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From 10K to 10 TK: Insights on the Interaction Between Cosmic Rays and Gas in Starbursts

  • Brian C. Lacki
Conference paper
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings book series (ASSSP, volume 34)

Abstract

Recent work has both illuminated and mystified our attempts to understand cosmic rays (CRs) in starburst galaxies. I discuss my new research exploring how CRs interact with the ISM in starbursts. Molecular clouds provide targets for CR protons to produce pionic gamma rays and ionization, but those same losses may shield the cloud interiors. In the densest molecular clouds, gamma rays and 26Al decay can provide ionization, at rates up to those in Milky Way molecular clouds. I then consider the free-free absorption of low frequency radio emission from starbursts, which I argue arises from many small, discrete H II regions rather than from a “uniform slab” of ionized gas, whereas synchrotron emission arises outside them. Finally, noting that the hot superwind gas phase fills most of the volume of starbursts, I suggest that it has turbulent-driven magnetic fields powered by supernovae, and that this phase is where most synchrotron emission arises. I show how such a scenario could explain the far-infrared radio correlation, in context of my previous work. A big issue is that radio and gamma-ray observations imply CRs also must interact with dense gas. Understanding how this happens requires a more advanced understanding of turbulence and CR propagation.

Keywords

Radio Emission Molecular Cloud Synchrotron Emission Effective Absorption Coefficient Cherenkov Telescope Array 
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.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am supported by a Jansky Fellowship from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is operated by Associated Universities, Inc., under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. I would like to acknowledge discussions and comments with Todd Thompson, Padelis Papadopolous, Jim Condon, Rainer Beck, and Diego Torres.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jansky Fellow of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Institute for Advanced Study, AstronomyEinstein Drive, PrincetonUSA

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