The star formation rate-dense gas relation in galaxies as measured by HCN(3-2) emission

R. S. Bussmann, D. Narayanan, Y. L. Shirley, S. Juneau, J. Wu, P. M. Solomon, P. A. Vanden Bout, J. Moustakas, C. K. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We present observations made with the 10 m Heinrich Hertz Submillimeter Telescope of HCN(3-2) emission from a sample of 30 nearby galaxies ranging in infrared luminosity from 1010 to 1012.5Lȯ and HCN(3-2) luminosity from 106 to 109 K km s -1 pc2. We examine the correlation between the infrared luminosity and HCN(3-2) luminosity and And that the best-fit linear regression has a slope (in log-log space) of 0.74 ± 0.12. Including recently published data from Graciá-Carpio et al. tightens the constraints on the best-fit slope to 0.79 ± 0.09. This slope below unity suggests that the HCN(3-2) molecular line luminosity is not linearly tracing the amount of dense gas. Our results are consistent with predictions from recent theoretical models that find slopes below unity when the line luminosity depends on the average gas density with a power-law index greater than a KennicuttSchmidt index of 1.5.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L73-L76
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Galaxies: Evolution -
  • Galaxies: ISM -
  • Submillimeter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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