Ultra-diffuse Galaxies as Extreme Star-forming Environments. II. Star Formation and Pressure Balance in H i-rich UDGs

Erin Kado-Fong, Chang Goo Kim, Jenny E. Greene, Lachlan Lancaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In addition to occupying the extreme, diffuse tail of the dwarf galaxy population, ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) are themselves a key laboratory in which to study star formation in extreme low-density environments. In the second paper of this series, we compare the spatially resolved star formation activity of 22 H i-selected UDGs and 21 “normal” dwarf galaxies within 120 Mpc to predictions within the pressure-regulated, feedback-modulated (PRFM) theory of star formation. To do so, we employ a joint spectral energy distribution fitting method that allows us to estimate star formation rate and stellar mass surface density from UV-optical imaging. We find that the PRFM framework extends successfully to the UDG regime—although the UDGs in our sample show unusually low star formation rate surface densities given their H i content, this low star formation efficiency can be naturally explained by the diffuse structure of the UDGs. In fact, when cast in the PRFM framework, the relationship between midplane pressure and star formation in the UDG sample is in good agreement not only with the “normal” dwarf reference sample, but also with measurements from more massive galaxies. Our results suggest that despite their low star formation efficiencies, the H i-rich UDGs need not be forming stars in an exotic manner. We also find that the UDGs are likely H2 poor compared even to the overall dwarf population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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