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Constraining stellar feedback: Shock-ionized gas in nearby starburst galaxies

  • Author(s): Hong, S
  • Calzetti, D
  • Gallagher, JS
  • Martin, CL
  • Conselice, CJ
  • Pellerin, A
  • et al.

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We investigate the properties of feedback-driven shocks in eight nearby starburst galaxies using narrow-band imaging data from the Hubble Space Telescope. We identify the shock-ionized component via the line diagnostic diagram [O III] (λ5007)/Hβ versus [S II] (λλ6716, 6731) (or [N II] (λ6583))/Hα, applied to resolved regions 3-15 pc in size. We divide our sample into three sub-samples: sub-solar, solar, and super-solar, for consistent shock measurements. For the sub-solar sub-sample, we derive three scaling relations: (1) L SFR , (2) L Σ , HL , and (3) L /L (L , H ) , where L is the Hα luminosity from shock-ionized gas, Σ , HL the star formation rate (SFR) per unit half-light area, L the total Hα luminosity, and L , H the absolute H-band luminosity from the Two Micron All Sky Survey normalized to solar luminosity. The other two sub-samples do not have enough number statistics, but appear to follow the first scaling relation. The energy recovered indicates that the shocks from stellar feedback in our sample galaxies are fully radiative. If the scaling relations are applicable in general to stellar feedback, our results are similar to those by Hopkins et al. for galactic superwinds. This similarity should, however, be taken with caution at this point, as the underlying physics that enables the transition from radiative shocks to gas outflows in galaxies is still poorly understood. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. shock shock SFR shock tot H /L ⊙ shock SFR tot H/L ⊙ 0.62 0.92 -0.65

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