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Self-Regulating Star Formation and Disk Structure

  • Michael A. Dopita
Conference paper
Part of the Santa Cruz Summer Workshops in Astronomy and Astrophysics book series (SANTA CRUZ)

Abstract

Star formation processes determine the disk structure of galaxies. Stars heavier than about one solar mass determine the chemical evolution of the system and are produced at the rate which maintains by their momentum input, the phase stucture, pressure and vertical velocity dispersion of the gas. Low mass stars are produced quiescently within molecular clouds, and their associated T-Tauri winds maintain the support of molecular clouds and regulate the star formation rate. Inefficient cooling suppresses this mode of star formation at low metallicity.

Applied to the solar neighbourhood, such a model can account for age/metallicity relationships, the increase the O/Fe ratio at low metallicity, the paucity of metal-poor G and K dwarf stars, the missing mass in the disk and, possibly, the existence of a metal poor thick disk. For other galaxies, it accounts for constant w-velocity dispersion of the gas, the relationship between gas content and specific rates of star formation, the surface brightness / metallicity relationship and for the shallow radial gradients in both star formation rates and HI content.

Keywords

Star Formation Velocity Dispersion Molecular Cloud Star Formation Rate Thick Disk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Dopita

There are no affiliations available

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