AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 63 From Here to Eternity: The Spitzer Legacy Programs
Poster, Tuesday, 9:20am-6:30pm, January 10, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[63.14] The Spatially-Resolved Star Formation Law in M51

R.C. Kennicutt (IoA Cambridge), D. Calzetti (STScI), F. Walter (MPIA), M.K. Prescott (U. Arizona), SINGS Team

Most of our current knowledge of the star formation rate (SFR) vs gas density law in galaxies is based on spatially integrated measurements of disks, and thus averaged on scales of order 1 - 50 kpc. Thanks to a new generation of high-resolution multi-wavelength surveys of galaxies, it is now possible to probe the detailed behavior of the star formation law as a function of position within galaxies, with spatial resolutions of order 100 - 1000 pc. Such a program is a core component of the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey (SINGS).

We present results from a study of the spatially-resolved star formation law in the nearby Sc galaxy M51a (NGC~5194). We have combined archival P\alpha maps of the center of the galaxy from HST, groundbased H\alpha images, and a 24~\mum infrared imaging from the SINGS project to map the extinction-corrected SFR in the disk. We have also used maps from The HI Nearby Galaxies Survey (THINGS) and CO maps from the BIMA SONG survey and other published surveys to map the corresponding distributions of atomic and molecular gas. We have correlated the SFRs and gas densities on scales of 7 - 45 arcsec (~300 - 1850 pc), and find that over all of these scales the relation is well represented by a Schmidt-type power law, with a slope (N ~ 1.5) similar to that found in integrated measurements of galaxies. We also present a new method for deriving extinction-corrected SFRs of HII regions and galaxies from the combination of 24~\mum and H\alpha measurements.

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