Absorption-line probes of the prevalence and properties of outflows in present-day star-forming galaxies

Yan Mei Chen, Christy A. Tremonti, Timothy M. Heckman, Kauffmann Guinevere, Benjamin J. Weiner, Brinchmann Jarle, Wang Jing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


We analyze star-forming galaxies drawn from SDSS DR7 to show how the interstellar medium (ISM) Na I λλ5890, 5896 (Na D) absorption lines depend on galaxy physical properties, and to look for evidence of galactic winds. We combine the spectra of galaxies with similar geometry/physical parameters to create composite spectra with signalto-noise ∼300. The stellar continuum is modeled using stellar population synthesis models, and the continuumnormalized spectrum is fit with two Na I absorption components. We find that (1) ISM Na D absorption lines with equivalent widths EW > 0.8 Å are only prevalent in disk galaxies with specific properties - large extinction (Av), high star formation rates (SFR), high SFR per unit area (ΣSFR), or high stellar mass (M*); (2) the ISM Na D absorption lines can be separated into two components: a quiescent disk-like component at the galaxy systemic velocity and an outflow component; (3) the disk-like component is much stronger in the edge-on systems, and the outflow component covers a wide angle but is stronger within 60° of the disk rotation axis; (4) the EW and covering factor of the disk component correlate strongly with dust attenuation, highlighting the importance that dust shielding may play in the survival of Na I; (5) the EW of the outflow component depends primarily on ΣSFR and secondarily on AV; and (6) the outflow velocity varies from ∼120 to 160 km s-1 but shows little hint of a correlation with galaxy physical properties over the modest dynamic range that our sample probes (1.2 dex in log ΣSFR and 1 dex in log M*).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-461
Number of pages17
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Evolution - Galaxies
  • Galaxies
  • Star formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Absorption-line probes of the prevalence and properties of outflows in present-day star-forming galaxies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this