Volume 643, November 2020
|Number of page(s)||21|
|Published online||20 November 2020|
Scaling relations and baryonic cycling in local star-forming galaxies
II. Gas content and star-formation efficiency
INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Enrico Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Salita Moiariello, 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy
3 Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, 51 Ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
4 Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italy
Accepted: 2 October 2020
Assessments of the cold-gas reservoir in galaxies are a cornerstone for understanding star-formation processes and the role of feedback and baryonic cycling in galaxy evolution. Here we exploit a sample of 392 galaxies (dubbed MAGMA, Metallicity and Gas for Mass Assembly), presented in a recent paper, to quantify molecular and atomic gas properties across a broad range in stellar mass, Mstar, from ∼107 − 1011 M⊙. First, we find the metallicity (Z) dependence of the conversion factor for CO luminosity to molecular H2 mass αCO to be shallower than previous estimates, with αCO ∝ (Z/Z⊙)−1.55. Second, molecular gas mass MH2 is found to be strongly correlated with Mstar and star-formation rate (SFR), enabling predictions of MH2 good to within ∼0.2 dex; analogous relations for atomic gas mass MHI and total gas mass Mgas are less accurate, ∼0.4 dex and ∼0.3 dex, respectively. Indeed, the behavior of atomic gas mass MHI in MAGMA scaling relations suggests that it may be a third, independent variable that encapsulates information about the circumgalactic environment and gas accretion. If Mgas is considered to depend on MHI, together with Mstar and SFR, we obtain a relation that predicts Mgas to within ∼0.05 dex. Finally, the analysis of depletion times and the scaling of MHI/Mstar and MH2/Mstar over three different mass bins suggests that the partition of gas and the regulation of star formation through gas content depends on the mass regime. Dwarf galaxies (Mstar ≲ 3 × 109 M⊙) tend to be overwhelmed by (H I) accretion, and despite short τH2 (and thus presumably high star-formation efficiency), star formation is unable to keep up with the gas supply. For galaxies in the intermediate Mstar “gas-equilibrium” bin (3 × 109 M⊙ ≲ Mstar ≲3 × 1010 M⊙), star formation proceeds apace with gas availability, and H I and H2 are both proportional to SFR. In the most massive “gas-poor, bimodality” regime (Mstar ≳ 3 × 1010 M⊙), H I does not apparently participate in star formation, although it generally dominates in mass over H2. Our results confirm that atomic gas plays a key role in baryonic cycling, and is a fundamental ingredient for current and future star formation, especially in dwarf galaxies.
Key words: galaxies: star formation / galaxies: ISM / galaxies: fundamental parameters / galaxies: statistics / galaxies: dwarf / evolution
© ESO 2020
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