Determining the Nature of [CII] 158 Micron Emission: An Improved Star Formation Rate Indicator

Metadata Updated: February 28, 2019

The brightest observed emission line from most normal star-forming galaxies is the 158 micron line arising from singly-ionized carbon (also known as C+ or CII). In fact, astronomers have recently begun using the bright emission line to detect and characterize galaxies in the furthermost reaches of the universe using the new Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile. It is thus imperative that we have the tools to fully utilize this emission line as an indicator of star formation rate, a primary parameter by which galaxies and their constituent star-forming regions are characterized. There are two main challenges to utilizing the [CII] 158 micron line as a star formation rate indicator. First, advances in long-wavelength astronomical instrumentation have only recently enabled its detection in statistically-significant samples of galaxies. Second, it is both a blessing and a curse that singly-ionized carbon can be created in both star-forming regions (ionized HII regions) and in non-star forming regions (neutral photo-dissociation regions). For [CII] emission to accurately trace star formation, we must find an observationally-convenient way in which to remove its non-star-forming contributions. Such a calibration would directly link [CII] 158 micron emission with the emission from young, hot stars that are the traditional tracers of a galaxy's star formation rate. We propose to accomplish this calibration by leveraging a large suite of optical and infrared data from a recent space-based survey of nearby star-forming galaxies. With this new calibration, the door will be thrown wide open to making detailed comparisons between present-day galaxies and those recently discovered at the earliest epochs of the universe, a key route to understanding galaxy evolution.

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Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: U.S. Government Work

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Metadata Created Date February 28, 2019
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019

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Harvested from NASA Data.json

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Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date February 28, 2019
Metadata Updated Date February 28, 2019
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_94434
Maintainer Email
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 026:00
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
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Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id cf27a778-099b-498a-8255-074bba37139d
Harvest Source Id 39e4ad2a-47ca-4507-8258-852babd0fd99
Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2019-08-01
Homepage URL
Data Last Modified 2018-09-07
Program Code 026:027
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 6a5bb316223fda82aca3f2d6048d650e46ba0449
Source Schema Version 1.1

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