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K. Sheth, B. Buckalew (SSC/Caltech), M.W. Regan (STScI), S.N. Vogel (U. Maryland), L. Armus (SSC/Caltech), G. Helou (SSC/IPAC/Caltech), J.D. Smith (U. Arizona), D. Dale (U. Wyoming), T. Jarrett (IPAC/Caltech), H. Roussel (SSC/Caltech), SINGS Legacy Team
Barred spiral galaxies are an exquisite laboratory for the study of star formation because they offer a number of dynamically distinct environments with varying levels of star formation activity. In decreasing order of the star formation surface density, barred spirals have circumnuclear rings, bar ends, inner rings, bars and spiral arms. The kinematics in these areas vary from largely circular orbits (rings and disk) to highly elliptical or radial orbits (bar). Using data from the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey (SINGS), we study the differences in the physical conditions in these regions by comparing the CO and H\alpha maps to Spitzer IRS (Infrared Spectrograph) spectral cubes and line maps. The three-dimensional IRS maps trace the distribution of the warm molecular gas and constrain the density and ionization fields. By comparing these mid-infrared tracers to the cold molecular gas and the on-going star formation activity, we hope to better understand how and why star formation activity varies from region to region.
Support for this work, part of the Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy Science Program, was provided by NASA through contract 1224769 issued by JPL/Caltech under NASA contract 1407.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.