DYNAMO-HST survey: Clumps in nearby massive turbulent discs and the effects of clump clustering on kiloparsec scale measurements of clumps

David B. Fisher, Karl Glazebrook, Ivana Damjanov, Roberto G. Abraham, Danail Obreschkow, Emily Wisnioski, Robert Bassett, Andy Green, Peter McGregor

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29 Citations (Scopus)


We present ~100 pc resolution Hubble Space Telescope Hα images of 10 galaxies from the DYnamics of Newly-Assembled Massive Objects (DYNAMO) survey of low-z turbulent disc galaxies, and use these to undertake the first detailed systematic study of the effects of resolution and clump clustering on observations of clumps in turbulent discs. In the DYNAMO-HST sample, we measure clump diameters spanning the range dclump ~ 100-800 pc, and individual clump star formation rates as high as ~5 M yr-1. DYNAMO clumps have very high SFR surface densities, ∑SFR ~ 1 - 15 yr-1 kpc-2, ~100 × higher than in H II regions of nearby spirals. Indeed, SFR surface density provides a simple dividing line between massive star-forming clumps and local star-forming regions, where massive star-forming clumps have ∑SFR > 0.5 M yr-1 kpc-2. When degraded to match the observations of galaxies in z ~ 1-3 surveys, DYNAMO galaxies are similar in morphology and measured clump properties to clumpy galaxies observed in the high-z Universe. Emission peaks in the simulated high-redshift maps typically correspond to multiple clumps in full resolution images. This clustering of clumps systematically increases the apparent size and SFR of clumps in 1 kpc resolution maps, and decreases the measured SFR surface density of clumps by as much as a factor of 20×. From these results we can infer that clump clustering is likely to strongly affect the measured properties of clumps in high-z galaxies, which commonly have kiloparsec scale resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-507
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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