AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 72. Properties and Structure of Extragalactic Systems
Oral, Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 10:00-11:30am, Georgetown East

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[72.07] Star formation and the bar environment

K Sheth, N.Z. Scoville (Caltech)

Using the Owens Valley Radio Observatory, we have studied the molecular gas properties of bar-ends and dust lanes of several nearby galaxies (NGC 2903, NGC 4303, NGC 5457, NGC 4321). Preliminary analysis indicates significant differences in the amount of molecular gas at each bar end. The gas is organized in molecular cloud complexes which range in size from 100-200 pc and have velocity widths of 10-20 km/s, similar to Milky Way complexes. However the number of complexes varies from one bar-end to the next. Star formation rates at the bar-ends range from 0.04 -- 0.002 solar masses per year and scale with the amount of gas at the bar ends. The bar ends thus seem to control the rate of molecular cloud complex formation rather than the star formation rate directly. We also present high resolution (~50 pc) molecular gas maps of the bar dust lanes, and discuss the resulting star formation activity in context of the gas streaming motions and the dust lane shock.

This research is partially supported by NSF under grant AST-9981546.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: kartik@astro.caltech.edu

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