Dynamical Equilibrium in the Molecular ISM in 28 Nearby Star-forming Galaxies




Sun, Jiayi
Leroy, Adam K
Ostriker, Eve C
Hughes, Annie
Rosolowsky, Erik W
Schruba, Andreas
Schinnerer, Eva
Blanc, Guillermo A
Faesi, Christopher M
Kruijssen, J M Diederik

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IOP Publishing


We compare the observed turbulent pressure in molecular gas, Pturb, to the required pressure for the interstellar gas to stay in equilibrium in the gravitational potential of a galaxy, PDE. To do this, we combine arcsecond resolution CO data from PHANGS-ALMA with multi-wavelength data that traces the atomic gas, stellar structure, and star formation rate (SFR) for 28 nearby star-forming galaxies. We find that Pturb correlates with, but almost always exceeds the estimated PDE on kiloparsec scales. This indicates that the molecular gas is over-pressurized relative to the large-scale environment. We show that this over-pressurization can be explained by the clumpy nature of molecular gas; a revised estimate of PDE on cloud scales, which accounts for molecular gas self-gravity, external gravity, and ambient pressure, agrees well with the observed Pturb in galaxy disks. We also find that molecular gas with cloud-scale Pturb≈PDE≳105kBKcm−3 in our sample is more likely to be self-gravitating, whereas gas at lower pressure appears more influenced by ambient pressure and/or external gravity. Furthermore, we show that the ratio between Pturb and the observed SFR surface density, ΣSFR, is compatible with stellar feedback-driven momentum injection in most cases, while a subset of the regions may show evidence of turbulence driven by additional sources. The correlation between ΣSFR and kpc-scale PDE in gala



Interstellar molecules, Star formation, Interstellar dynamics



The Astrophysical Journal


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Open Access

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