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Prof Michael Dopita (Mt.Stromlo & Siding Spring Observatories Institute of Advanced Studies)

Star Formation Rates in Galaxies: H-Alpha, What is it Good For? - Prof Michael Dopita Colloquium

The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
11:00-12:00 Wed 07 May 2003

ATNF Basement Meeting Room


Our understanding of the evolution of galaxies both in the local and
distant universe depends critically on an accurate measurement of the
rate of star formation within them. I will review the various methods
used, and discuss their limitations. In particular, the flux in
recombination lines such as H-alpha, H-beta or Br-gamma are
frequently used as star-formation indicators. However, if you are an
IR or radio astronomer, you would believe that these lines are
virtually useless, because the flux we measure is so attenuated by
dust both within and external to the HII regions. I will present our
results of recent theoretical and observational work on these
problems, and I hope I will be able to answer the question: H-alpha,
what is it good for?

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