Hot galactic winds constrained by the X-ray luminosities of galaxies

Dong Zhang, Todd A. Thompson, Norman Murray, Eliot Quataert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Galactic superwinds may be driven by very hot outflows generated by overlapping supernovae within the host galaxy.We use the Chevalier & Clegg (CC85) wind model and the observed correlation between X-ray luminosities of galaxies and their star formation rates (SFRs) to constrain the mass-loss rates (Ṁhot) across a wide range of SFRs, from dwarf starbursts to ultraluminous infrared galaxies. We show that for fixed thermalization and mass-loading efficiencies, the X-ray luminosity of the hot wind scales asLX SFR2, significantly steeper than is observed for starforming galaxies: LX SFR. Using this difference, we constrain the mass-loading and thermalization efficiency of hot galactic winds. For reasonable values of the thermalization efficiency (1) and for SFR 10Ṁ;yr -1 we find that Ṁhot/SFR 1, which is significantly lower than required by integrated constraints on the efficiency of stellar feedback in galaxies and potentially too low to explain observations of winds from rapidly star-forming galaxies. In addition, we highlight the fact that heavily mass-loaded winds cannot be described by the adiabatic CC85 model because they become strongly radiative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number93
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • X-rays: galaxies
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • galaxies: star formation
  • galaxies: starburst


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