How Galactic Environment affects the Dynamical State of Molecular Clouds and their Star Formation Efficiency. (arXiv:1908.04306v1 [astro-ph.GA])

How Galactic Environment affects the Dynamical State of Molecular Clouds and their Star Formation Efficiency. (arXiv:1908.04306v1 [astro-ph.GA])
<a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Schruba_A/0/1/0/all/0/1">Andreas Schruba</a>, <a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Kruijssen_J/0/1/0/all/0/1">J. M. Diederik Kruijssen</a>, <a href="http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Leroy_A/0/1/0/all/0/1">Adam K. Leroy</a>

We investigate how the dynamical state of molecular clouds relates to host
galaxy environment, and how this impacts the star formation efficiency in the
Milky Way and seven nearby galaxies. We compile measurements of molecular cloud
and host galaxy properties and determine mass-weighted mean cloud properties
for entire galaxies and distinct subregions within. We find molecular clouds to
be in ambient pressure-balanced virial equilibrium, where clouds in gas-rich,
molecular-dominated, high-pressure regions are close to self-virialization,
whereas clouds in gas-poor, atomic-dominated, low-pressure environments achieve
a balance between their internal kinetic pressure and external pressure from
the ambient medium. The star formation efficiency per free-fall time of
molecular clouds is low ~0.1%-1% and shows systematic variations of 2 dex as a
function of the virial parameter and host galactic environment. The trend
observed for clouds in low-pressure environments–as the solar neighborhood–is
well matched by state-of-the-art turbulence-regulated models of star formation.
However, these models substantially overpredict the low observed star formation
efficiencies of clouds in high-pressure environments, which suggests the
importance of additional physical parameters not yet considered by these
models.

We investigate how the dynamical state of molecular clouds relates to host
galaxy environment, and how this impacts the star formation efficiency in the
Milky Way and seven nearby galaxies. We compile measurements of molecular cloud
and host galaxy properties and determine mass-weighted mean cloud properties
for entire galaxies and distinct subregions within. We find molecular clouds to
be in ambient pressure-balanced virial equilibrium, where clouds in gas-rich,
molecular-dominated, high-pressure regions are close to self-virialization,
whereas clouds in gas-poor, atomic-dominated, low-pressure environments achieve
a balance between their internal kinetic pressure and external pressure from
the ambient medium. The star formation efficiency per free-fall time of
molecular clouds is low ~0.1%-1% and shows systematic variations of 2 dex as a
function of the virial parameter and host galactic environment. The trend
observed for clouds in low-pressure environments–as the solar neighborhood–is
well matched by state-of-the-art turbulence-regulated models of star formation.
However, these models substantially overpredict the low observed star formation
efficiencies of clouds in high-pressure environments, which suggests the
importance of additional physical parameters not yet considered by these
models.

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