Using [C II] 158 μm Emission from isolated ism phases as a star formation rate indicator

Jessica Sutter, Daniel A. Dale, Kevin V. Croxall, Eric W. Pelligrini, J. D.T. Smith, Philip N. Appleton, Pedro Beirão, Alberto D. Bolatto, Daniela Calzetti, Alison Crocker, Ilse De Looze, Bruce Draine, Maud Galametz, Brent A. Groves, George Helou, Rodrigo Herrera-Camus, Leslie K. Hunt, Robert C. Kennicutt, Hélène Roussel, Mark G. Wolfire

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23 Scopus citations


The brightest observed emission line in many star-forming galaxies is the [C II} 158 μm line, making it detectable up to z ∼ 7. In order to better understand and quantify the [C II] emission as a tracer of star formation, the theoretical ratio between the [N II] 158 μm emission has been employed to empirically determine the fraction of [C II] emission that originates from the ionized and neutral phases of the interstellar medium (ISM). Sub-kiloparsec measurements of the [C II] 158 μm and [N II] 205 μm lines in nearby galaxies have recently become available as part of the Key Insights in Nearby Galaxies: A Far Infrared Survey with Herschel (KINGFISH) and Beyond the Peak programs. With the information from these two far-infrared lines along with the multi-wavelength suite of KINGFISH data, a calibration of the [C II] emission line as a star formation rate (SFR) indicator and a better understanding of the [C II] deficit are pursued. [C II] emission is also compared to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission in these regions to compare photoelectric heating from PAH molecules to cooling by [C II]in the neutral and ionized phases of the ISM. We find that the[C II] emission originating in the neutral phase of the ISM does not exhibit a deficit with respect to the infrared luminosity and is therefore preferred over the emission originating in the ionized phase of the ISM as an SFR indicator for the normal star-forming galaxies included in this sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number60
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 20 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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