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Comparing molecular gas across cosmic time-scales: the Milky Way as both a typical spiral galaxy and a high-redshift galaxy analogue

Kruijssen, JMD and Longmore, SN (2013) Comparing molecular gas across cosmic time-scales: the Milky Way as both a typical spiral galaxy and a high-redshift galaxy analogue. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, 435 (3). pp. 2598-2603. ISSN 0035-8711

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Abstract

Detailed observations of the nearest star-forming regions in the Milky Way (MW) provide the ultimate benchmark for studying star formation. The extent to which the results of these Galaxy-based studies can be extrapolated to extragalactic systems depends on the overlap of the environmental conditions probed. In this paper, we compare the properties of clouds and star-forming regions in the MW with those in nearby galaxies and in the high-redshift Universe. We find that in terms of their baryonic composition, kinematics and densities, the clouds in the solar neighbourhood are similar to those in nearby galaxies. The clouds and regions in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ, i.e. the inner 250 pc) of the MW are indistinguishable from high-redshift clouds and galaxies. The presently low star formation rate in the CMZ therefore implies that either (1) its gas represents the initial conditions for high-redshift starbursts or (2) some yet unidentified process consistently suppresses star formation over ≳ 108 yr time-scales. We conclude that the MW contains large reservoirs of gas with properties directly comparable to most of the known range of star formation environments and is therefore an excellent template for studying star formation across cosmological time-scales.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society following peer review. The version of record MNRAS (November 01, 2013) 435 (3): 2598-2603 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stt1634
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical And Space Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2016 09:49
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2016 09:49
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/mnras/stt1634
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3732

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