Recent observations have revealed that damped Lyα clouds (DLAs) host star formation activity. In order to examine if such star formation activity can be triggered by ionization fronts, we perform high-resolution hydrodynamics and radiative transfer simulations of the effect of radiative feedback from propagating ionization fronts on high-density clumps. We examine two sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation field to which high-redshift (z ~ 3) galaxies could be exposed: one corresponding to the UV radiation originating from stars within the DLA, itself, and the other corresponding to the UV background radiation. We find that, for larger clouds, the propagating I-fronts created by local stellar sources can trigger cooling instability and collapse of significant part, up to 85 per cent, of the cloud, creating conditions for star formation in a time-scale of a few Myr. The passage of the I-front also triggers collapse of smaller clumps (with radii below ~4 pc), but in these cases the resulting cold and dense gas does not reach conditions conducive to star formation. Assuming that 85 per cent of the gas initially in the clump is converted into stars, we obtain a star formation rate of ~0.25Msolaryr-1kpc-2. This is somewhat higher than the value derived from recent observations. On the other hand, the background UV radiation which has harder spectrum fails to trigger cooling and collapse. Instead, the hard photons which have long mean free-path heat the dense clumps, which as a result expand and essentially dissolve in the ambient medium. Therefore, the star formation activity in DLAs is strongly regulated by the radiative feedback, both from the external UV background and internal stellar sources and we predict quiescent evolution of DLAs (not starburst-like evolution).

Fate of clumps in damped Lya systems

FERRARA, ANDREA
2006

Abstract

Recent observations have revealed that damped Lyα clouds (DLAs) host star formation activity. In order to examine if such star formation activity can be triggered by ionization fronts, we perform high-resolution hydrodynamics and radiative transfer simulations of the effect of radiative feedback from propagating ionization fronts on high-density clumps. We examine two sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation field to which high-redshift (z ~ 3) galaxies could be exposed: one corresponding to the UV radiation originating from stars within the DLA, itself, and the other corresponding to the UV background radiation. We find that, for larger clouds, the propagating I-fronts created by local stellar sources can trigger cooling instability and collapse of significant part, up to 85 per cent, of the cloud, creating conditions for star formation in a time-scale of a few Myr. The passage of the I-front also triggers collapse of smaller clumps (with radii below ~4 pc), but in these cases the resulting cold and dense gas does not reach conditions conducive to star formation. Assuming that 85 per cent of the gas initially in the clump is converted into stars, we obtain a star formation rate of ~0.25Msolaryr-1kpc-2. This is somewhat higher than the value derived from recent observations. On the other hand, the background UV radiation which has harder spectrum fails to trigger cooling and collapse. Instead, the hard photons which have long mean free-path heat the dense clumps, which as a result expand and essentially dissolve in the ambient medium. Therefore, the star formation activity in DLAs is strongly regulated by the radiative feedback, both from the external UV background and internal stellar sources and we predict quiescent evolution of DLAs (not starburst-like evolution).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11384/6626
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