Modelling ultraviolet-line diagnostics of stars, the ionized and the neutral interstellar medium in star-forming galaxies
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Steward Observ
Univ Arizona, Dept Astron
galaxies: star clusters: general
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PublisherOXFORD UNIV PRESS
CitationModelling ultraviolet-line diagnostics of stars, the ionized and the neutral interstellar medium in star-forming galaxies 2017, 470 (3):3532 Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Rights© 2017 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
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AbstractWe combine state-of-the-art models for the production of stellar radiation and its transfer through the interstellar medium (ISM) to investigate ultraviolet-line diagnostics of stars, the ionized and the neutral ISM in star-forming galaxies. We start by assessing the reliability of our stellar population synthesis modelling by fitting absorption-line indices in the ISM-free ultraviolet spectra of 10 Large Magellanic Cloud clusters. In doing so, we find that neglecting stochastic sampling of the stellar initial mass function in these young (similar to 10-100 Myr), low-mass clusters affects negligibly ultraviolet-based age and metallicity estimates but can lead to significant overestimates of stellar mass. Then, we proceed and develop a simple approach, based on an idealized description of the main features of the ISM, to compute in a physically consistent way the combined influence of nebular emission and interstellar absorption on ultraviolet spectra of star-forming galaxies. Our model accounts for the transfer of radiation through the ionized interiors and outer neutral envelopes of short-lived stellar birth clouds, as well as for radiative transfer through a diffuse intercloud medium. We use this approach to explore the entangled signatures of stars, the ionized and the neutral ISM in ultraviolet spectra of star-forming galaxies. We find that, aside from a few notable exceptions, most standard ultraviolet indices defined in the spectra of ISM-free stellar populations are prone to significant contamination by the ISM, which increases with metallicity. We also identify several nebular-emission and interstellar-absorption features, which stand out as particularly clean tracers of the different phases of the ISM.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsEuropean Research Council [321323-NEOGAL]; National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) [PAPIIT IG100115]
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