Soft X-ray to far infrared luminosities ratio in star-forming galaxies: predictions from synthesis models
Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC–INTA), 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain
2 Laboratorio de Astrofísica Espacial y Física Fundamental (LAEFF–INTA), POB 78, 28691 Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain e-mail: email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Dpto. de Física Moderna, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Cantabria, 39005 Santander, Spain
4 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC), 18008 Granada, Spain e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 15 January 2008
Context. A good correlation has been found in star-forming galaxies, between the soft X-ray and the far infrared or radio luminosities. The soft X-ray emission in star-forming regions is driven by the heating of the diffuse interstellar medium, and by the mechanical energy released by stellar winds and supernova explosions, both directly linked to the strength of the star formation episode.
Aims. We analyze the relation between the soft X-ray and far infrared luminosities as predicted by evolutionary population synthesis models, aiming first to test the validity of the soft X-ray luminosity as a star formation rate estimator, using the already known calibration of the FIR luminosity as a proxy, and second to propose a calibration based on the predictions of evolutionary synthesis models.
Methods. We have computed the soft X-ray and far infrared luminosities expected for a massive starburst as a function of evolutionary state, the efficiency of the conversion of mechanical energy into soft X-ray luminosity, the star formation history (instantaneous or extended) and dust abundance, and we have compared these predictions with observational values for 62 star-forming galaxies taken from the literature.
Results. The observational ratios are consistent with the model predictions under realistic assumptions (young starbursts, and efficiency in the re-processing of mechanical energy of a few percent), confirming the correlation between the diffuse soft X-ray emission and the star formation episode.
Conclusions. The soft X-ray emission of the diffuse, extended gas surrounding massive star-forming regions, can be used as a star formation rate tracer. The empirical calibrations presented in the literature are supported by the predictions of evolutionary synthesis models, and by the analysis of a larger number of star-forming galaxies. The calibrations are, however, biased towards galaxies dominated by relatively unevolved starbursts.
Key words: ISM: kinematics and dynamics / ISM: supernova remnants / galaxies: starburst / X-rays: galaxies / X-rays: ISM
© ESO, 2008