SCYON Abstract

Received on March 6 2001

Near-infrared spectroscopy of the circumnuclear star formation regions in M100: Evidence for sequential triggering

AuthorsStuart D. Ryder 1, J. H. Knapen 2, 3 and M. Takamiya 4
Affiliation1 Anglo-Australian Observatory,
2 Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes,
3 University of Hertfordshire,
4 Gemini Observatory
Accepted byMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


We present low resolution (R ~ 450) K-band spectroscopy for 16 of the 43 circumnuclear star-forming knots in M100 identified by Ryder & Knapen (1999). We compare our measurements of equivalent widths for the Br-gamma emission line and CO 2.29 micron absorption band in each knot with the predictions of starburst models from the literature, and derive ages and burst parameters for the knots. The majority of these knots are best explained by the result of short, localised bursts of star formation between 8 and 10 Myr ago. By examining both radial and azimuthal trends in the age distribution, we present a case for sequential triggering of star formation, most likely due to the action of a large-scale shock. In an appendix, we draw attention to the fact that the growth in the CO spectroscopic index with decreasing temperature in supergiant stars is not as regular as is commonly assumed.