Journal Article

Diverging UV and Hα fluxes of star-forming galaxies predicted by the IGIMF theory

Jan Pflamm-Altenburg, Carsten Weidner and Pavel Kroupa

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 1, pages 394-400
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Diverging UV and Hα fluxes of star-forming galaxies predicted by the IGIMF theory

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Although the stellar initial mass function (IMF) has only been directly determined in star clusters, it has been manifoldly applied on galaxy-wide scales. But taking the clustered nature of star formation into account the galaxy-wide IMF is constructed by adding all IMFs of all young star clusters leading to an integrated galactic initial mass function (IGIMF). The IGIMF is top-light compared to the canonical IMF in star clusters and steepens with decreasing total star formation rate (SFR). This discrepancy is marginal for large disc galaxies but becomes significant for Small Magellanic Cloud type galaxies and less massive ones. We here construct IGIMF-based relations between the total far- and near-ultraviolet luminosities of galaxies and the underlying SFR. We make the prediction that the Hα luminosity of star-forming dwarf galaxies decreases faster with decreasing SFR than the ultraviolet (UV) luminosity. This turn-down of the Hα/UV-flux ratio should be evident below total SFRs of 10−2 M yr−1.

Keywords: stars: formation; stars: luminosity function, mass function; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: fundamental parameters; galaxies: irregular; cosmology: observations

Journal Article.  4812 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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