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Booms and Busts: the Burstiness of Star Formation in Nearby Dwarf Galaxies


Cole, AA, Booms and Busts: the Burstiness of Star Formation in Nearby Dwarf Galaxies, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 27, (3) pp. 234-241. ISSN 1323-3580 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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© Astronomical Society of Australia 2010

DOI: doi:10.1071/AS09066


In this review I summarise recent advances in our understanding of the importance of starburst events to the evolutionary histories of nearby galaxies. Ongoing bursts are easily diagnosed in emission-line surveys, but assessing the timing and intensity of fossil bursts requires more effort, usually demanding color– magnitude diagrams or spectroscopy of individual stars. For ages older than ∼1 Gyr, this type of observation is currently limited to the Local Group and its immediate surroundings. However, if the Local Volume is representative of the Universe as a whole, then studies of the age and metallicity distributions of star clusters and resolved stellar populations should give statistical clues as to the frequency and importance of bursts to the histories of galaxies in general. Based on starburst statistics in the literature and synthetic colour-magnitude diagram studies of Local Group galaxies, I attempt to distinguish between systemic starbursts that strongly impact galaxy evolution and stochastic bursts that can appear impressive but are ultimately of little significance on gigayear timescales. As a specific case, it appears as though IC 10, the only starburst galaxy in the Local Group, falls into the latter category and is not fundamentally different from other nearby dwarf irregular galaxies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:galaxies: dwarf — galaxies: starburst
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:Galactic astronomy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Cole, AA (Associate Professor Andrew Cole)
ID Code:65254
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2010-10-20
Last Modified:2011-03-23

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