Using [C II] 158 μm Emission from Isolated ISM Phases as a Star Formation Rate Indicator

November 2019 • 2019ApJ...886...60S

Authors • Sutter, Jessica • Dale, Daniel A. • Croxall, Kevin V. • Pelligrini, Eric W. • Smith, J. D. T. • Appleton, Philip N. • Beirão, Pedro • Bolatto, Alberto D. • Calzetti, Daniela • Crocker, Alison • De Looze, Ilse • Draine, Bruce • Galametz, Maud • Groves, Brent A. • Helou, George • Herrera-Camus, Rodrigo • Hunt, Leslie K. • Kennicutt, Robert C. • Roussel, Hélène • Wolfire, Mark G.

Abstract • The brightest observed emission line in many star-forming galaxies is the [{{C}} {{II}}] 158 μm line, making it detectable up to z ∼ 7. In order to better understand and quantify the [{{C}} {{II}}] emission as a tracer of star formation, the theoretical ratio between the [{{N}} {{II}}] 205 μm emission and the [{{C}} {{II}}] 158 μm emission has been employed to empirically determine the fraction of [{{C}} {{II}}] emission that originates from the ionized and neutral phases of the interstellar medium (ISM). Sub-kiloparsec measurements of the [{{C}} {{II}}] 158 μm and [{{N}} {{II}}] 205 μm lines in nearby galaxies have recently become available as part of the Key Insights in Nearby Galaxies: a Far Infrared Survey with Herschel (KINGFISH) and Beyond the Peak programs. With the information from these two far-infrared lines along with the multi-wavelength suite of KINGFISH data, a calibration of the [{{C}} {{II}}] emission line as a star formation rate (SFR) indicator and a better understanding of the [{{C}} {{II}}] deficit are pursued. [{{C}} {{II}}] emission is also compared to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission in these regions to compare photoelectric heating from PAH molecules to cooling by [{{C}} {{II}}] in the neutral and ionized phases of the ISM. We find that the [{{C}} {{II}}] emission originating in the neutral phase of the ISM does not exhibit a deficit with respect to the infrared luminosity and is therefore preferred over the [{{C}} {{II}}] emission originating in the ionized phase of the ISM as an SFR indicator for the normal star-forming galaxies included in this sample.


IPAC Authors


Phil Appleton

Senior Scientist

George Helou

IPAC Executive Director