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Date and Time of the Query: 2019-06-19 T06:14:34 PDT
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For refcode 1998ApJ...506L..19F:
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Copyright by American Astronomical Society. Reproduced by permission
1998ApJ...506L..19F Discovery of Recent Star Formation in the Extreme Outer Regions of Disk Galaxies ANNETTE M. N. FERGUSON, ROSEMARY F. G. WYSE, J. S. GALLAGHER, AND DEIDRE A. HUNTER Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218 Received 1998 April 27; accepted 1998 August 12; published 1998 September 9 ABSTRACT We present deep H{alpha} images of three nearby late-type spiral galaxies (NGC 628, NGC 1058, and NGC 6946), which reveal the presence of H II regions out to, and beyond, two optical radii (defined by the 25th B- band isophote). The outermost H II regions appear small, faint, and isolated compared to their inner disk counterparts and are distributed in organized spiral arm structures, likely associated with underlying H I arms and faint stellar arms. The relationship between the azimuthally averaged H {alpha} surface brightness (proportional to star formation rate per unit area) and the total gas surface density is observed to steepen considerably at low gas surface densities. We find that this effect is largely driven by a sharp decrease in the covering factor of star formation at large radii and not by changes in the rate at which stars form locally. An azimuthally averaged analysis of the gravitational stability of the disk of NGC 6946 reveals that while the existence of star formation in the extreme outer disk is consistent with the Toomre Q instability model, the low rates observed are only compatible with the model when a constant gaseous velocity dispersion is assumed. We suggest that the observed behavior could also be explained by a model in which the star formation rate has an intrinsic dependence on the azimuthally averaged gas volume density, which decreases rapidly in the outer disk due to the vertical flaring of the gas layer. Subject headings: galaxies: evolution-galaxies: individual (NGC 628, NGC 1058, NGC 6946)-H II regions-stars: formation
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