The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope Nearby Galaxies Legacy Survey. II. Warm molecular gas and star formation in three field spiral galaxies
van der Werf, P.
We present the results of large-area 12CO J = 3-2 emission mapping of three nearby field galaxies, NGC 628, NGC 3521, and NGC 3627, completed at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope as part of the Nearby Galaxies Legacy Survey. These galaxies all have moderate to strong 12CO J = 3-2 detections over large areas of the fields observed by the survey, showing resolved structure and dynamics in their warm/dense molecular gas disks. All three galaxies were part of the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey sample, and as such have excellent published multiwavelength ancillary data. These data sets allow us to examine the star formation properties, gas content, and dynamics of these galaxies on sub-kiloparsec scales. We find that the global gas depletion time for dense/warm molecular gas in these galaxies is consistent with other results for nearby spiral galaxies, indicating this may be independent of galaxy properties such as structures, gas compositions, and environments. Similar to the results from The H I Nearby Galaxy Survey, we do not see a correlation of the star formation efficiency with the gas surface density consistent with the Schmidt-Kennicutt law. Finally, we find that the star formation efficiency of the dense molecular gas traced by 12CO J = 3-2 is potentially flat or slightly declining as a function of molecular gas density, the 12CO J = 3-2/J = 1-0 ratio (in contrast to the correlation found in a previous study into the starburst galaxy M83), and the fraction of total gas in molecular form.