NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0193

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0193


PI: Yiming Li, University of Massachusetts, yimingl@astro.umass.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 710 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, U.S.A.

CoI: Daniela Calzetti, Astronomy, University of Massachusetts
CoI: Alison Crocker, Astronomy, University of Massachusetts
CoI: Christine Wilson, Phys and Astronomy, McMaster University
CoI: Robert C. Kennicutt, IoA, University of Cambridge
CoI: Eric J. Murphy, IPAC - Caltech

Title: The Golden Standard for Star Formation Rate Indicators

Abstract: We propose to obtain images of seven nearby star-forming galaxies from the Herschel-KINGFISH sample in the hydrogen recombination line Br(gamma) (2.166 (mu)m) and in K_s (for stellar continuum subtraction) with NEWFIRM at the CTIO/4-m, in order to establish a Golden Standard for Star Formation Rate (SFR) indicators. The Spitzer, GALEX, and, more recently, Herschel Space missions have established that: (1) dust-obscured star formation is a major evolution mode for galaxies at redshifts 1<z<3; (2) the still-unknown mechanism(s) that regulate the gas-to-stars conversion in galaxies (the Schmidt Law) operate on sub-kpc scales. Progress in both fields relies on the availability of unbiased, multi-wavelength SFR indicators (UV, optical, IR, etc.). Here we seek to use Br(gamma) as the `reference' SFR indicator against which cross-calibrate all other SFR indicators, because it traces the most recent star formation (<10 Myr) and is 7 times less sensitive to dust extinction than H(alpha). We will place SFR measurements on a common ground, thus reconciling the many different results in the literature.


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