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Star Formation in H I Selected Galaxies

G. Meurer (JHU)
H. Ferguson (STScI)
R. Kennicutt (UA)
S. Oey (STScI)
M. Drinkwater (U. Melbourne)
V. Kilborn (U. Melbourne)
S. Staveley-Smith (ATNF)
R. Webster (U. Melbourne)
P. Knezek (STScI)
C. Smith (NOAO)
K. Freeman (ANU)
M. Putman (ANU)


Cosmological evolution is mapped using tracers of star formation. Usually the selection of tracers is biased by stellar luminosity. We propose to determine star formation properties of a sample selected free of the stellar bias: by gas content from the HIPASS survey. Since an interstellar medium is a prerequisite for star formation, our survey will uniformly sample all galaxies that could form stars, and hence provide a fair view of the local star formation demographics. The sample will consist of the 500 HIPASS galaxies, each of which will be imaged in H-alpha and the stellar continuum. Integrated, this yields the local star formation rate density, which will be used as benchmark to estimate the bias in other H-alpha samples. This survey will also provide high resolution images of the star formation morphology over a wide range of galaxies, particularly towards irregular dwarfs which are often missed in other studies. The HI content of galaxies combined with the SFR will be used to predict the evolution of the HI mass function and the epoch when the cosmological gas tank runs dry.