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Gas Accretion and Star Formation Rates

  • Jorge Sánchez AlmeidaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 430)

Abstract

Cosmological numerical simulations of galaxy evolution show that accretion of metal-poor gas from the cosmic web drives the star formation in galaxy disks. Unfortunately, the observational support for this theoretical prediction is still indirect, and modeling and analysis are required to identify hints as actual signs of star formation feeding from metal-poor gas accretion. Thus, a meticulous interpretation of the observations is crucial, and this observational review begins with a simple theoretical description of the physical process and the key ingredients it involves, including the properties of the accreted gas and of the star formation that it induces. A number of observations pointing out the connection between metal-poor gas accretion and star formation are analyzed, specifically, the short gas-consumption time-scale compared to the age of the stellar populations, the fundamental metallicity relationship, the relationship between disk morphology and gas metallicity, the existence of metallicity drops in starbursts of star-forming galaxies, the so-called G dwarf problem, the existence of a minimum metallicity for the star-forming gas in the local universe, the origin of the α-enhanced gas forming stars in the local universe, the metallicity of the quiescent BCDs, and the direct measurements of gas accretion onto galaxies. A final section discusses intrinsic difficulties to obtain direct observational evidence, and points out alternative observational pathways to further consolidate the current ideas.

Keywords

Star Formation Stellar Population Stellar Mass Star Formation Rate Initial Mass Function 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Special thanks are due to Casiana Munõz-Tuñón, Debra Elmegreen, and Bruce Elmegreen, for continuous support and for long thoughtful discussions on almost every topic included in the work. I am also indebted to Mercedes Filho, who pointed out many of the references cited in the work, and shared with me her expertise on H I. The interpretative aspects of the work own much to the collaboration with Claudio Dalla Vecchia and Daniel Ceverino. They were always willing to discuss the physical aspects of the accretion and the star formation process. Thanks are due to R. Amorín for the discussions that led to the writing of Sect. 3.7. Thanks are also due to the editors of the Book for giving me the opportunity to contribute, and for their patience to have my contribution finished. This work has been partly funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, project Estallidos AYA2013–47742–C04–02–P and AYA2016- 79724-C4-2-P.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Astrofísica de CanariasTenerifeSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de AstrofísicaUniversidad de La LagunaTenerifeSpain

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