Session B5: Astronomy, Cosmology, Gravity

2:00 PM–4:14 PM, Friday, May 16, 2008
Miller Room: 104

Chair: Stephen Tufte, Lewis and Clark

Abstract ID: BAPS.2008.NWS.B5.10

Abstract: B5.00010 : Correlating vertical velocities of ionized interstellar medium to star formation rates in nearby face-on spiral galaxies

3:50 PM–4:02 PM

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  Christina Ketchum
    (Lewis and Clark College)

  Stephen Tufte
    (Lewis and Clark College)

  Mathew Bershady
  David Andersen

We present observations of the ionized interstellar medium of 39 face-on spiral galaxies obtained with the WIYN 3.5-m telescope coupled to the Sparsepak integral field unit. We investigate the relationship between the vertical motions of the gas, as measured from the H-alpha line-widths, and the local star formation activity, traced by the H-alpha intensity. Several trends were found: 1) there exists a threshold H-alpha intensity below which the line-width is uncorrelated with the star formation activity and is presumably dominated by other thermal and turbulent processes 2) above this threshold many galaxies exhibit a strong positive correlation between the H-alpha line width and intensity and 3) even higher H-alpha intensities demonstrated a secondary trend line, in which the intensity leveled-off with increasing H-alpha line-width.

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