Volume 437, Number 2, July II 2005
|Page(s)||389 - 410|
|Published online||21 June 2005|
The molecular connection to the FIR-radio continuum correlation in galaxies
Istituto di Radioastronomia del CNR, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Loc. Poggio dei Pini, Strada 54, 09012 Capoterra (CA), Italy
3 Radio Astronomy Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
4 Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, PO Box 76, Epping, N.S.W., 1710, Australia
5 School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
6 Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria, 09042 Monserrato (CA), Italy
Accepted: 22 March 2005
We have studied the relationships between the radio continuum (RC) and CO emission for a set of galaxies selected from the BIMA Survey of Nearby Galaxies. We find that the global CO-RC correlation is as tight as the global FIR-RC correlation for the 24 galaxies studied. Within 9 galaxies with ~6´´ CO and RC data available, the CO and RC emission is as tightly correlated as its global value; the radially averaged correlation is nearly linear, extends over four order of magnitude and holds down to the smallest linear resolution of the observations, which is ~100 pc. We define qCO/RC as the log of the ratio of the CO to RC flux as a way to characterize the CO-RC correlation. Combining 6´´ pixel-by-pixel comparisons across all sources yields an average small-scale correlation of qCO/RC = ; that is, the spatially resolved correlation has a dispersion that is less than a factor of 2. There are however systematic variations in the CO/RC ratio; the strongest organized structures in qCO/RC tend to be found along spiral arms and on size scales much larger than the resolution of the observations. We do not measure any systematic trend in CO/RC ratio as a function of radius in galaxies. The constancy of the CO/RC ratio stands in contrast to the previously measured decrease in the FIR/RC ratio as a function of radius in galaxies. We suggest that the excellent correlation between the CO, RC and FIR emission in galaxies is a consequence of regulation by hydrostatic pressure; this model links all three emissions without invoking an explicit dependence on a star formation scenario.
Key words: radio continuum: galaxies / galaxies: spiral / ISM: molecules / stars: formation
© ESO, 2005
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