The EDGE-CALIFA survey: Variations in the molecular gas depletion time in local galaxies

Dyas Utomo, Alberto D. Bolatto, Tony Wong, Eve Charis Ostriker, Leo Blitz, Sebastian F. Sanchez, Dario Colombo, Adam K. Leroy, Yixian Cao, Helmut Dannerbauer, Ruben Garcia-Benito, Bernd Husemann, Veselina Kalinova, Rebecca C. Levy, Damian Mast, Erik Rosolowsky, Stuart N. Vogel

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21 Scopus citations


We present results from the EDGE survey, a spatially resolved CO(1-0) follow-up to CALIFA, an optical Integral Field Unit survey of local galaxies. By combining the data products of EDGE and CALIFA, we study the variation in molecular gas depletion time (τdep) on kiloparsec scales in 52 galaxies. We divide each galaxy into two parts: The center, defined as the region within 0.1 R25, and the disk, defined as the region between 0.1 and 0.7 R25. We find that 14 galaxies show a shorter τdep (∼1 Gyr) in the center relative to that in the disk (τdep ∼ 2.4 Gyr), which means the central region in those galaxies is more efficient at forming stars per unit molecular gas mass. This finding implies that the centers with shorter τdep resemble the intermediate regime between galactic disks and starburst galaxies. Furthermore, the central drop in τdep is correlated with a central increase in the stellar surface density, suggesting that a shorter τdep is associated with molecular gas compression by the stellar gravitational potential. We argue that varying the CO-To-H2 conversion factor only exaggerates the central drop of τdep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberaa88c0
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Galaxies: structure
  • ISM: Abundances
  • ISM: molecules


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