Magnetic fields and star formation in low-mass Magellanic-type and peculiar galaxies⋆
Obserwatorium Astronomiczne Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego,
ul. Orla 171, 30-244
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 Argelander-Institüt für Astronomie, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
4 Astronomisches Institut der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstrasse 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany
Accepted: 6 June 2014
Aims. We investigate how magnetic properties of Magellanic-type and perturbed objects are related to star-forming activity, galactic type, and mass.
Methods. We present radio and magnetic properties of five Magellanic-type and two peculiar low-mass galaxies observed at 4.85 and/or 8.35 GHz with the Effelsberg 100 m telescope. The sample is extended to 17 objects by including five Magellanic-type galaxies and five dwarf ones.
Results. The distribution of the observed radio emission of low-mass galaxies at 4.85/8.35 GHz is closely connected with the galactic optical discs, which are independent for unperturbed galaxies and those which show signs of tidal interactions. The strengths of total magnetic field are within 5−9 μG, while the ordered fields reach 1−2 μG, and both these values are larger than in typical dwarf galaxies and lower than in spirals. The magnetic field strengths in the extended sample of 17 low-mass galaxies are well correlated with the surface density of star formation rate (correlation coefficient of 0.87) and manifest a power-law relation with an exponent of 0.25 ± 0.02 extending a similar relation found for dwarf galaxies. We claim that the production of magnetic energy per supernova event is very similar for all the various galaxies. It constitutes about 3% (1049 erg) of the individual supernovae energy release. We show that the total magnetic field energy in galaxies is almost linearly related to the galactic gas mass, which indicates equipartition of the magnetic energy and the turbulent kinetic energy of the interstellar medium. The Magellanic-type galaxies fit very well with the radio-infrared relation constructed for surface brightness of galaxies of various types, including bright spirals and interacting objects (with a slope of 0.96 ± 0.03 and correlation coefficient of 0.95). We found that the typical far-infrared relation based on luminosity of galaxies is tighter and steeper but more likely to inherit a partial correlation from a tendency that larger objects are also more luminous.
Conclusions. The estimated values of thermal fractions, radio spectral indices, and magnetic field strengths of the Magellanic-type galaxies are between the values determined for grand-design spirals and dwarf galaxies. The confirmed magnetic field-star formation and radio-infrared relations for low-mass galaxies point to similar physical processes that must be at work in all galaxies. More massive, larger galaxies have usually stronger magnetic fields and larger global star formation rates, but we show that their values of magnetic energy release per supernova explosion are still similar to those of dwarf galaxies.
Key words: galaxies: general / galaxies: magnetic fields / galaxies: interactions / radio continuum: galaxies
© ESO, 2014