High star formation rates in turbulent atomic-dominated gas in the interacting galaxies IC 2163 and NGC 2207
Elmegreen, Bruce G.
Elmegreen, Debra Meloy
CO observations of the interacting galaxies IC 2163 and NGC 2207 are combined with HI, Halpha and 24 microns to study the star formation rate (SFR) surface density as a function of the gas surface density. More than half of the high SFR regions are HI dominated. When compared to other galaxies, these HI-dominated regions have excess SFRs relative to their molecular gas surface densities but normal SFRs relative to their total gas surface densities. The HI-dominated regions are mostly located in the outer part of NGC 2207, where the HI velocity dispersion is high, 40 - 50 km/s. We suggest that the star-forming clouds in these regions have envelopes at lower densities than normal, making them predominantly atomic, and cores at higher densities than normal because of the high turbulent Mach numbers. This is consistent with theoretical predictions of a flattening in the density probability distribution function for compressive, high Mach number turbulence.