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Date and Time of the Query: 2019-06-16 T22:38:16 PDT
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For refcode 2007ApJ...669L...9D:
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2007ApJ...669L...9D A Dense Gas Trigger for OH Megamasers Jeremy Darling Abstract. HCN and CO line diagnostics provide new insight into the OH megamaser (OHM) phenomenon, suggesting a dense gas trigger for OHMs. We identify three physical properties that differentiate OHM hosts from other starburst galaxies: (1) OHMs have the highest mean molecular gas densities among starburst galaxies; nearly all OHM hosts have n^dot^(H_2_)=10^3^ -- 10^4^ cm^-3^ (OH line-emitting clouds likely have n(H_2_)>10^4^ cm^-3^). (2) OHM hosts are a distinct population in the nonlinear part of the IR-CO relation. (3) OHM hosts have exceptionally high dense molecular gas fractions, L_HCN_/L_CO_>0.07, and comprise roughly half of this unusual population. OH absorbers and kilomasers generally follow the linear IR-CO relation and are uniformly distributed in dense gas fraction and L_HCN_, demonstrating that OHMs are independent of OH abundance. The fraction of non-OHMs with high mean densities and high dense gas fractions constrains beaming to be a minor effect: OHM emission solid angle must exceed 2{pi} steradians. Contrary to conventional wisdom, IR luminosity does not dictate OHM formation; both star formation and OHM activity are consequences of tidal density enhancements accompanying galaxy interactions. The OHM fraction in starbursts is likely due to the fraction of mergers experiencing a temporal spike in tidally driven density enhancement. OHMs are thus signposts marking the most intense, compact, and unusual modes of star formation in the local universe. Future high-redshift OHM surveys can now be interpreted in a star formation and galaxy evolution context, indicating both the merging rate of galaxies and the burst contribution to star formation. Key words: Galaxies: Interactions, Galaxies: Nuclei, Galaxies: Starburst, Masers, Radio Lines: Galaxies
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