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Molecular gas in galaxies: changing conditions from disks to starbursts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2016

Christine D. Wilson*
Affiliation:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, CanadaL8S 4M1 email: wilsoncd@mcmaster.ca
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Abstract

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In understanding galaxy evolution, one central question is how star formation is regulated in galaxies. Changes in star formation rates are likely tied to changes in the interstellar medium, particularly the molecular gas which is the fuel for star formation. I will discuss our recent results which use data from the Herschel Space Observatory, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and other telescopes to determine the typical density, temperature, and surface density of the molecular gas in various nearby galaxies. Comparing the properties of molecular gas in starburst and other active galaxies with more quiescent spiral disks provides some clues as to how changes in the physical state of the gas, such as mean density, can lead to enhanced star formation rates.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2016 

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