Variation of galactic cold gas reservoirs with stellar mass

N. Maddox, K.M. Hess, Danail Obreschkow, M.J. Jarvis, S.L. Blyth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    29 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2014 The Authors. The stellar and neutral hydrogen (H I) mass functions at z ~ 0 are fundamental benchmarks for current models of galaxy evolution. A natural extension of these benchmarks is the twodimensional distribution of galaxies in the plane spanned by stellar and HI mass, which provides a more stringent test of simulations, as it requires the HI to be located in galaxies of the correct stellar mass. Combining HI data from the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA survey, with optical data from Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we find a distinct envelope in the HI-to-stellar mass distribution, corresponding to an upper limit in the HI fraction that varies monotonically over five orders of magnitude in stellar mass. This upper envelope in HI fraction does not favour the existence of a significant population of dark galaxies with large amounts of gas but no corresponding stellar population. The envelope shows a break at a stellar mass of~109 M{circled ring operator}, which is not reproduced by modern models of galaxy populations tracing both stellar and gas masses. The discrepancy between observations and models suggests a mass dependence in gas storage and consumption missing in current galaxy evolution prescriptions. The break coincides with the transition from galaxies with predominantly irregular morphology at low masses to regular discs at high masses, as well as the transition from cold to hot accretion of gas in simulations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1610-1617
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Volume447
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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