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Nearby galaxies in the LOFAR Two-metre Sky Survey. I. Insights into the non-linearity of the radio-SFR relation

Abstract : Context. Cosmic rays and magnetic fields are key ingredients in galaxy evolution, regulating both stellar feedback and star formation. Their properties can be studied with low-frequency radio continuum observations that are free from thermal contamination.
Aims: We define a sample of 76 nearby (< 30 Mpc) galaxies with rich ancillary data in the radio continuum and infrared from the CHANG-ES and KINGFISH surveys, which will be observed with the LOFAR Two-metre Sky Survey (LoTSS) at 144 MHz.
Methods: We present maps for 45 of them as part of the LoTSS data release 2 (LoTSS-DR2), where we measure integrated flux densities and study integrated and spatially resolved radio spectral indices. We investigate the radio-star formation rate (SFR) relation using SFRs derived from total infrared and Hα + 24-μm emission.
Results: The radio-SFR relation at 144 MHz is clearly super-linear with L144 MHz ∝ SFR1.4−1.5. The mean integrated radio spectral index between 144 and ≈1400 MHz is ⟨α⟩= − 0.56 ± 0.14, in agreement with the injection spectral index for cosmic ray electrons (CREs). However, the radio spectral index maps show variation of spectral indices with flatter spectra associated with star-forming regions and steeper spectra in galaxy outskirts and, in particular, in extra-planar regions. We found that galaxies with high SFRs have steeper radio spectra; we find similar correlations with galaxy size, mass, and rotation speed.
Conclusions: Galaxies that are larger and more massive are better electron calorimeters, meaning that the CRE lose a higher fraction of their energy within the galaxies. This explains the super-linear radio-SFR relation, with more massive, star-forming galaxies being radio bright. We propose a semi-calorimetric radio-SFR relation that employs the galaxy mass as a proxy for the calorimetric efficiency.

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Contributor : Nathalie POTHIER Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, November 11, 2022 - 5:54:35 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 12, 2022 - 3:45:07 AM


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V. Heesen, M. Staffehl, A. Basu, R. Beck, M. Stein, et al.. Nearby galaxies in the LOFAR Two-metre Sky Survey. I. Insights into the non-linearity of the radio-SFR relation. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2022, 664, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202142878⟩. ⟨insu-03849380⟩



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