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Supershells in Spiral Galaxies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2010

David A. Thilker
Affiliation:
Department of Astronomy, New Mexico State University, Box 30001 / Dept 4500, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
Jose Franco
Affiliation:
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Alberto Carraminana
Affiliation:
Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica, Tonantzintla, Mexico
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Summary

Expanding supershells are perhaps the most prominent manifestation of the violent impact which massive stars have on the gaseous ISM. Commonly thought to be formed as a consequence of mechanical luminosity dumped into the ISM by OB associations, supershells can be viewed as a critical gauge of the energy source which ultimately supports interstellar turbulence. I will review the present understanding of supershell evolution and highlight important issues of ongoing debate, such as the stellar content of expanding bubbles, instabilities leading to secondary star formation in cavity walls, and the degree of mass flux from disk to halo via chimney structures. Much of the discussion will center on emerging methods for closing the loop between theoretical and observational studies.

Despite the availability of sophisticated numerical models describing superbubble structure, virtually no detailed comparison between observational data and model predictions has yet been made. Thilker et al. (1998) developed an automated object recognition method to find, classify, and examine supershells located in spiral galaxies. After compiling a preliminary list of detections via datacube cross-correlation, the technique allows fitting a grid of supershell models to each expanding structure. In this way, we accurately constrain properties such as total kinetic energy, shell mass, and dynamical age within the context of existing models. Such a repeatable, unbiased method is notably superior to purely visual characterization of supershells.

This technique is now being applied to a sample of 21 nearby galaxies, including M31, M33, M81, and M101.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1999

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  • Supershells in Spiral Galaxies
    • By David A. Thilker, Department of Astronomy, New Mexico State University, Box 30001 / Dept 4500, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
  • Edited by Jose Franco, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Alberto Carraminana, Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica, Tonantzintla, Mexico
  • Book: Interstellar Turbulence
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511564666.016
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  • Supershells in Spiral Galaxies
    • By David A. Thilker, Department of Astronomy, New Mexico State University, Box 30001 / Dept 4500, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
  • Edited by Jose Franco, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Alberto Carraminana, Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica, Tonantzintla, Mexico
  • Book: Interstellar Turbulence
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511564666.016
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Supershells in Spiral Galaxies
    • By David A. Thilker, Department of Astronomy, New Mexico State University, Box 30001 / Dept 4500, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
  • Edited by Jose Franco, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Alberto Carraminana, Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica, Tonantzintla, Mexico
  • Book: Interstellar Turbulence
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511564666.016
Available formats
×