FWHM, (2) bright compact regions (30 Doradus), and (3) the global morphology of the tracer (an exponential CO disc).

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  2. 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
  3. ABSTRACT Both the CO(2–1) and CO(1–0) lines are used to trace the mass of molecular gas in galaxies. Translating the molecular gas mass estimates between studies using different lines requires a good understanding of the behaviour of the CO(2–1)-to-CO(1–0) ratio, R21. We compare new, high-quality CO(1–0) data from the IRAM 30-m EMIR MultiLine Probe of the ISM Regulating Galaxy Evolution survey to the latest available CO(2–1) maps from HERA CO-Line Extragalactic Survey, Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby Galaxies-ALMA, and a new IRAM 30-m M51 Large Program. This allows us to measure R21 across the full star-forming disc of nine nearby, massive, star-forming spiral galaxies at 27 arcsec (∼1–2 kpc) resolution. We find an average R21 = 0.64 ± 0.09 when we take the luminosity-weighted mean of all individual galaxies. This result is consistent with the mean ratio for disc galaxies that we derive from single-pointing measurements in the literature, $R_{\rm 21, lit}~=~0.59^{+0.18}_{-0.09}$. The ratio shows weak radial variations compared to the point-to-point scatter in the data. In six out of nine targets, the central enhancement in R21 with respect to the galaxy-wide mean is of order of ${\sim}10{-}20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. We estimate an azimuthal scatter of ∼20 per cent in R21 at fixedmore »galactocentric radius but this measurement is limited by our comparatively coarse resolution of 1.5 kpc. We find mild correlations between R21 and carbon monoxide (CO) brightness temperature, infrared (IR) intensity, 70–160 µm ratio, and IR-to-CO ratio. All correlations indicate that R21 increases with gas surface density, star formation rate surface density, and the interstellar radiation field.« less
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Abstract PHANGS-HST is an ultraviolet-optical imaging survey of 38 spiral galaxies within ∼20 Mpc. Combined with the PHANGS-ALMA, PHANGS-MUSE surveys and other multiwavelength data, the dataset will provide an unprecedented look into the connections between young stars, H ii regions, and cold molecular gas in these nearby star-forming galaxies. Accurate distances are needed to transform measured observables into physical parameters (e.g., brightness to luminosity, angular to physical sizes of molecular clouds, star clusters and associations). PHANGS-HST has obtained parallel ACS imaging of the galaxy halos in the F606W and F814W bands. Where possible, we use these parallel fields to derive tip of the red giant branch (TRGB) distances to these galaxies. In this paper, we present TRGB distances for 11 galaxies from ∼4 to ∼15 Mpc, based on the first year of PHANGS-HST observations. Five of these represent the first published TRGB distance measurements (IC 5332, NGC 2835, NGC 4298, NGC 4321, and NGC 4328), and eight of which are the best available distances to these targets. We also provide a compilation of distances for the 118 galaxies in the full PHANGS sample, which have been adopted for the first PHANGS-ALMA public data release.