GALEX and star formation
Author: Bianchi, Luciana
Source: Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 335, Number 1, September 2011 , pp. 51-60(10)
Abstract:Wide-field far-UV (FUV, 1344-1786 Å) and near-UV (NUV, 1771-2831 Å) imaging from GALEX provides a deep, comprehensive view of the young stellar populations in hundreds of nearby galaxies, shedding new light on the process of star formation (SF) in different environments, and on the interplay between dust and SF. GALEX's FUV-NUV color is extremely sensitive to stellar populations of ages up to a few hundred Myrs, unambiguously probing their presence and enabling age-dating and stellar mass estimate, together with the characterization of interstellar dust extinction. The deep sensitivity, combined with the wide field-of-view, made possible in particular the discovery and characterization of star formation in extremely low-density, diffuse gas environments such as outer galaxy disks, tidal tails, low-surface-brightness galaxies (LSB) and dwarf Irregular galaxies, and of rejuvenation episodes in early-type galaxies. Such results provide several missing links for interpreting galaxy classes in an evolutionary context, extend our knowledge of the star-formation process to previously unexplored conditions, constrain models of galaxy disk formation, and clarify the mutual role of dust and star formation. We review a variety of star-forming environments studied by GALEX, and provide some model analysis tools useful for interpretation of GALEX measurements, and potentially as basic science planning tools for next-generation UV instruments.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2011-09-01