DENSE GAS FRACTION and STAR FORMATION EFFICIENCY VARIATIONS in the ANTENNAE GALAXIES

F. Bigiel, A. K. Leroy, L. Blitz, A. D. Bolatto, E. Da Cunha, E. Rosolowsky, K. Sandstrom, A. Usero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We use the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA) millimeter interferometer to map the Antennae Galaxies (NGC 4038/39), tracing the bulk of the molecular gas via the 12CO(1-0) line and denser molecular gas via the high density transitions HCN(1-0), HCO+(1-0), CS(2-1), and HNC(1-0). We detect bright emission from all tracers in both the two nuclei and three locales in the overlap region between the two nuclei. These three overlap region peaks correspond to previously identified "supergiant molecular clouds." We combine the CARMA data with Herschel infrared (IR) data to compare observational indicators of the star formation efficiency (star formation rate/H2 ∝ IR/CO), dense gas fraction (HCN/CO), and dense gas star formation efficiency (IR/HCN). Regions within the Antennae show ratios consistent with those seen for entire galaxies, but these ratios vary by up to a factor of six within the galaxy. The five detected regions vary strongly in both their integrated intensities and these ratios. The northern nucleus is the brightest region in millimeter-wave line emission, while the overlap region is the brightest part of the system in the IR. We combine the CARMA and Herschel data with ALMA CO data to report line ratio patterns for each bright point. CO shows a declining spectral line energy distribution, consistent with previous studies. HCO+ (1-0) emission is stronger than HCN (1-0) emission, perhaps indicating either more gas at moderate densities or higher optical depth than is commonly seen in more advanced mergers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume815
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

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