AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 7 Star Formation
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[7.17] Star formation in low metalicity environments: SBS0335-052 and IZw18

K. K. Dyer (NRAO, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow), L. K. Hunt (INAF-Istituto di Radioastronomia-Sez.), T. X. Thuan (University of Virginia), J. S. Ulvestad (NRAO)

The identification of the epoch at which galaxies assembled the bulk of their stellar mass is one of the key questions in cosmology. This epoch is identified observationally by measuring the star-formation rate in distant galaxies, and investigating its variation with lookback time. However, most measurements of cosmic star-formation rate have been in the rest-frame ultraviolet, and hence suffer from unknown amounts of dust extinction. An obvious solution to this problem is to measure the star formation rate at wavelengths impervious to dust, such as the far-infrared or radio continuum. Despite significant progress, it is unclear whether even these dust-impervious indicators of star formation are valid for the kinds of objects thought to populate the high-redshift universe. Large present-day galaxies may form from chemically unevolved high-redshift progenitors of low mass and luminosity. These properties are shared by a rare class of local dwarf galaxy, extremely low-metallicity blue compact dwarfs. However, the few available observations of these show that compared with far-infrared, their radio continuum luminosity is much too low. To better understand star formation in chemically unenriched environments, we are studying the radio continuum emission from SBS0335-052 and IZw18 -- two low-metallicity blue compact dwarfs. The issue of radio-far-infrared correlation for metal poor galaxies is especially important in the light of new facilities and surveys planned for the next decade, including SKA and ALMA. KKD is supported by an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship under award AST-0103879.

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

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