Hot interstellar gas and stellar energy feedback in the antennae galaxies

Joannah M. Metz, Randall L. Cooper, Martín A. Guerrero, You Hua Chu, C. H.Rosie Chen, Robert A. Gruendl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have analyzed Chandra archival observations of the Antennae galaxies to study the distribution and physical properties of its hot interstellar gas. Eleven distinct diffuse X-ray emission regions are selected according to their underlying interstellar structures and star formation activity. The X-ray spectra of these regions are used to determine their thermal energy content and cooling timescales. Young star clusters in these regions are also identified and their photometric measurements are compared to evolutionary stellar population synthesis models to assess their masses and ages. The cluster properties are then used to determine the stellar wind and supernova energies injected into the interstellar medium (ISM). Comparisons between the thermal energy in the hot ISM and the expected stellar energy input show that young star clusters are sufficient to power the X-ray-emitting gas in some, but not all, active star formation regions. Super star clusters, with masses ≥1×105 M⊙, heat the ISM, but the yield of hot interstellar gas is not directly proportional to the cluster mass, Finally, there exist diffuse X-ray emission regions that do not show active star formation or massive young star clusters. These regions may be powered by field stars or low-mass clusters formed within the last ∼100 Myr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-741
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Apr 20 2004


  • Galaxies: individual (NGC 4038, NGC 4039, Antennae)
  • Galaxies: interactions galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: star clusters - X-rays: galaxies
  • X-rays: ISM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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