Starburst modeling of M82: Test case for a biased initial mass function

G. H. Rieke, K. Loken, M. J. Rieke, P. Tamblyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


We compute starburst models for M82, making use of recent theoretical tracks of stellar evolution. Detailed comparisons of our models and those of others demonstrate this technique to be quite reliable, with relatively little change in output parameters as a function of the selection of theoretical tracks or of estimates of the observational characteristics of the stars along these tracks. The models are matched to the observational constraints for M82 summarized by McLeod et al. The rate of star formation and time of observation were thoroughly optimized to produce the most favorable fit to the observations, but we still found that the recently proposed forms for the solar-neighborhood initial mass function (IMF) cannot produce starbursts adequate to fit the observations of this galaxy. We then explored adjustments to the shape of the IMF to improve the fit to M82. We find (1) the shape of the IMF for high-mass stars need not be different from that observed locally; and (2) the most likely modification to the IMF in M82 is that stars with masses below a few M form much less commonly than in the solar neighborhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 20 1993


  • Galaxies: individual (M82)
  • Galaxies: luminosity function, mass function
  • Galaxies: starburst
  • Stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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