Star Formation in HI Selected Galaxies II: HII Region Properties
J. F. Helmboldt, R.A.M. Walterboss, G.D. Bothun, K. O'Neil
2005, ApJ, 630, 824


A sample of 69 galaxies with radial velocities less than 2500 km/s was selected from the HI Parkes All Sky Survey (HIPASS) to deduce details about star formation in nearby disk galaxies selected with no bias to optical surface brightness selection effects. Broad (B and R) and narrow band (H-alpha) images were obtained for all of these objects. More than half of the sample galaxies are late-type, dwarf disks (mostly Sc and Sm galaxies). We have measured the properties of the HII regions on H-alpha, continuum subtracted images, using the HIIphot package developed by Thilker et al. 2000. All but one of the galaxies contained at least one detectable HII region. Examination of the properties of the HII regions in each galaxy revealed that the brightest regions in higher surface brightness galaxies tend to be more luminous than those in lower surface brightness galaxies. A higher fraction (referred to as the diffuse fraction) of the H-alpha emission from lower surface brightness galaxies comes from diffuse ionized gas (DIG). HII region luminosity functions (LFs) co-added according to surface brightness show that the shapes of the LFs for the lowest surface brightness galaxies are different from those for typical spiral galaxies. This discrepancy could be caused by the lowest surface brightness galaxies having somewhat episodic star formation or by them forming a relatively larger fraction of their stars outside of dense, massive molecular clouds. In general, the results imply that the conditions under which star formation occurs in lower surface brightness galaxies are different than in more typical, higher surface brightness spiral galaxies.

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