Volume 625, May 2019
|Number of page(s)||23|
|Published online||01 May 2019|
Dense gas is not enough: environmental variations in the star formation efficiency of dense molecular gas at 100 pc scales in M 51⋆
European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
2 Observatorio Astronómico Nacional (IGN), C/ Alfonso XII 3, 28014 Madrid, Spain
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
4 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
5 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
6 Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology, MC 220-6, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
7 Sterrenkundig Observatorium, Universiteit Gent, Krijgslaan 281 S9, 9000 Gent, Belgium
8 Department of Astronomy, The Ohio State University, 140 West 18th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
9 IRAM, 300 rue de la Piscine, 38406 Saint Martin d’Hères, France
10 Sorbonne Université, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, École normale supérieure, CNRS, LERMA, 75005 Paris, France
11 Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
12 Astronomisches Rechen-Institut, Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Mönchhofstraße 12-14, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
13 Institüt für Theoretische Astrophysik, Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Albert-Ueberle-Strasse 2, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
14 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
15 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 1003 Lopezville Road, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
16 Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada
Accepted: 26 February 2019
It remains unclear what sets the efficiency with which molecular gas transforms into stars. Here we present a new VLA map of the spiral galaxy M 51 in 33 GHz radio continuum, an extinction-free tracer of star formation, at 3″ scales (∼100 pc). We combined this map with interferometric PdBI/NOEMA observations of CO(1–0) and HCN(1–0) at matched resolution for three regions in M 51 (central molecular ring, northern and southern spiral arm segments). While our measurements roughly fall on the well-known correlation between total infrared and HCN luminosity, bridging the gap between Galactic and extragalactic observations, we find systematic offsets from that relation for different dynamical environments probed in M 51; for example, the southern arm segment is more quiescent due to low star formation efficiency (SFE) of the dense gas, despite its high dense gas fraction. Combining our results with measurements from the literature at 100 pc scales, we find that the SFE of the dense gas and the dense gas fraction anti-correlate and correlate, respectively, with the local stellar mass surface density. This is consistent with previous kpc-scale studies. In addition, we find a significant anti-correlation between the SFE and velocity dispersion of the dense gas. Finally, we confirm that a correlation also holds between star formation rate surface density and the dense gas fraction, but it is not stronger than the correlation with dense gas surface density. Our results are hard to reconcile with models relying on a universal gas density threshold for star formation and suggest that turbulence and galactic dynamics play a major role in setting how efficiently dense gas converts into stars.
Key words: galaxies: individual: NGC 5194 / galaxies: ISM / galaxies: star formation / galaxies: structure
The VLA map, Table A.1, and full Table A.2 are available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (22.214.171.124) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/625/A19
© ESO 2019
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