The Spatially Resolved [CII] Cooling Line Deficit in Galaxies

January 2017 • 2017ApJ...834....5S

Authors • Smith, J. D. T. • Croxall, Kevin • Draine, Bruce • De Looze, Ilse • Sandstrom, Karin • Armus, Lee • Beirão, Pedro • Bolatto, Alberto • Boquien, Mederic • Brandl, Bernhard • Crocker, Alison • Dale, Daniel A. • Galametz, Maud • Groves, Brent • Helou, George • Herrera-Camus, Rodrigo • Hunt, Leslie • Kennicutt, Robert • Walter, Fabian • Wolfire, Mark

Abstract • We present [C II] 158 μm measurements from over 15,000 resolved regions within 54 nearby galaxies of the Kingfish program to investigate the so-called [C II] “line-cooling deficit” long known to occur in galaxies with different luminosities. The [C II]/TIR ratio ranges from above 1% to below 0.1% in the sample, with a mean value of 0.48 ± 0.21%. We find that the surface density of 24 μm emission dominates this trend, with [C II]/TIR dropping as ν {I}ν (24 μ {{m}}) increases. Deviations from this overall decline are correlated with changes in the gas-phase metal abundance, with higher metallicity associated with deeper deficits at a fixed surface brightness. We supplement the local sample with resolved [C II] measurements from nearby luminous infrared galaxies and high-redshift sources from z = 1.8-6.4, and find that star formation rate density drives a continuous trend of deepening [C II] deficit across six orders of magnitude in {{{Σ }}}{{sfr}}. The tightness of this correlation suggests that an approximate {{{Σ }}}{{sfr}} can be estimated directly from global measurements of [C II]/TIR, and a relation is provided to do so. Several low-luminosity active galactic nucleus (AGN) hosts in the sample show additional and significant central suppression of [C II]/TIR, but these deficit enhancements occur not in those AGNs with the highest X-ray luminosities, but instead those with the highest central starlight intensities. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the [C II] line-cooling line deficit in galaxies likely arises from local physical phenomena in interstellar gas.


IPAC Authors


Lee Armus

Senior Scientist

George Helou

IPAC Executive Director