Molecular gas and dust in low-metallicity starbursts

Metal-poor, star-forming, dwarf galaxies play a fundamental role in galaxy formation and evolution, and according to LambdaCDM models may be the building blocks of most of the galaxies in the universe today. Although the interstellar medium (ISM) in such galaxies was thought to be virtually dust-free, over the last decade, observations have shown that dust can be an important constituent of even a low-metallicity ISM. However, the molecular content, the fuel for star formation, has been much more difficult to measure. This talk describes recent observations of molecules in nearby, metal-poor starbursts, and shows that star formation can be very efficient even at low metallicity. The chemically unevolved local galaxies described in this talk provide a unique window on the still unobserved high-redshift transition between a metal-free primordial ISM and the chemically enriched ISM of the massive galaxies common in the current epoch.

09/02/2017 - 12:30
Dr. Leslie Hunt
INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Florencia