Dwarf galaxies with ionizing radiation feedback. II. Spatially resolved star formation relation

Ji Hoon Kim, Mark R. Krumholz, John H. Wise, Matthew J. Turk, Nathan J. Goldbaum, Tom Abel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the spatially resolved star formation relation using a galactic disk formed in a comprehensive high-resolution (3.8 pc) simulation. Our new implementation of stellar feedback includes ionizing radiation as well as supernova explosions, and we handle ionizing radiation by solving the radiative transfer equation rather than by a subgrid model. Photoheating by stellar radiation stabilizes gas against Jeans fragmentation, reducing the star formation rate (SFR). Because we have self-consistently calculated the location of ionized gas, we are able to make simulated, spatially resolved observations of star formation tracers, such as Hα emission. We can also observe how stellar feedback manifests itself in the correlation between ionized and molecular gas. Applying our techniques to the disk in a galactic halo of 2.3 × 1011 M , we find that the correlation between SFR density (estimated from mock Hα emission) and H2 density shows large scatter, especially at high resolutions of ≲75 pc that are comparable to the size of giant molecular clouds (GMCs). This is because an aperture of GMC size captures only particular stages of GMC evolution and because Hα traces hot gas around star-forming regions and is displaced from the H2 peaks themselves. By examining the evolving environment around star clusters, we speculate that the breakdown of the traditional star formation laws of the Kennicutt-Schmidt type at small scales is further aided by a combination of stars drifting from their birthplaces and molecular clouds being dispersed via stellar feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • ISM: structure
  • evolution
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: star clusters: general
  • galaxies: structure
  • stars: evolution
  • stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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