Determining star formation rates for infrared galaxies

G. H. Rieke, A. Alonso-Herrero, B. J. Weiner, P. G. Pérez-González, M. Blaylock, J. L. Donley, D. Marcillac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

504 Scopus citations


We show that measures of star formation rates (SFRs) for infrared galaxies using either single-band 24 μm or extinction-corrected Paα luminosities are consistent in the total infrared luminosity = L(TIR) ∼ 1010 L range. MIPS 24 μm photometry can yield SFRs accurately from this luminosity upward: SFR(M yr-1) = 7.8 × 10-10 L(24 μm, L) from L(TIR) = 5× 109 L to 1011 L and SFR = 7.8 × 10-10 L(24 μm, L )(7.76 × 10-11 L(24))0.048 for higher L(TIR). For galaxies with L(TIR) ≥ 1010 L , these new expressions should provide SFRs to within 0.2 dex. For L(TIR) ≥ 1011 L , we find that the SFR of infrared galaxies is significantly underestimated using extinction-corrected Paα (and presumably using any other optical or near-infrared recombination lines). As a part of this work, we constructed spectral energy distribution templates for eleven luminous and ultraluminous purely star forming infrared galaxies and over the spectral range 0.4 μm to 30 cm. We use these templates and the SINGS data to construct average templates from 5 μm to 30 cm for infrared galaxies with L(TIR) = 5× 109 to 1013 L . All of these templates are made available online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-573
Number of pages18
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 2009


  • galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • galaxies: starburst
  • galaxies: stellar content Online-only material: color figures, machine-readable tables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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