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Large-Scale Gravitational Instability and Star Formation in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Yang, Chao-Chin LU ; Gruendl, Robert A.; Chu, You-Hua; Mac Low, Mordecai-Mark and Fukui, Yasuo (2007) In The Astrophysical Journal 671(1). p.374-379
Abstract
Large-scale star formation in disk galaxies is hypothesized to be driven by global gravitational instability. The observed gas surface density is commonly used to compute the strength of gravitational instability, but according to this criterion, star formation often appears to occur in gravitationally stable regions. One possible reason is that the stellar contribution to the instability has been neglected. We have examined the gravitational instability of the Large Magellanic Cloud considering the gas alone, and considering the combination of collisional gas and collisionless stars. We compare the gravitationally unstable regions with the ongoing star formation revealed by Spitzer observations of young stellar objects. Although only 62%... (More)
Large-scale star formation in disk galaxies is hypothesized to be driven by global gravitational instability. The observed gas surface density is commonly used to compute the strength of gravitational instability, but according to this criterion, star formation often appears to occur in gravitationally stable regions. One possible reason is that the stellar contribution to the instability has been neglected. We have examined the gravitational instability of the Large Magellanic Cloud considering the gas alone, and considering the combination of collisional gas and collisionless stars. We compare the gravitationally unstable regions with the ongoing star formation revealed by Spitzer observations of young stellar objects. Although only 62% of the massive young stellar object candidates are in regions where the gas alone is unstable, some 85% lie in regions unstable due to the combination of gas and stars. The combined stability analysis better describes where star formation occurs. In agreement with other observations and numerical models, a small fraction of the star formation occurs in regions with gravitational stability parameter Q>1. We further measure the dependence of the star formation timescale on the strength of gravitational instability, and quantitatively compare it to the exponential dependence expected from numerical simulations. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Galaxies: ISM Galaxies: Kinematics and Dynamics Galaxies: Stellar Content Galaxies: Magellanic Clouds Stars: Formation
in
The Astrophysical Journal
volume
671
issue
1
pages
374 - 379
publisher
University of Chicago Press
external identifiers
  • Scopus:40249114749
DOI
10.1086/522861
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
cb3952ee-4776-4360-aa82-90014a0e08ec (old id 4361469)
date added to LUP
2014-03-20 16:51:59
date last changed
2016-10-13 04:44:42
@misc{cb3952ee-4776-4360-aa82-90014a0e08ec,
  abstract     = {Large-scale star formation in disk galaxies is hypothesized to be driven by global gravitational instability. The observed gas surface density is commonly used to compute the strength of gravitational instability, but according to this criterion, star formation often appears to occur in gravitationally stable regions. One possible reason is that the stellar contribution to the instability has been neglected. We have examined the gravitational instability of the Large Magellanic Cloud considering the gas alone, and considering the combination of collisional gas and collisionless stars. We compare the gravitationally unstable regions with the ongoing star formation revealed by Spitzer observations of young stellar objects. Although only 62% of the massive young stellar object candidates are in regions where the gas alone is unstable, some 85% lie in regions unstable due to the combination of gas and stars. The combined stability analysis better describes where star formation occurs. In agreement with other observations and numerical models, a small fraction of the star formation occurs in regions with gravitational stability parameter Q>1. We further measure the dependence of the star formation timescale on the strength of gravitational instability, and quantitatively compare it to the exponential dependence expected from numerical simulations.},
  author       = {Yang, Chao-Chin and Gruendl, Robert A. and Chu, You-Hua and Mac Low, Mordecai-Mark and Fukui, Yasuo},
  keyword      = {Galaxies: ISM Galaxies: Kinematics and Dynamics Galaxies: Stellar Content Galaxies: Magellanic Clouds Stars: Formation},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {374--379},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x8e0cdd8)},
  series       = {The Astrophysical Journal},
  title        = {Large-Scale Gravitational Instability and Star Formation in the Large Magellanic Cloud},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/522861},
  volume       = {671},
  year         = {2007},
}