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  • Cited by 17
  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: September 2013

Evolution of star formation and gas



In these lectures I review observations of star-forming molecular clouds in our Galaxy and nearby galaxies to develop a physical intuition for understanding star formation in the local and high-redshift Universe. A lot of this material is drawn from early work in the field since much of the work was done two decades ago and this background is not generally available in the present literature. I also attempt to synthesise our well-developed understanding of star formation in low-redshift galaxies with constraints from theory and observations at high redshift to develop an intuitive model for the evolution of galaxy mass and luminosity functions in the early Universe.

The overall goal of this contribution is to provide students with background helpful for analysis of far-infrared (FIR) observations from Herschel and millimetre/submillimetre (mm/submm) imaging with ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array). These two instruments will revolutionise our understanding of the interstellar medium (ISM) and associated star formation and galaxy evolution, both locally and in the distant Universe. To facilitate interpreting the FIR spectra of Galactic star-forming regions and high-redshift sources, I develop a model for the dust heating and radiative transfer in order to elucidate the observed infrared (IR) emissions. I do this because I am not aware of a similar coherent discussion in the literature.

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