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The Elusive ISM of Dwarf Galaxies: Excess Submillimetre Emission and CO-Dark Molecular Gas

By Suzanne C. Madden, Maud Galametz, Diane Cormier, Vianney Lebouteiller, Frederic Galliano, Sacha Hony, Aurelie Remy, Marc Sauvage, Alessandra Contursi, Eckhard Sturm, Albrecht Poglitsch, Michael Pohlen, M. W. L. Smith, George Bendo, Brian O'Halloran, The SPIRE SAG 2 and PACS consortia.


The Herschel Dwarf Galaxy Survey investigates the interplay of star formation activity and the the metal-poor gas and dust of dwarf galaxies using FIR and submillimetre imaging spectroscopic and photometric observations in the 50 to 550mu window of the Herschel Space Observatory. The dust SEDs are well constrained with the new Herschel and MIR Spitzer data. A submillimetre excess is often found in low metallicity galaxies, which,if tracing very cold dust, would highlight large dust masses not easily reconciled in some cases, given the low metallicities and expected gas-to-dust mass ratios. The galaxies are also mapped in the FIR fine-structure lines (63 and 145mu OI, 158mu CII, 122 and 205mu NII, 88mu OIII) probing the low density ionised gas, the HII regions and photodissociation regions. While still early in the Herschel mission we can already see, along with earlier studies, that line ratios in the metal-poor ISM differ remarkably from those in the metal-rich starburst environments. In dwarf galaxies, L[CII]/L(CO) (>10^4) is at least an order of magnitude greater than in the most metal-rich starburst galaxies. The enhanced [CII] arises from the larger photodissociation region where H2, not traced by the CO, can exist. The 88mu [OIII] line usually dominates the FIR line emission over galaxy-wide scales in dwarf galaxies, not the 158mu [CII] line which is the dominant FIR cooling line in metal-rich galaxies. All of the FIR lines together can contribute 1% to 2% of the L(TIR). The Herschel Dwarf Galaxy survey will provide statistical information on the nature of the dust and gas in low metallicity galaxies, elucidating the origin of the submm excess in dwarf galaxies, and help determine a ([CII] +CO) to H2 conversion factor, thus providing observational constraints on chemical evolution models of galaxies.Comment: Proceedings of the 5th Zermatt Symposium: "Conditions and Impact of Star Formation: New Results from Herschel and Beyond" September 19-24, 2010 Minor Language Correction

Topics: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1051/eas/1152014
OAI identifier:
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