The galex ultraviolet virgo cluster survey (GUViCS) II. Constraints on star formation in ram-pressure stripped gas

S. Boissier, A. Boselli, P.A. Duc, Luca Cortese, W. Van Driel, S. Heinis, E. Voyer, O. Cucciati, L. Ferrarese, P. Cǒté, J.C. Cuillandre, S.D.J. Gwyn, S. Mei

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    38 Citations (Scopus)


    Context. Several galaxies in the Virgo cluster are known to have large Hi gas tails related to a recent ram-pressure stripping event. The Virgo cluster has been extensively observed at 1539 Å in the far-ultraviolet for the GALEX Ultraviolet Virgo Cluster Survey (GUViCS), and in the optical for the Next Generation Virgo Survey (NGVS), allowing a study of the stellar emission potentially associated with the gas tails of 8 cluster members. On the theoretical side, models of ram-pressure stripping events have started to include the physics of star formation. Aims. We aim to provide quantitative constraints on the amount of star formation taking place in the ram-pressure stripped gas, mainly on the basis of the far-UV emission found in the GUViCS images in relation with the gas content of the tails. Methods. We have performed three comparisons of the young stars emission with the gas column density: visual, pixel-by-pixel, and global. We have compared our results to other observational and theoretical studies. Results. We find that the level of star formation taking place in the gas stripped from galaxies by ram-pressure is low with respect to the available amount of gas. Star formation is lower by at least a factor 10 compared to the predictions of the Schmidt Law as determined in regular spiral galaxy disks. It is also lower than measured in dwarfs galaxies and the outer regions of spirals, and than predicted by some numerical simulations. We provide constraints on the star formation efficiency in the ram-pressure stripped gas tails, and compare these with current models. © ESO 2012.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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