HAL will be down for maintenance from Friday, June 10 at 4pm through Monday, June 13 at 9am. More information
Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Low star formation efficiency due to turbulent adiabatic compression in the Taffy bridge

Abstract : The Taffy system (UGC 12914/15) consists of two massive spiral galaxies that had a head-on collision about 20 Myr ago. It represents an ideal laboratory for studying the reaction of the interstellar medium (ISM) to a high-speed (∼1000 km s−1) gas-gas collision. New sensitive, high-resolution (2.7″ or ∼800 pc) CO(1−0) observations of the Taffy system with the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer (PdBI) are presented. The total CO luminosity of the Taffy system detected with the PdBI is LCO, tot = 4.8 × 109 K km s−1 pc2, 60% of the CO luminosity found with the IRAM 30 m telescope. About 25% of the total interferometric CO luminosity stems from the bridge region. Assuming a Galactic N(H2)/ICO conversion factor for the galactic disks and a third of this value for the bridge gas, about 10% of the molecular gas mass is located in the bridge region. The giant H II region close to UGC 12915 is located at the northern edge of the high-surface-brightness giant molecular cloud association (GMA), which has the highest velocity dispersion among the bridge GMAs. The bridge GMAs are clearly not virialized because of their high velocity dispersion. Three dynamical models are presented and while no single model reproduces all of the observed features, they are all present in at least one of the models. Most of the bridge gas detected in CO does not form stars. We suggest that turbulent adiabatic compression is responsible for the exceptionally high velocity dispersion of the molecular ISM and the suppression of star formation in the Taffy bridge. In this scenario the turbulent velocity dispersion of the largest eddies and turbulent substructures or clouds increase such that giant molecular clouds are no longer in global virial equilibrium. The increase in the virial parameter leads to a decrease in the star formation efficiency. The suppression of star formation caused by turbulent adiabatic compression was implemented in the dynamical simulations and decreased the star formation rate in the bridge region by ∼90%. Most of the low-surface-density, CO-emitting gas will disperse without forming stars but some of the high-density gas will probably collapse and form dense star clusters, such as the luminous H II region close to UGC 12915. We suggest that globular clusters and super star clusters formed and still form through the gravitational collapse of gas previously compressed by turbulent adiabatic compression during galaxy interactions.
Complete list of metadata

Contributor : Edp Sciences Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 3:40:35 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 5, 2022 - 10:12:04 AM


Publication funded by an institution



B. Vollmer, J. Braine, B. Mazzilli-Ciraulo, B. Schneider. Low star formation efficiency due to turbulent adiabatic compression in the Taffy bridge. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2021, 647, pp.A138. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202037887⟩. ⟨hal-03185769⟩



Record views


Files downloads