Laboratory for Millimeter-wave Astronomy | Katie Jameson's Research Research

Katie Jameson's Research

Katie Jameson's Research

I am currently studying star formation in the low metallicity environments of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) and Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) using FIR Spitzer, H-alpha, HI, and CO data with Prof. Alberto Bolatto. My aim is to determine how the environment in these galaxies affects the star formation law. Ulitmately, a better understanding of the relation of star formation rate to molecular and atomic gas will lead to a more accurate star formation law, necessary for models of galaxy evolution.

ADS Listing for past 5 years

Due to the proximity of SMC and LMC, we are able to achieve a resolution of 15" (~12pc), which far surpasses the resolutions achieved for other nearby galaxies. We produce molecular hydrogen (H2) maps from models of the dust continuum emission derived from FIR Spitzer imaging rather than from CO maps, which avoids the biases introduced by CO as a tracer of H2. We compare the shape of the global star formation law, as well as depletion time-scales to those of nearby galaxies in order to see what effect metallicity may have overall. By comparing our results to the predictions of different models we can better understand what is driving star formation in these systems. Different environments within the galaxies are also explored individually to see what effect the local environment has on star formation.

MCELS H-alpha image of the SMC with NANTEN CO contours overlaid.

Plot of surface density of total gas vs. surface density of the star formation rate (SFR) with linear filled contours showing our results from the SMC. Overlaid linear line contours show the result of removing diffuse H-alpha emission. The thin dashed lines show the depletion percent in 10^8 years. The thick dashed line shows the model from Krumholz, McKee, and Tunlinson(2009) with c=1 and Z=0.2.

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