The Effects of Starburst Activity on Low Surface Brightness Disk Galaxies

Authors: Karen O'Neil, G. D. Bothun, & J. Schombert

Published:The Astronomical Journal, Vol. 116, pg 2776 (1998).


Although numerous simulations have been done to understand the effects of intense bursts of star formation on high surface brightness galaxies, few attempts have been made to understand how localized starbursts would affect both the color and surface brightness of low surface brightness (LSB) galaxies. To remedy this, we have run 53 simulations involving bursts of star formation activity on LSB galaxies, varying both the underlying galaxy properties and the parameters describing the starbursts. We discovered that although changing the total color of a galaxy was fairly straightforward, it was virtually impossible to alter a galaxy's central surface brightness and thereby remove it from the LSB galaxy classification without placing a high (and fairly artificial) threshold for the underlying gas density. The primary effect of large amounts of induced star formation was to produce a centralized core (bulge) component which is generally not observed in LSB galaxies. The noisy morphological appearance of LSB galaxies as well as their noisy surface brightness profiles can be reproduced by considering small bursts of star formation that are localized within the disk. The trigger mechanism for such bursts is likely distant/weak tidal encounters. The stability of disk central surface brightness to these periods of star formation argues that the large space density of LSB galaxies at z = 0 should hold to substantially higher redshifts.

Paper (in postscript format):
Main paper
figure 1a
figure 1b
figure 1c
figure 2
figure 3
figure 4a
figure 4b
figure 4c
figure 4d
figure 4e
figure 4f
figure 5a
figure 5b
figure 5c
figure 5d
Table 1
Table 2
Table 3
Table 4