NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2001A-0100

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Proposal Information for 2001A-0100


PI: Regina Schulte-Ladbeck, University of Pittsburgh, rsl@phyast.pitt.edu
Address: 3941 O'Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA

CoI: Igor Drozdovsky, U.Pittsburgh
CoI: Andrew Hopkins, U.Pittsburgh
CoI: Ulrich Hopp, U. Munich

Title: The star-formation rates of starbursting dwarfs

Abstract: There has never been an accurate systematic survey of the star- formation rates of Blue Compact Dwarf galaxies (formerly known as isolated extragalactic H-II regions). This really comes as a surprise considering how much data has been assembled on BCDs because they are used as cosmological probes. For example, BCDs have long been used to determine the primordial He abundance. BCDs are also thought to be local analogs of the Faint Blue Galaxies, and to contribute significantly to the faint end of the local galaxy luminosity function. We here propose a spectroscopic survey of H_(alpha) fluxes of a representative sample of BCDs (a fall-RA proposal will be submitted in the next period). The H_(alpha) flux will be converted to a star- formation rate (using redshift and extinction data from the literature). The results will give an estimate of the star-formation density contributed locally by BCD galaxies. They will also provide insight into the nature of BCDs themselves. We are particularly interested in the mode of star formation, which we are currently tediously evaluating using single-star photometry of nearby, resolved cases observed with HST. In view of the many new data which have become availble on BCDs in recent years, a systematic survey of the star-formation rates of a large number of BCDs is very timely. We propose this spectroscopic survey as a fast and efficient way to attack the problem.


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