We compare the observed turbulent pressure in molecular gas, P turb, to the required pressure for the interstellar gas to stay in equilibrium in the gravitational potential of a galaxy, P DE. To do this, we combine arcsecond resolution CO data from PHANGS-ALMA with multiwavelength data that trace the atomic gas, stellar structure, and star formation rate (SFR) for 28 nearby star-forming galaxies. We find that P turb correlates with-but almost always exceeds-the estimated P DE on kiloparsec scales. This indicates that the molecular gas is overpressurized relative to the large-scale environment. We show that this overpressurization can be explained by the clumpy nature of molecular gas; a revised estimate of P DE on cloud scales, which accounts for molecular gas self-gravity, external gravity, and ambient pressure, agrees well with the observed P turb in galaxy disks. We also find that molecular gas with cloud-scale Pturb ≈ PDE 10 × 5, k_BK cm-3 in our sample is more likely to be self-gravitating, whereas gas at lower pressure it appears more influenced by ambient pressure and/or external gravity. Furthermore, we show that the ratio between P turb and the observed SFR surface density, Σ SFR, is compatible with stellar feedback-driven momentum injection in most cases, while a subset of the regions may show evidence of turbulence driven by additional sources. The correlation between Σ SFR and kpc-scale P DE in galaxy disks is consistent with the expectation from self-regulated star formation models. Finally, we confirm the empirical correlation between molecular-to-atomic gas ratio and kpc-scale P DE reported in previous works.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science